After seven years of dedicated service as senior associate vice chancellor for Research, Steven L. Youngentob, PhD, has announced plans to retire from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, effective June 30th.
Over the next two months, Dr. Youngentob will work with his replacement, Dr. Wesley Byerly, to ensure a smooth transition. Dr. Byerly joined UTHSC on May 2nd.
Dr. Youngentob came to UTHSC with Steve Goodman, PhD, vice chancellor for Research, from SUNY Upstate Medical University. “I have had the privilege and pleasure of working with Steve Youngentob for the past fifteen years at two academic health centers,” Dr. Goodman said. “Steve has been the perfect partner in restructuring and revitalizing research at Upstate and UTHSC. As our UTHSC Office of Research Chief Operating Officer, he has been in the center of a complete overhaul of our research infrastructure. I want to say thank you, on behalf of the entire UTHSC research community for Steve’s successful efforts that have vastly improved our research environment.”
Dr. Youngentob, who is also a professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, joined UTHSC in 2015 and played a major role in the research evolution led by Dr. Goodman. He provided critical support and leadership in the execution of key pieces of the Operational Strategic Plan for Research. He shepherded a comprehensive restructure of research-related administrative and compliance offices that directly led to UTHSC’s ability to handle a growing portfolio of MTAs, CDAs, sub-awards, clinical trial agreements, and grant submissions, which, in turn, resulted in record-breaking growth in external grant and contract awards by FY21.
Primary among his accomplishments during his tenure was the unification of the Office of Sponsored Programs in 2017. The process involved bringing all pre-and post-award functions under the Office of Research, and fostering collaboration with the sponsored program offices on our Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Nashville campuses.
Dr. Youngentob also led the campus through sweeping changes to improve regulatory compliance conduct and efficiency. He spearheaded the renewal and rebuilding of the Lab Animal Care Unit, the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, the Institutional Biosafety Committee, the Radiation Safety Committee, the Research Conflict of Interest Committee and the Office of Research Safety Affairs. He oversaw the creation and implementation of new streamlined electronic submission and review processes, and elevated quality and safety standards by requiring increased certifications.
The combined impact of Dr. Youngentob’s work in these broad-based initiatives has been enormous. The administrative burden on researchers has been greatly reduced, and the many individual offices he has revitalized now deliver a new level of support to researchers with increased accuracy, reduced turnaround times, and efficiency-related cost-savings. In addition, the mission and services of individual offices, groups and committees has been strengthened by the valuable oversight he provided faculty directors.
Other highlights of Dr. Youngentob’s contributions during his tenure at UTHSC include implementing structured oversight of UTHSC’s ten institutional research core facilities, optimizing their operations. He has helped shape research policies and plans, drafting many new documents, including the Allocation of Research Space Plan, UTHSC Oversight of Clinical Trials, the Investigator Award Credit Allocation, and the Procedure for Establishing Institutes and Centers. He also oversaw the writing of COVID-19 return-to-campus procedures and safety protocols for lab activities during the pandemic.
In addition to his talent and skills as an administrator, Dr. Youngentob is recognized as one of the world’s leading researchers in chemosensory systems. He is known for his groundbreaking research, and as a leader, collaborator, and mentor of graduate students.
Prior to joining UTHSC, Dr. Youngentob served for 30 years at SUNY Upstate, first as a professor in the Department of Neuroscience, then as associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies and professor in the Department of Psychiatry, and as associate director of the SUNY Developmental Alcohol Research Center. In 2015, the university presented him with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.
Dr. Youngentob graduated from the University of Georgia in 1976 with a BS in biology and obtained a PhD in physiology at Upstate Medical University in 1984.
The Office of Research thanks and recognizes Dr. Youngentob for his many accomplishments at UTHSC and for dedicating the last seven years of his professional career to help ensure we are well positioned to achieve our vision of becoming a world-class, interdisciplinary, and research-intensive health science center.