Department News


Updated March 2018

Peek named to serve on NIDDK Advisory Council | March 20, 2018
Richard Peek, MD, director of the Vanderbilt Digestive Disease Research Center (VDDRC) and chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, has been appointed to serve on the advisory council of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Lovly earns scholarship grant for lung cancer research | March 8, 2018
Christine Lovly, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine, has received a $200,000 grant to support promising new research on lung cancer. 

Schlendorf named adult heart transplant medical director | February 15, 2018
Kelly Schlendorf, MD, MHS, assistant professor of Medicine, has been named medical director of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s (VUMC) Adult Heart Transplant Program.

Research Staff Awards honor lab, administrative excellence | February 1, 2018
Lisa Rogers, senior research specialist in the Division of Infectious Diseases and manager of the lab of David Aronoff, MD, recipient of the Edward E. Price Jr., Award for Excellence in Basic Research.

Vanderbilt researchers’ papers among those most cited | December 8,2017
This year’s list, assembled by the global science analytics firm Clarivate Analytics, includes more than 3,300 researchers worldwide whose papers in science and social sciences journals indexed in the Web of Science Core Collection ranked in the top 1 percent most-cited in their respective fields between 2005 and 2015.

Vanderbilt receives national designation for excellence in infection prevention | December 8, 2017
“We’re honored to be the first institution in the country to receive this designation,” said Thomas Talbot, MD, MPH, professor of Medicine and Chief Hospital Epidemiologist at VUMC. “One of the big things the surveyors cited was that it is not just the Infection Prevention team that contributed to the effectiveness of our infection prevention programs.

Niswender named Clinical Research Center director | December 4, 2017
“Clinical and translational research is a strength at Vanderbilt,” said Nancy Brown, MD, Hugh J. Morgan Professor of Medicine and chair of the department.
“Under David Robertson the Clinical Research Center has been the catalyst for discovery in humans. There is no one better suited to follow in Dr. Robertson’s footsteps than Dr. Niswender.”

15 faculty members elected as AAAS fellows | November 20, 2017
“The rapid growth of the cohort of Vanderbilt faculty with this distinction is further recognition of the university’s remarkable momentum as a national research university, momentum that is driven by our outstanding faculty,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente said.

Symposium honors Moses’ storied cancer research career | October 20, 2017
Harold (Hal) Moses, M.D., is a past chair of the Department of Cell Biology (now Cell and Developmental Biology) and founding director of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), recently moved to emeritus status as a Vanderbilt faculty member and administrator. “I am proud of the success of the people who trained in my lab,” Moses said.

VIGH receives federal grants to fight kidney disease | October 12, 2017
The study will test whether Lisinopril, a widely available drug used to reduce the risk of diabetic kidney disease, can also prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease in genetically at-risk HIV-infected adults. The principal investigators are C. William Wester, M.D., MPH, professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt, and and Muktar Aliyu, M.D., MPH, Dr.P.H.

Heart program named among best in nation | October 6, 2017
“Our goal is to innovatively and comprehensively address the cardiovascular disease burden of the populations we serve,” said Walter Clair, M.D., MPH, associate professor of Medicine and executive medical director and chief medical officer of VHVI.

VICC investigators land support from Komen Foundation | September 28, 2017
Deanna Edwards, Ph.D., research fellow in the Division of Rheumatology, will receive a grant to study new therapeutic options for TNBC. Tumors from TNBC patients often depend on increased metabolism of glucose and amino acids and these metabolic alterations can have a negative impact on immune cells found within the tumor. This study aims to determine the therapeutic potential of targeting EphA2 to block tumor metabolism and improve response to immunotherapies.

Major grant to enhance kidney disease research | September 28, 2017
“We’re thrilled to be able to provide core research activities for our institution and the broader nephrology community, both academic and industry as well,” said Raymond Harris, M.D., chief of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Kidney Disease and Ann and Roscoe R. Robinson Professor of Nephrology.

Grant supports Oates’ research on acetaminophen and stroke | September 21, 2017
Oates and colleagues discovered the mechanism whereby acetaminophen reduces pain and relieved fever by blocking synthesis of pro-inflammatory molecules called prostaglandins. They now are investigating whether the drug can prevent one of the most lethal consequences of rupture — cerebral vasospasm (constriction of the arteries that supply the brain).

Endowed chair holder celebration honors 11 professors | September 15, 2017
Dr. Robert F. Miller is among 11 faculty members named to endowed chairs and recognized for their exemplary achievements during a celebration Sept. 6 at the Student Life Center.

Drake and Terhune named Chancellor’s Higher Education Fellows | September 11, 2017
“I was and am attracted to the presence of people who really have a passion to make the world a better place, using thoughtful science and effective health care,” said Wonder Drake, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Professor of PMI, on what initially drew her to Vanderbilt and lured her to return in 1999.“

Dahir receives grant to support study of rare metabolic disorder | August 17, 2017
“We are excited to receive this grant, which will allow us to directly study physical impairments, abnormalities in movement and cognitive deficits in both adolescents and adults with HPP,” said Dahir. “Findings from this study will be used to develop strategies for patients, families and their doctors to better identify problems and make appropriate referrals to specialists when needed.”

Wilkins named to national committee exploring return of research results | August 17, 2017
Consuelo Wilkins, M.D., MSCI, executive director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, has been appointed to a national committee charged with determining how best to return to research participants the results of studies of their blood and other bio-specimens.

VUMC named among country’s elite health care providers by U.S. News and World Report | August 8, 2017
“Our longstanding commitment to place patients first serves as the foundation for continued success with the U.S. News rankings. I want to express my appreciation for these strong results and congratulate everyone for keeping Vanderbilt University Medical Center ranked No. 1 in Tennessee for the sixth straight year,” said C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Health System Officer for VUMC.

Doris Duke Foundation lauds Van Driest’s research | July 27, 2017
Van Driest, assistant professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at Vanderbilt, is one of 17 junior physician scientists chosen this year from among 196 applicants to receive the award, which provides $495,000 in research support over three years to support their transition to independent clinical research.

Shah named to lead Department of Cardiac Surgery | July 20, 2017
“Dr. Shah has demonstrated the determination and expertise to further departmental efforts in enriching the educational experience for our residents and fellows while continuing to grow this important program and lead the country in providing our patients personalized innovative care,” he said, “The collaborative environment between cardiology and cardiac surgery, established by Dr. Petracek, is solidly grounded to meet present and future challenges while developing the model for cardiac care in a large academic center.”

Barnett honored by AHA for minority student advocacy | June 29, 2017
“I am very pleased to accept this award on behalf of the efforts of the staff and volunteers who have worked to develop partnerships that both provide opportunities for underrepresented students and engage them in our mission,” said Barnett, assistant dean of Physician-Researcher Training and vice chair of the Department of Pharmacology.

Schaffner receives UpShot Award in vaccine communication | June 15, 2017
“I am most appreciative of this recognition by the National Vaccine Program Office and am pleased to accept it, as well on behalf of my colleagues at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases,” said Schaffner, who also serves as medical director for the NFID.



Christine Lovly was inducted in American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).
Al Powers, Tommy Wang, and Keith Wilson were elected to membership in American Association of Physicians.
Steve Brandt and Jacek Hawiger were elected fellows in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
Kim Rathmell was elected Vice President (President Elect) of ASCI.


Lifetime Achievement Awardees

Gordon Bernard - Distinguished Investigator Award, Society for Critical Care Medicine
Ray Hakim - Belding H. Scribner Award from American Society of Nephrology
Billy Hudson - Carl Brändén Award winner from the Protein Society
Donna Seger - Career Achievement Award from the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology


Rising Stars

Christine Lovly was selected as one of five early career investigators to participate in an American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) sponsored Congressional Briefing entitled: “Seizing Today’s Opportunities to Accelerate Cancer Research: A Congressional Briefing to describe the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative and highlight the work of the NCI’s Blue Ribbon Panel”.
Josh Fessel received ATS Early Career Research Achievement Award.
Meena Madhur received the American Heart Association (AHA) Harry Goldblatt New Investigator Award and American Physiological Society (APS) Water and Electrolyte Homeostasis Section New Investigator Award.
Jessica Devin received an Early Investigators Award from the Endocrine Society.
Rachelle Johnson received a Young Investigator Grant from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
Chris Johnson received the Young Investigator Award from the European Muscle Society.
Ray Blind received the Journal of Biological Chemistry Herb Tabor Young Investigator Award.
Jennifer Gaddy received the 2017 Young Investigator Award from the American Society for Microbiology.


Councils and Study Sections

Ray Harris was appointed to the Board of Scientific Counselors of NIDDK.
Bob Dittus was named to AHRQ’s National Advisory Council.
Julia Lewis was appointed to FDA Cardio-Renal Advisory Panel.
Tim Blackwell is a member of the Heart, Lung, and Blood Program Project Review Committee (HLBP), NHLBI, NIH.
Jacek Hawiger is a member of the Subcommittee for Immunology and Dermatology A of the Scientific Merit Review Board of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Laura Dugan is a member Neural Oxidative Metabolism, Mitochondria and cell Death (NOMD) NIH Study Section.

Study Sections

Sandra Simmons is a member NIH Neuro/Psychopathology, Lifespan Development and STEM Education Special Emphasis Panel (Risk, Prevention and Health Behavior, RPHB-12) Study Section.
David Aronoff is a member Pregnancy & Neonatology (PN) Study Section.
Mark de Caestecker is a member Respiratory and Integrative Biology and Translational Research (RIBT) NIH Study Section.
Leslie Crofford is a member Arthritis Musculoskeletal & Skin Study Section.
Tommy Wang was appointed to AHA National Research Committee.
Meena Madhur serves on the AHA Vascular Wall Biology Peer Review Committee.
Doug Johnson serves on the ASCO Scientific Selection Committee.



Kelly Birdwell and Anthony Langone – Fellows of the American Society of Transplantation 
Chris Williams – Fellow, American Gastroenterology Association 
Keith Obstein – Fellow, American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE)
David Aronoff – Fellow American Academy of Microbiology
Meena Madhur – Fellow of the American Heart Association 
Xiao-Ou Shu – Fellow the American Epidemiology Society
Parul Mani Goyal – Fellow of the American College of Physicians



Evan Brittain, Javid Moslehi, Deepak Gupta, Ben Shoemaker, and Quinn Wells named to the inaugural list of Next Gen Innovators by Cardiology Today.
Keith Obstein won the Surgical Robot Challenge at the 2016 Hamlyn Symposium of Medical Robotics for their idea for ultra-low-cost endoscopy for gastric cancer screening in low-income countries.
James Tolle – Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Development Network 5-year service award
Fabien Maldonado – Editorial Award from the Journal of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology
Lisa Young – American Thoracic Society (ATS) Public Advisory Roundtable (PAR) Excellence Award
Lorraine Ware received the American Lung Association of Tennessee recognition award for extraordinary research in lung disease.
Andy Scanga named Hepatologist of the Year, American Liver Foundation Mid-South.
Bobo Tanner received the 2017 Tennessee Rheumatology Society’s Presidents Award for improving patient care in Rheumatology practice and advancing the role of Rheumatology.
Heidi Silver received the 2017 Outstanding Research Mentor Award, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Lipscomb University.
David Schwartz received the IRIS Award for promoting dietary education, Tennessee Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (TAND).
Henry Okafor received the “Outstanding Faculty Award 2016” from the Meharry Family and Community Medicine Department.


National Leadership

Al Powers is President of American Diabetes Association.
Nancy Cox is President of the American Society of Human Genetics.
Ray Harris is Past President of the American Society of Nephrology.
Mia Levy was appointed by the President to the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB).
Russell Rothman is President-Elect, American Academy for Communication in Healthcare.
Howard Baum is Vice-President of Physicians in Practice, Endocrine Society.
Patty Wright – President of the Association of Specialty Professors and Member of the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine Executive Committee.
Josh Beckman is Chair of the AHA Peripheral Vascular Disease Council.
Tommy Wang was appointed Vice-Chair of the AHA Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology and Councilor of the Association of Professors of Cardiology.
T. Alp Ikizler chairs the ABIM nephrology Specialty Test writing Committee.
Ambra Pozzi co-Chair of the 2019 and Chair of the 2021 ‘Fibronectin, Integrin and related molecules’ Gordon Research Conference and co-Chair of the AHA Vascular Endothelial Bio 2.
David Aronoff was appointed Vice-Chair of the Steering Committee for the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Annual Meeting and a member of the ASM Appointments Committee.
Katherine Dahir is on the Medical Advisory Board of The Magic Foundation.
Tom Golper co-chairs the 2018 North American Chapter of the International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis Program.
Jeremy Warner is track leader-elect, Heath Services Research & Clinical Informatics for the ASCO Annual Meeting 2018 and was appointed vice-chair of the 2017 AMIA Policy Invitational.
Julie Damp was appointed to the ACC Lifelong Learning and Oversight Committee.
Harvey Murff was appointed to the Medical Advisory Board for Fight Colorectal Cancer.
Kevin Byram is a member of the Fellows in Training Subcommittee for the American College of Rheumatology.
Kim Rathmell and Vicki Keedy serve as ASCO Education Committee member and liaison.
Vicki Keedy is also ASCO Sarcoma Track Leader.
Bipin Savani is a member of Clinical Trials Advisory Committee: Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research.
William Fissell elected president of ASAIO, the professional organization founded by Willem Kolff, the founder of dialysis.
Lisa Lancaster serves on the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation steering committee and the Steering Committee of the American College of Chest Physicians program in interstitial lung disease.
Consuelo Wilkins was appointed to the Beeson Program Advisory Committee.
Fabien Maldonado serves on the Steering Committee of the American College of Chest Physicians Interventions and procedures Network.
Javid Moslehi and Doug Johnson were appointed to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Guidelines Committee.
Esther Kim named chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) Alliance.
Rob Piana is a member of the ACC Appropriate Use Criteria for TAVR committee.
Kelly Birdwell named to the American Society of Nephrology Continuous Professional Development Committee.
John Koethe was appointed to AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) End-organ Disease and Inflammation Transformative Science Group (2016-2018).
Heidi Schaefer appointed Live Door Community of Practice (LDCOP) to serve 2-year term as Committee Member-at-Large through AST.
John Zic was elected President of the United States Cutaneous Lymphoma Consortium.
Anna Person co-chairs the Ryan White Medical Providers coalition of the HIV Medical Association.
Gowri Satyanarayana appointed to the protocol development team for the BK Virus Study Group and to the working committee on Infection and Immune Reconstitution of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research.
Harvey Murff appointed to the American Cancer Society Clinician Scientist Advisory Committee.
David Aronoff appointed to External Advisory Board, American Society for Reproductive Immunology.
Meena Madhur serves on the Organizing Committee for APS Inflammation, Immunity, and Cardiovascular Disease Conference, and the Programming Committee for ASN Kidney Week, and chairs the Academic Workgroup of the ACC Early Career Section Leadership Council.
Annet Kirabo was elected Chair of the Translational Physiology Interest Group Awards Committee of the American Physiology Society.
Jeremy Warner’s work was recognized in the 2016 President’s Cancer Panel report, “Improving Cancer-Related Outcomes with Connected Health”.


Community Leadership

David Schwartz was Elected Governor for TN of the ACG Board of Governors.
Jill Gilbert is President of the Tennessee Oncology Practice Society (TOPS).
Ralf Habermann was elected President of the Tennessee Association of Long Term Care Physicians and President of the Tennessee Geriatric’s Society.
Kevin Smith is President-Elect of the Nashville Academy of Medicine and Secretary-Treasurer of the Tennessee Chapter of the American College of Physicians.
Shubhada Jagasia graduated from the Nashville Health Care Council Fellowship.


Vanderbilt Faculty Awards

Mia Levy – Vanderbilt Sidney P. Colowick Award for Research that Serves as a Platform for Discovery in Diverse Areas
Rick Peek – Ernest W. Goodpasture Award for Excellence in Research
Elizabeth Phillips and Simon Mallal – William J. Darby Award
T. Alp Ikizler – Excellence in Mentoring Translational Scientist Award 
Otis Rickman – Noel B. Tulipan Award for Clinical Excellence in a Surgical or Procedural Discipline
Mike Fowler – John Johnson Award for Clinical Teaching
Mike Fowler and Bob Miller were elected to the Vanderbilt Academy of Teaching Excellence
Holly Algood was appointed to the Faculty Senate for Vanderbilt University.