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J. Paul Taylor, MD, PhD, Named Scientific Director and Executive Vice President of St. Jude


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J. Paul Taylor, MD, PhD

J. Paul Taylor, MD, PhD

J. Paul Taylor, MD, PhD, has been named Scientific Director and Executive Vice President of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dr. Taylor steps into the role during a pivotal time of growth for the hospital. Under its $11.5 billion, 6-year strategic plan, the institution’s scientific enterprise will significantly expand.

Dr. Taylor joined St. Jude in 2008 as Associate Member of the Department of Developmental Neurobiology. There, he established a high-impact research program to identify the fundamental basis of neurologic diseases by combining human genetics with cell biological and molecular approaches to identify the fundamental basis of neurologic diseases. He now serves as Chair of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology and directs the Pediatric Translational Neuroscience Initiative, a new endeavor that leverages the hospital’s strengths in research and experimental therapeutics to develop cures for childhood neurologic diseases.

“I’m both humbled and thrilled by this opportunity to work with other St. Jude leaders in pursuing the St. Jude mission, as we seek to increase the footprint of the scientific enterprise, open new areas of research, foster more collaboration across scientific disciplines, and fuel innovation via significant financial investments in programs that encourage blue-sky thinking,” Dr. Taylor said. “In this way, we realize hospital founder Danny Thomas’s dream that no child should die at the dawn of life.”

A Leader in Pioneering Studies

Dr. Taylor is best known for groundbreaking work in biomolecular condensation. In this fundamental strategy, cells organize their contents in time and space through a process called liquid-liquid phase separation. In 2013, scientists in Dr. Taylor’s lab discovered that genetic mutations impacting biological phase transitions are a cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This discovery led to a better understanding of how these mutations can also contribute to cancer and other illnesses.

In 2014, Dr. Taylor was a founding member and Chair of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, which has become a model of excellence in biomedical research. Dr. Taylor’s research approach also resulted in development of the Pediatric Translational Neuroscience Initiative in 2020. The initiative seeks to define molecular mechanisms underlying certain childhood neurologic diseases, with the goal of helping scientists find information that can lead to the development of cures for those diseases.

Jim Morgan, PhD

Jim Morgan, PhD

Dr. Taylor will replace Jim Morgan, PhD, who served as Scientific Director and Executive Vice President from 2015 to 2022. Dr. Morgan is retiring from his position as Scientific Director.

As the new Scientific Director, Dr. Taylor will continue to lead the Pediatric Translational Neuroscience Initiative. The search for a new Chair of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology will begin in mid-2022. 


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