Featured People Profile

Dickson installed as the Centennial Professor of Pediatrics 

Patricia Dickson installation

Patricia Dickson, MD, a professor of pediatrics, has been installed as the Centennial Professor of Pediatrics . A celebration to mark the event took place Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023 in the Eric P. Newman Education Center.

Dickson earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in 1995 in Classics and her medical degree in 1999 from the Columbia University, Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. She completed an internship and residency in pediatrics at Harbor-UCLA MedicalC enter in Los Angeles County and was chief resident. She trained in medical and biochemical genetics at the UCLA Intercampus Medical Genetics Training program.

At the start of her clinical genetics training in 2003, she joined the laboratory of Emil Kakkis, who left academia in 2005 for industry, and is now CEO of Ultragenyx. By necessity, Dickson developed a high degree of independence early on and ended her fellowship with a new R01 grant that she wrote with the data she and Kakkis’ laboratory generated. She has held a total of 15 federal grants as PI, including four NIH R01s, a Bench-to-Bedside award and a new RM1 multidisciplinary team science award with Drs. Cooper, Li and Sardiello.

Her research has been published in Science Translational Medicine, PNAS, the Journal of Clinical Investigation and Molecular Therapy Methods and Clinical Development, among others. Since her appointment at Washington University in 2018, Dickson has served as the chief of the Division of Genetics and Genomic Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics. She obtained the designation for the Washington University/BJC Healthcare National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) Center of Excellence and serves as its director. She obtained and co-directs the T32 training grant for postgraduate training in genomic medicine, a medical genetics training grant funded by NIGMS.

Dickson leads the Undiagnosed Diseases Network Clinical Site for Washington University. She is a member of the steering committee for the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders and a co-investigator in Washington University’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center. She is a member of the Precision Medicine Committee of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Sciences. She is a co-investigator in the U2C Participant Engagement in Cancer Genomic Sequencing (a “cancer moonshot” project, NCI), with a role in designing and implement­ing the return of germline genetic results. Dickson is a co-investigator in the Data and Coordinating Center for the NHGRI-supported Impact of Genomic Variation on Function consortium. She is a co-investigator in the Genomic Information Commons, an NCATS-funded study linking electronic health records and genomic data among several national children’s hospitals.

Her honors include the National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award Fellowship and the Richard B. Weitzman Memorial Award for Meritorious Research. Dickson was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2021. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics.