Following a national search for a permanent dean of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, Graduate School faculty member John F. Hancock, MA, MB, BChir, PhD, ScD, will be the new executive dean and H. Wayne Hightower Distinguished Professor in the Medical Sciences at McGovern Medical School, effective Sept. 1, 2022. Hancock, the John S. Dunn Distinguished University Chair in Physiology and Medicine, becomes the 10th dean in McGovern Medical School’s history, and will build upon its legacy of outstanding education, innovative research, and compassionate patient-centered care, UTHealth Houston President Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD, announced today.
As a champion of science and biomedical education and a longtime leader within the school, Hancock is ideally suited to serve as executive dean of one of the largest medical schools in the nation. He trained at both the University of Cambridge and the University of London, and previously served as deputy director of the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland and director of the Australian Research Council’s Special Research Center for Functional and Applied Genomics.
He joined the Graduate School in 2008 and is affiliated with the GSBS Programs in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and Neuroscience. In that same year, he became chair of the Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology at McGovern Medical School. Since then, the department has risen to No. 6 in the Blue Ridge Institute national rankings. In 2012, Hancock became vice dean of research and executive director of The Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases at McGovern Medical School. His own research on the function of RAS proteins has furthered understanding of cancer biology.
As Hancock transitions to his role as executive dean, GSBS faculty member Carmen Dessauer, PhD, will serve as chair ad interim of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology while a national search for the department chair is underway. A graduate of Louisiana State University, Dessauer has been a member of the faculty at McGovern Medical School for almost 25 years and has served as professor and vice chair of the Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology since 2017. She has been a GSBS faculty member since 1998 and is affiliated with the GSBS Programs in Biochemistry and Cell Biology, and Neuroscience. She has served on the advisory council for the National Institute of General Medicine, chaired several National Institutes of Health (NIH) study sections, and is currently the chair of the molecular pharmacology division of the American Society of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and director of a NIH T32 training program on drug discovery.