UTHealth Houston announces new leadership team for McGovern Medical School

By Meredith Raine, Office of Public Affairs

New Leadership - Dean John Hancock

Following a national search for a permanent dean of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, John Hancock, MA, MB, BChir, PhD, ScD, has accepted the position to lead the school as executive dean and H. Wayne Hightower Distinguished Professor in the Medical Sciences, 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 July 29.

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 joined the McGovern Medical School faculty in 2008 as chair of the Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology. 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.

Working alongside Hancock in the dean’s office will be LaTanya Love, MD, in the role of dean of education, a position she has held ad interim since 2020. An alumna of McGovern Medical School’s graduate training programs, Love joined the faculty in 2005 and has held a number of administrative positions in the admissions, student affairs, and diversity offices, including her current role as executive vice president of student affairs and diversity at UTHealth Houston. She will work with Hancock to continue building a strong team to oversee all educational programs at McGovern Medical School, ensuring the best training for students while furthering UTHealth Houston’s culture of excellence and quality.

As Hancock transitions to his role as executive dean, 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 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.

Colasurdo, the Alkek-Williams Distinguished Chair, also announced that following two years serving as the medical school’s executive dean ad interim, Richard Andrassy, MD, will be joining the President’s Office in the role of senior vice president for clinical and faculty affairs. Andrassy will continue to serve as chair of the Department of Surgery and, in this new position, will join the leadership team of the academic group practice and continue to co-chair the Clinical Leadership Council.

“This new structure for our dean’s office and clinical practice reflects the changing environment and responsibilities of medical school leadership as health education and delivery continue to evolve,” Colasurdo said. “To best serve our students, our faculty, our patients, and our community, we need a robust team committed to advancing our educational programs, building an innovative and diverse research platform, and furthering the scope and reach of our clinical practice that provides financial stability for all mission areas. This expert team, working alongside our outstanding chairs and administrators, is well equipped to guide our school in the years to come, and I look forward to celebrating their individual and collective accomplishments.”