During his time at the University of Utah, Lorris twice served as interim president. Following his retirement in 2012, he was named senior vice president emeritus of health sciences and was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by the university.
Lorris received his B.S. degree in chemistry in 1969 and M.D. and Ph.D. in biochemistry and physiology in 1975 from the University of Wisconsin, and he completed his pediatric residency and a research fellowship in pediatric neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. He joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in the departments of pediatrics and neurology in 1979 and later was appointed to the faculty in the department of surgery. Other administrative appointments at the University of Michigan included associate dean for faculty affairs, senior associate dean for academic affairs, executive associate dean and interim dean.Lorris’ research focused on the physiology of the blood-brain barrier and the biochemical mechanisms that lead to brain injury in stroke. He has published over 150 scientific papers and chapters. He currently serves on the board and executive committee of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.