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Susan M. Fitzpatrick is President of the James S. McDonnell Foundation, St. Louis, Missouri. The McDonnell Foundation is one of a limited number of international grant-makers supporting university-based research in biological, behavioral, and complex systems sciences through foundation-initiated programs. As President, Fitzpatrick serves as JSMF’s Chief Executive Officer.
Fitzpatrick received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Neurology from Cornell University Medical College (1984) and pursued post-doctoral training with in vivo NMR spectroscopic studies of brain metabolism/function in the Department of Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics at Yale University.
Fitzpatrick served as the Associate Executive Director of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis (1989-1992), a comprehensive basic science and applied science research center focused on restoring neurological function to persons with spinal cord injury. Her responsibilities included all public outreach and educational efforts and she served as the scientific liaison to the development, fundraising, and public relations staff. As Executive Director of the Brain Trauma Foundation (1992-1993), Fitzpatrick guided the Foundation through a re-organization. BTF is now a leader in advancing the acute care of patients with traumatic brain injury. Fitzpatrick joined the James S. McDonnell Foundation in 1993 as the Foundation’s first Program Officer. She was promoted to Program Director in 1997 and to Vice President in 2000. Fitzpatrick is an adjunct associate professor of Neuroscience and Occupational Therapy at Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis) and teaches neuroscience in both lectures and seminars. Fitzpatrick lectures and writes on issues concerning applications of neuroscience to clinical problems, the translation of cognitive science to educational settings, the role of private philanthropy in the support of scientific research, and on issues related to the public dissemination of and understanding of science.
Fitzpatrick serves on the boards of the Ontario Brain Institute and Research!America, is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation Science Council, and is a member of International Advisory Council of the Rotman Institute for Philosophy. In July of 2018, Fitzpatrick was invited to serve as a member of the Santa Fe Institute Science Board. Fitzpatrick is a past member of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, and is a Past-President and former Chair of the Board of the Association for Women in Science.