Patterson, a microbiologist, previously worked in the University of Tennessee system. At UT, she was the vice president for research, outreach and economic development, as well as the president of the UT Research Foundation.
“Dr. Patterson’s stellar track record in research, economic development and leadership makes her an outstanding choice for Florida State University’s vice president for research,” McCullough said in an announcement on July 19. “Her expertise in building broad research coalitions with both public and private partners as well as her experience in moving university research out of the lab and into the marketplace will help FSU grow its research enterprise.”
Patterson earned her bachelor’s degree from UT Knoxville in biological sciences, followed by a master’s in environmental health science from East Tennessee State University and a doctorate in microbiology from UT Knoxville.
She completed her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of South Florida in Tampa, securing funding from the NOAA, the Army, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the US Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and several private sector partners. Using this funding, she was a principal investigator and contributor on several US patents in sensor development and cancer imaging. She is also one of four co-founders of 490 Biotech, a Knoxville-based startup.
While working in the UT system, she had broad responsibilities in the areas of the management and operating contract for Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), research compliance and reporting, research security, state and federal advocacy, technology transfer, commercialization, entrepreneurship, and economic development partnerships. Patterson led several statewide initiatives in Tennessee, including securing a $24 million NSF grant for research infrastructure, leading a $62.5 million Volunteer State Solar Initiative, and securing a $38 million U.S. Department of Energy award to launch the new UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute.
Patterson’s extensive background in research and generating funding will be valuable to the FSU Office of Research, which is expanding exponentially. Since 2017, funding for research at Florida State has seen an increase over $20 million, and in 2021 FSU saw over 50 patents granted thanks to the department. Research topics vary broadly, from reading research in the humanities to magnetic field research at MagLab.
“I’m thrilled to be joining Florida State University and its outstanding community of educators and researchers,” Patterson said. “FSU has so much opportunity to expand its research and creative activities. I am excited to meet the faculty and staff and get started.”
Patterson’s predecessor, Gary K. Ostrander, stepped down at the end of 2020. Since his resignation, former Associate Vice President for Research Laurel Fulkerson and Dean of Graduate Studies Mark Riley have both served the role in an interim position.
When at Florida State, Patterson will head FSU’s Division of Research, controlling more than $320 million annually in research expenditures. She will work alongside with the provost and president to promote the university’s overall academic mission, while specifically building the university’s research and creative activity.
She will also oversee the Office of Research, which oversees several administrative units such as Federal Relations, the Office of Commercialization and the Council on Research and Creativity.
As a preeminent research university, FSU hosts more than 50 centers and institutes, five of which under the direct oversight of the Office of Research. Those five are The Center for Advanced Power Systems, the Coastal and Marine Laboratory, the Florida Center for Reading Research, the High-Performance Materials Institute, and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
She will begin her duties on October 15.