Maha Krishnamurthy named Interim UTRF President & Jeff Smith named Interim Vice President for Research

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

With the upcoming departure of Stacey Patterson, the University of Tennessee’s (UT) Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development, UT President Randy Boyd has announced two interim appointments and the process to fill both positions on a permanent basis.

  • Jeff Smith, retired Deputy Director for Operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), will serve as Interim Vice President for Research, effective October 15; and
  • Maha Krishnamurthy, current Vice President ofthe UT Research Foundation (UTRF), has been nominated to serve as Interim UTRF President, beginning October 15, subject to favorable action by the UTRF Board of Directors on October 4.

Both positions will be filled permanently after a national search, according to UT’s news release.

  • Peter Buckley, Chancellor for the UT Health Science Center (UTHSC), will chair the search committee for the Vice President for Research. Other committee members are: (1) Jamie Woodson, member of the UT Board of Trustees; (2) Thomas Zacharia, Director of ORNL; (3) Ryan Stinnett, UT System General Counsel; (4) Deb Crawford, Vice Chancellor for Research at UT Knoxville (UTK); and (5) Mina Sartipi, Director of the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress at UT at Chattanooga.
  • Katie Lane, Deputy General Counsel for the UT System, will chair the search committee for the UTRF President. Other committee members are: (1) Brad Box, member of the UT Board of Trustees; (2) Victoria Hirschberg, newly named Assistant Vice President for Research and Economic Development for the UT System; (3) Matthew Mench, Dean of UTK’s Tickle College of Engineering; (4) Samantha Jeffers, UTRF Budget Director; (5) Hongwei Xin, Dean of AgResearch; and (6) Steve Goodman, UTHSC Vice Chancellor for Research.

Smith was the only person holding the Deputy Director for Operations position at ORNL for about 22 years, starting with the assumption of the management contract by UT-Battelle LLC in April 2000. In his role as President of UT-Battelle Development Corporation as well as Deputy for Operations, he oversaw the massive transformation of the facilities that included a then innovative way to use third party funding to quickly add much needed facilities. Smith is also a member of the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors.

Krishnamurthy joined UTRF in March 2011 as a Licensing Associate and was named Assistant Vice President of Licensing in December 2013 before being named to her current role in January 2018. Earlier, she served two stints at ORNL, first as an intern while working on her MBA at UTK and later as a Tech Transfer Consultant.

Patterson’s appointment as Vice President for Research at Florida State University was announced in mid-July (see article here).