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Meet TRDRP Director Dr. Tracy Richmond McKnight

Following a nation-wide hiring search, Dr. McKnight was appointed TRDRP Director on March 1, 2019.  Tracy received her doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from UC Davis and her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from Spelman College and NYU Polytechnic University, respectively.  She served for 15 years on the faculty of UCSF where she led a successful independent research program in neuroimaging of brain cancer.  Tracy has been consistently committed to developing a diverse research pipeline, in addition to mentoring early-career researchers, she was the recipient of an inaugural UC-HBCU Initiative award that supported the founding of the UCSF-Tuskegee Partnership in Bioengineering.

Tracy began to transition into research administration in 2014, when she was hired as a Program Officer for Cancer and Neuroscience at TRDRP. Tracy played a leadership role in the development of new research initiatives in the areas of nicotine dependence and tobacco-related cancers, collaborated with the California partner programs in the Departments of Education and Public Health to advance statewide anti-smoking policies and activities, and informed the California legislature and other stakeholders of the program’s key research findings.

Between 2016-2019, Dr. McKnight served as the Director of Translational Research with a private biotechnology company focused on developing targeted therapies for orphan and genetic diseases.  In this role, she further expand her leadership and management skills within private industry and gained direct knowledge of the regulatory process leading to FDA approval of a range of therapeutic agents.

Dr. McKnight may be reached at


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