Christopher O'Donnell, PhD

  • Assistant Vice Chancellor for Special Projects, Health Sciences
  • Executive Vice Chair for Academic Affairs, Department of Medicine
  • Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine
  • Professor of Cell Biology
  • School of Medicine

Christopher O’Donnell, PhD, is assistant vice chancellor for special projects, health sciences. In his position as executive vice chair for academic affairs in the School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine, Dr. O’Donnell has overseen a range of programs that encompass strategic planning, recruitment, space management, budget analytics, and funding and career development initiatives. He manages equally diverse projects as an assistant vice chancellor for the University’s health sciences schools.

Dr. O’Donnell joined the faculty of the Department of Medicine’s Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine in 2004 and has been an active leader, researcher, and administrator since. He studies hypoxia, metabolism, and cardiorespiratory physiology, focusing on the pathogenesis and sequelae of sleep apnea. He seeks to better understand hypoxia and sleep apnea’s relationship with metabolic and cardiovascular dysfunction.

Dr. O’Donnell began his career in academic medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before joining Pitt’s faculty. Since 1996, he has been a principal investigator consistently funded by the National Institutes of Health and has published more than 100 original, peer-reviewed papers. He has held leadership roles with an NIH study section and editorial roles with the journals Obesity and the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Dr. O’Donnell received his physiology undergraduate degree from the University of Otago, New Zealand, graduating with first-class honors. He completed his doctorate focused on physiology at Cambridge University, followed by postdoctoral training in physiology at the University of California, San Francisco.