Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D., was the second President of UT Southwestern Medical Center, serving in that position from 1986–2008, and is now President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Medicine. He joined the UT Southwestern faculty as an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Physiology in 1970 and became an Associate Professor in 1971 and full Professor in 1975. From 1976 to 1980, he served as Dean of the Graduate School, and from 1980 to 1986, he was Dean of the Medical School.

Following his retirement as President of UT Southwestern, he became President and Senior Consultant of Southwestern Medical Foundation from 2008–2013. From 2013 to 2016, he served as President of Children’s Medical Center Foundation and Executive Vice President of Children’s Health System of Texas. Since his retirement from those roles in September 2016, he holds appointments as Past President of the Foundation and Consultant for Children’s Health, as well as President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Wildenthal received his medical education at UT Southwestern and New York University Medical Center and his research training at UT Southwestern; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the University of Cambridge in England, where he earned a Ph.D. in cell physiology in 1970.

He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and numerous other societies. He has chaired the North American Section of the International Society for Heart Research; the Science Policy Committee of the Association of Academic Heart Centers; the Basic Science Council and the Science Advisory Committee of the American Heart Association; and the Program Project Research Review Committee of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Dr. Wildenthal has been a visiting professor and conference organizer in 24 countries, and has authored over 120 scientific papers in basic research and clinical cardiology as well as numerous articles on health and education policy issues. He is an Honorary Fellow of Hughes Hall at the University of Cambridge and served as a member of the board of directors of the Lasker Foundation.

Dr. Wildenthal has served on a number of national advisory boards for research and health policy, and locally he has been a member of numerous civic, arts, and philanthropic boards, including the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Dallas Citizens Council, Dallas Assembly, Science Place, Dallas Center for the Performing Arts, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Symphony Association, Dallas Opera, Moncrief Cancer Foundation, Hamon Foundation, Reves Foundation, and Hoblitzelle Foundation.

He has received the Excellence in Community Service Award from the Dallas Historical Society, the Virginia Chandler Dykes Award for Public Service from Texas Woman’s University, the TACA Silver Cup Award for Volunteer Leadership in the Arts, and the Spirit of Generations Award of Dallas' Senior Source. He has been awarded honorary Doctor of Science degrees by Austin College and Southern Methodist University. In 2008, he was elected to the Texas Business Hall of Fame, the first leader of a nonprofit organization to be so recognized.

In 2014, the Board of Regents of the University of Texas System honored him by naming the newest research building on the UT Southwestern campus as the “C. Kern Wildenthal Research Building.”


Medical School
UT Southwestern Medical Center (1964)
Graduate School
Cambridge University - England (1970)

Research Interest

  • Cardiac metabolism

Honors & Awards

  • Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
  • Chairman, Association of Academic Health Centers, Council on Science Policy
  • Chairman, American Heart Association, Basic Science Council
  • Chairman, International Society for Heart Research, American Section
  • Guggenheim Fellowship

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Physiological Society
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation
  • Association of American Physicians
  • International Society for Heart Research
  • Royal Society of Medicine