Kathy Nugent, Ph.D., has been named chair of the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences (CDS) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions. Nugent is a leader in technology and research commercialization who has been associate vice president and executive director of the UAB Harbert Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (HIIE) since 2014.

In her role at the HIIE, Nugent collaborates daily with top leaders across UAB and Birmingham and has unprecedented insight into navigating research and entrepreneurship opportunities.

“Kathy has decades of industry work, expertise in translating technology, and unequivocal leadership experience that will transform a diverse department that spans the gamut from undergraduate biomedical sciences to graduate clinical programs,” said Andrew J. Butler, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Health Professions. “We are thrilled that Kathy has joined the leadership team in SHP. Her familiarity with the department gives her a great advantage and her unique relationships with UAB and the HIIE offers the department and our school a tremendous edge in meeting and exceeding our strategic goals.”

“I am excited to be selected for this role because CDS has a long history of leadership across disciplines and the faculty, staff, students and alumni continue to make tremendous contributions to the health care arena,” said Nugent.

She sees a tremendous opportunity to evolve the department’s research efforts. Nugent wants to develop certain programs to include research tracks that complement their clinical mission. She has experience developing this work and recognizes that CDS’ primary investigators and faculty members are willing to expand their own work and their research relationships beyond the school and across the university. She looks forward to working closely with everyone to develop new strategies.

“This has traditionally been a clinically focused department and I want to be involved and work with every faculty on developing research. I really want to be an integral part of faculty development and to make their program and our department stronger,” said Nugent.

In July 2020 the Birmingham Business Journal named, Nugent one of Birmingham’s 60 most influential leaders shaping our community. She is a past president of the Biotechnology Association of Alabama.

Nugent earned her Ph.D. in Biopsychology at the City University of New York and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Pharmacology at the Weill Cornell Medical College at Cornell University. From 1999 – 2009, she was senior vice president, science advisor for Burns McClellan, one of the nation’s oldest and largest independent communication agencies for life sciences. There she developed and managed strategic communications and business development programs for more than 100 companies.

From 2009 – 2014, she served as director of the UAB M.S. in Biotechnology program. She has maintained an associate professor faculty position in the program while running the HIEE. Nugent serves on the board of directors of numerous regional organizations including Southeast BIO, BioAlabama, Innovation Depot, Birmingham Business Alliance and Birmingham Venture Club.

Nugent is a native of Jasper, Alabama and earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Alabama. Her first official day as Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences chair is September 1, 2020.