DENTON (UNT), Texas — Pamela Padilla, dean of the College of Science at the University of North Texas, has been appointed vice president of research and innovation. Padilla will succeed Mark McLellan upon his retirement June 5.
“Dean Padilla has held progressive leadership roles while sustaining an active research laboratory that has helped elevate UNT as a Tier One public research university,” UNT President Neal Smatresk said. “As the current College of Science dean and previous associate vice president for research and innovation at UNT, she has been deeply engaged with UNT’s research impact, teaching and advancing diversity and inclusion -- specifically recruiting minority students into STEM fields and mentoring their success. I’m confident she will lead our research efforts to the next level.”
A professor of biological sciences, Padilla joined UNT in 2002. She previously worked as associate dean for research and graduate studies in the College of Science and was permanently appointed UNT’s associate vice president for research and innovation in October 2019, after serving one year as interim. In 2010, she earned the UNT Early Career Award for Research and Creativity, and she was a Faculty Leadership Fellow from 2015 to 2016.
She also was part of a UNT team that recently received the Graduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (G-RISE) grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a diverse pool of Ph.D. scientists for careers in the biomedical research fields. The program provides financial and mentoring support and other professional development resources for students at UNT from historically minoritized groups in the biomedical research sciences.
Padilla said she’s excited for the challenges and new opportunities to further UNT’s research mission in her new role.
“I am honored to continue working with UNT’s innovative faculty, staff, and students as we collectively advance our mission to support and facilitate and empower impactful research,” Padilla said. “This is an exciting time at UNT as we continue our rise as a national research university.”
About Pamela Padilla
Padilla’s research, which has been continually supported by either the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation, focuses on how environmental and dietary stress affects living organisms at the cellular, genetic, and molecular levels as a means to model human health issues such as ischemia and diabetes. She has earned numerous fellowships and grants, including an NSF CAREER award.
Padilla is the current president and former treasurer and member of the board of directors of SACNAS, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, the largest STEM diversity organization in the country. She also was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute and SACNAS Advanced Leadership Institute Fellow in 2017, received a Science magazine Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction in 2012 and was a National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow in 2008.
Padilla earned her Ph.D. in biology from the University of New Mexico, conducted her post-doctoral research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and was a visiting scholar at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.