- One of the world’s foremost scientists in the area of reproductive immunology
- In the top 1% of cited authors
- Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education in the School of Medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
- Vice Chancellor for Research and President of the Research Institute for the University of Kansas Medical Center
- First woman to Chair the Human Embryology and Development-1 Student Section for the National Institute of Health
- 2001: named a University Distinguished Professor
In less than twenty-five years, Dr. Joan S. Hunt, Professor, Anatomy and Cell Biology, has established herself as one of the world’s foremost scientists working in the area of reproductive immunology. “She is an internationally-recognized investigator in immunological aspects of reproduction, she has a stellar record of basic science research with important clinical applications and she has a long-standing, highly successful record of mentoring other women scientists,” said Dr. Barbara Atkinson, Executive Vice Chancellor of the KU Medical Center.
Dr. Hunt joined the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1984 armed with a Ph.D. from KU. At the time, the field of placental biology and the immunological implications of reproduction were not well respected or researched. Dr. Hunt’s clinical work at KU was crucial in helping reproductive immunology gain respect as a subspecialty of immunology. Her findings have implications for the genetically disparate fetus, transplantation, autoimmune diseases, and reproductive therapies for mothers experiencing problems of fertility. According to Dr. Atkinson, she is “the best recognized investigator in the world” in her area of research. “An international reputation in basic biomedical science is not easily obtained by a woman,” Dr. Atkinson said. Dr. Hunt’s research is groundbreaking, innovative, and on the leading edge of science.
In the top 1% of cited authors, Dr. Hunt has written 3 books, 30 book chapters, and over 140 original peer-reviewed research publications in leading scientific publications. Over the course of her career, Dr. Hunt has garnered over 34 million dollars in National Institute of Health grants, including over 7 million dollars for her personal research. Highly respected nationally, Dr. Hunt served two 4-year terms as a member of the Human Embryology and Development-1 Student Section for the National Institute of Health – the first woman to chair this study section. Internationally, Dr. Hunt has held top positions in a variety of scientific societies.
At the KU School of Medicine, Dr. Hunt has been instrumental in developing the teaching mission. She has served on various committees and served as Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education in the School of Medicine, then Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, and concurrently as Vice Chancellor for Research and President of the Research Institute for the University of Kansas Medical Center. In 2000, Dr. Hunt was recognized as a University Distinguished Professor.
Dr. Hunt has gained immense gratification throughout her career serving as mentor and role model to female faculty at KU and women scientists on several continents. Dr. Dale Abrahamson of the KU Medical Center, noted that Dr. Hunt has provided “unflagging encouragement and support” to these women, helping to launch and sustain their careers. Dr. Hunt has trained seven doctoral students, 2 Master’s degree students, and 2 post-doctoral fellows. Giving a sympathetic ear and offering guidance from her own career, Dr. Hunt has led many women to highly successful careers in the sciences. Dr. J. Lee Nelson of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Washington DC, wrote that Dr. Hunt is, “singularly the most inspiring scientist I have had the opportunity to work with and to know.”