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Penny Gordon-Larsen, formerly UNC’s interim vice chancellor for research, has been appointed to the position permanently effective immediately.
As the Carla Smith Chamblee Distinguished Professor of Global Nutrition, Gordon-Larsen has served in academic and scientific administration roles at the University and in the scientific community. Her research focuses on the relationships between biology, behavior and the environment to expand efforts to prevent, manage and treat obesity and cardiometabolic diseases.
As vice chancellor for research, Gordon-Larsen will oversee the university’s $1.2 billion research portfolio, which includes an annual budget of approximately $100 million, the University’s research centers and institutes and manage employees in the office of the vice chancellor of research. She will also handle oversight of strategic research priority development, management of proposals and awards, research infrastructure, funding opportunities and development of collaborative research teams and partnerships.
As interim vice chancellor for research, Gordon-Larsen executed plans to improve the research ecosystem and helped initiate design for the new Translational Research Building. Additionally, she expanded the support for applied and translational research and convergent science and provided leadership for grant proposals.
Gordon-Larsen joined Carolina in 1998 as a postdoctoral researcher for the nutrition department. Prior to this position, she served as associate dean for research at Gillings School of Global Public Health and led a program that raised approximately $200 million in research funding for the school. She is also a research fellow within the Carolina Population Center.
Gordon-Larsen directed a National Institutes of Health funded interdisciplinary research program for more than 20 years. She also leads the UNC Obesity Hub, a collaboration among 27 researchers that works to solve the challenges of obesity. The Hub has secured an additional $13 million in extramural funding since receiving initial seed funding in 2018.
Gordon-Larsen has served as president of the Obesity Society and on panels at two presidential national conventions. She completed a term on the advisory council of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and is a member of the Obesity Society, where she served as president in 2015. She received the Eli Lilly Scientific Achievement Award in 2010 and the George A. Bray Founders Award in 2020, both from The Obesity Society. She also serves as the University’s appointee to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the American Association of Universities’ Chief Research Officers.
Gordon-Larsen received her undergraduate degree from Tulane University in anthropology and experimental psychology. She also has master’s and doctoral degrees in physical anthropology, with a focus in human biology, from the University of Pennsylvania.
Cameron Hayes Fardy ’23