Mary Dickinson, Ph.D.

Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer

Mary Dickinson, Ph.D. is the executive vice president and chief scientific officer at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX). She leads JAX’s research enterprise, overseeing scientific strategy and operations to build on JAX’s unique strengths in genetics and genomics. She is responsible for recruiting and retaining faculty, overseeing and seeding new initiatives and collaborations, and planning and executing the research capital budget.

A longstanding champion of rare disease research and with extensive, highly recognized research using mice to study cardiovascular disease, particularly congenital birth defects, Dickinson is co-principal investigator of the renowned NIH-funded Knockout Mouse Phenotyping Program, a collaboration with the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium with sites at JAX, Baylor College of Medicine, and University of California, Davis.

Dickinson brought invaluable expertise to KOMP, particularly by advancing imaging technology to expand the ability to capture high-resolution data driving early-stage organ development and providing critical insights into the regulatory networks that govern these events. Earlier in her career, she also worked with companies such as Zeiss to improve imaging tools for researchers—work that enabled her team to discover that mechanical forces can regulate genetic programs thought only to be controlled by cell-to-cell signaling.

Currently, the Dickinson lab uses a multi-disciplinary approach combining mouse genetics, developmental biology, imaging and bioengineering to understand the mechanisms underlying the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and cardiovascular birth defects. Her work has broadened understanding of the genes essential to survival during gestation and how they are related to structural birth defects that occur in humans.

Prior to JAX, Dickinson served as the senior vice president and dean of research at Baylor College of Medicine. At the helm of Baylor’s research mission, Dickinson partnered with nearly 30 chairs and center directors at one of the largest and most complex medical schools to achieve a 37% growth in sponsored awards. Under her leadership, Baylor saw nearly $700 million in awards in 2023. She also served as the institutional official for Baylor’s human subjects and animal research programs.

Dickinson earned her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, doctorate from Columbia University and carried out her post-doctoral fellowship at California Institute of Technology. She has authored more than 150 manuscripts, holds several patents and disclosures for new microscope technologies, and has received numerous awards. Dickinson was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. In 2023, she was elected to the Society for Developmental Biology Academy and received the Orbus Pictus award from the International Society for Transgenic Technology. Most recently, Dickinson was recognized with the lifetime honor of being elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.