Pardo-Manuel de Villena named Interim Chair of Department of Genetics

Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, PhD, will take over July 1 from Terry Magnuson, PhD, who will become the vice chancellor for research at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Pardo-Manuel de Villena named Interim Chair of Department of Genetics click to enlarge Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, PhD

Fernando Pardo-Manuel de Villena, professor of genetics and associate chair for research, will become interim chair of the Department of Genetics effective July 1. He will oversee the department’s research enterprise – including multiple dedicated research centers – while also coordinating the educational programs aimed at training the next generation of scientists. He takes over the role from Terry Magnuson, PhD, who was recently named Vice Chancellor for Research at UNC-Chapel Hill.

A renowned researcher who isn’t afraid to challenge accepted norms, Pardo-Manuel de Villena attracted attention for recent work that challenged both Darwin’s theory of natural selection and Mendel’s law of segregation.

Many of Pardo-Manuel de Villena’s research findings – as well as those of fellow geneticists at UNC and around the country – can be traced to the Collaborative Cross, the most genetically diverse laboratory mouse population in the world, which is generated by, housed at, and distributed from UNC. This project has allowed scientists to create mice with wide genetic diversity, which is comparable to the genetic variation found in humans. This new tool has allowed his lab and others to probe the genetic bases of diseases, such as cancers, like never before.

In 2015, the Collaborative Cross effort was one reason that Pardo-Manuel de Villena was honored as one of the first Oliver Smithies Investigators, a program created to recognize senior research faculty members at the UNC School of Medicine who have made major contributions within and beyond their disciplines.

An international leader in the field of genetics, Pardo-Manuel de Villena serves as director of the Genetics Society of America and in the secretariat of the International Mammalian Genome Society. He was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011.

Pardo-Manuel de Villena completed his doctoral work at the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, and his postdoctoral work at the Fels Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Biology at Temple University. He has been a faculty member at the UNC School of Medicine since 2001.

In a memo to the Department of Genetics, Drs. Wesley Burks and Bill Roper praised Magnuson for his 16 years of exemplary service to the department. Beginning as the department’s founding chair in 2000, he has overseen consistent growth and incredible research accomplishments. They look forward to those successes continuing under Pardo-Manuel de Villena’s leadership.