Please get to know new faculty who have joined the Department of Medicine within the last six months.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Infectious DiseasesPrevious Institution:Massachusetts General HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Instructor in MedicineSpecialty:Infectious DiseasesEducation/Training:M.D. - Johns Hopkins UniversityM.P.H. - Johns Hopkins UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Lansdale, PA
Dr. Aimalohi Ahonkhai completed her undergraduate training in biological anthropology at Harvard College and obtained her MD from Johns Hopkins University. She completed her residency in internal medicine and MPH at Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Public Health. Committed to optimizing clinical outcomes for marginalized HIV patients, Dr. Ahonkhai received training in clinical infectious disease at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals. She has focused her research efforts on implementation research in Sub-Saharan Africa. With collaborators in Nigeria, she established the Care4Life Program, a multidisciplinary initiative to study and improve retention in HIV care. This program has highlighted high rates of unplanned care interruption in this setting and its association with poor CD4 response and virologic outcomes, in addition to disparate clinical outcomes among HIV-infected youth. Dr. Ahonkhai’s goal is to design novel care delivery interventions to improve the quality of HIV care.
- Assistant Professor of Clinical MedicineDivision of:DermatolologyPrevious Institution:Meharry Medical CollegePrevious Role/Title:Assistant Professor of MedicineSpecialty:Dermatology/Pediatric DermatologyEducation/Training:M.D., University of South Florida, Tampa, FloridaB.S., Biology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FloridaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:St. Petersburg, FL
Dr. Albers has 23 years of experience in the field of dermatology. She is certified in both General Dermatology and Pediatric Dermatology. She is one of only approximately 250 board-certified pediatric dermatologists in North America. Her experience ranges from private practice, HMO-based practice, and the academic setting. She has been involved in the dermatology education of medical students, internal medicine residents, and dermatology residents for over 15 years. Her research endeavors include teledermatology, pediatric dermatology, and pigmented lesions. Special interests include pediatric dermatology, teledermatology, pigmented lesions, skin of color, and underserved populations. In her role at Meharry Medical College she enjoys her position as medical student and resident curriculum director for dermatology. She serves as a mentor to fourth year medical students aspiring to become dermatologists. Dr. Albers is a welcomed speaker at Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Occupational Medicine, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry Grand Rounds. She also is a fan favorite on the health care segment of Fisk radio. Her diverse interests within the field of dermatology has made her a well rounded medical dermatologist caring for all skin types and cutaneous diseases across a spectrum of ages.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University School of NursingPrevious Role/Title:MSN Graduate StudentSpecialty:Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse PractitionerEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Jackson, TN
Rachel recently received her MSN from Vanderbilt School of Nursing. Before deciding to return to school, Rachel enjoyed a career in health care as a radiologic technologist, and it was in this career that she decided to return to school in order to have a deeper impact on the lives of patients. While in school she developed a love for cardiology. She just recently joined Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute’s inpatient cardiology team. Clinically, Rachel is interested in health promotion and the role diet and exercise have on cardiac health. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys reading, cooking, traveling, and staying physically fit. She also enjoys time spent with her family, especially her two nephews.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Postdoctoral Research FellowSpecialty:Imaging Science and Clinical ResearcherEducation/Training:Ph.D., Chemical and Physical Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeM.Eng., Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Terrell, NC
Dr. Jennifer Amundson is a research scientist with 10 years of experience in medical imaging research with a specific focus in oncology; the last three of those years focused on the translation of advanced imaging techniques into clinical trials of cancer. Recently, Dr. Amundson has shifted her research focus to the development and implementation of oncology clinical trials where she supports physicians in the gastrointestinal, thoracic, and breast oncology disciplines. As a research scientist in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Amundson's primary focus will be assisting oncology physicians with clinical trial design, paying specific attention to the conception of study correlatives, including the use of advanced imaging technologies. Dr. Amundson has multiple years of experience with participation in clinical trials as a research coordinator, data manager, and data analyst. Additionally, she has participated in two clinical trials through the ECOG-ACRIN consortium that investigated advanced imaging technologies in patients with breast cancer. Within the past year, Dr. Amundson has written seven Letters of Intent for new clinical trials, three of which have received approval, and two are under review. One of these approved studies was a grant from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to investigate novel treatment combinations in non-small cell lung cancer. Lastly, Dr. Amundson has a proven track record of publishing research and has authored or co-authored 20 refereed journal manuscripts in addition to 19 scientific conference abstracts.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care MedicinePrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University School of NursingPrevious Role/Title:Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:NursingEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Downers Grove, IL
Ms. Sarah Bloom practices critical care as an advanced practice nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is a faculty member in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine as an Assistant in Medicine. Ms. Bloom received her BSN in nursing from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in April of 2011 and her MSN degree from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in August of 2014. She is trained in advanced cardiac life support and basic life support, as well as in fundamental critical care. She is a licensed Advanced Practice Nurse and is a board-certified Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. Prior to her current position, Ms. Bloom worked in a variety of clinical settings, primarily at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, all focused in critical care. As a nurse practitioner at Vanderbilt, Ms. Bloom participates in continuing medical education and in teaching programs for students, allied health trainees, house staff, and fellows. She is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, Society of Critical Care Medicine, and the American College of Chest Physicians. She has received several awards, including a Society of Critical Care Medicine Innovation Award in February of 2016, for her work in the ICU Recovery Center at Vanderbilt. She guest lectures on critical care medicine and post-intensive care syndrome (PICS) both at Vanderbilt and at society conferences.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Brigham and Women's HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Clinical FellowSpecialty:Advanced Heart Failure and TransplantationEducation/Training:M.D. - Vanderbilt University School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Raleigh, NC
Dr. Brinkley earned his BS in biology from Duke University and MD at Vanderbilt. He completed residency in internal medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and fellowship in advanced heart failure and transplantation at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He returned to Vanderbilt to join the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Dr. Brinkley’s primary research interest is outcomes for patients with mechanical circulatory support. Other interests include right heart failure and cardio-renal syndrome. Outside of work, he enjoys travel and hiking.
- Instructor in Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Palm Beach Accountable Care OrganizationPrevious Role/Title:Staff PhysicianSpecialty:Family MedicineEducation/Training:M.D., St. George's University, Great River, New YorkB.S., Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FloridaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Jupiter, FL
Dr. Ana Lisa Carr grew up in Jupiter, Florida, and received her B.S. in psychobiology from the University of Miami and her medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in family medicine at the University of Virginia and her chief residency at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University. Dr. Carr then went on to Auburn University School of Business where she received her Physician’s M.B.A. with a special concentration on comparative health systems. After her residency, Dr. Carr worked in outpatient private practice for four years in South Florida and served on the Board of Directors for the Palm Beach Accountable Care Organization, one of the nation’s top Accountable Care Organizations. Dr. Carr is an avid equestrian, competing on the National USHJA/USEF circuit in both the hunters and jumpers. She is married and has one son named JJ. When away from work she enjoys time with her family, traveling, hiking, and volunteering. Dr. Carr is very excited about the opportunity to join Vanderbilt University Medical Center and is looking forward to being a part of the Nashville community.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:University of MichiganPrevious Role/Title:Clinical LecturerSpecialty:Hematology/Oncology-Sarcoma/phase IEducation/Training:M.D. - Wright State University Boonshoft School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Hudson, OH
Dr. Davis is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. After receiving her BS in biology from Duke University, she worked at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism where she honed her interest in the role of genetic polymorphisms affecting susceptibility to illness, as well as response to treatment. She then attended medical school at Wright State University where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. Dr. Davis completed her internal medicine residency and hematology-oncology fellowship at the University of Michigan where she received the Kenneth Stark House Officer research award, as well as two American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) merit awards for research posters at the ASCO annual meeting. Her primary clinical interest is the care of patients with soft tissue and bone sarcoma. Her research interests include developing novel therapeutic regimens for sarcoma patients, conducting early phase clinical trials, and individualizing patient care. She is an active member of ASCO, the Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS), and the Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration (SARC).
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Registered NurseSpecialty:Vascular MedicineEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Belmont UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Chicago, IL
Mrs. Kristin Davis received her BSN from Belmont University in 2010. After graduating, she completed the General Medicine Nurse Residency here at Vanderbilt and was matched to 7N, a cardiovascular step-down unit. In 2011, she transferred to the Cardiac Cath Lab, where she worked in the holding room as a pre- and post-procedural nurse. During her time working in the cath lab holding room, she completed her MSN at Belmont University, taught undergraduate labs as an adjunct faculty member, and was a member of Sigma Theta Tau. She joined the Vanderbilt faculty in the Division of Vascular Medicine in August of 2016. When away from work she adores spending time with her husband, Read, and their dog Huckleberry Finn. She is also very thankful that her parents and two sisters live close in Brentwood, Tennessee, and she loves spending time with them as well. Kristin is thrilled that she is able to continue her career at Vanderbilt.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Infectious DiseasesPrevious Institution:University of Pittsburgh Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:FellowSpecialty:Infectious DiseasesEducation/Training:M.D. - University of IowaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Iowa City, IA
Dr. Dee joined the faculty in the Division of Infectious Diseases in August 2016. After completing medical school at the University of Iowa, he trained at Vanderbilt for both internal medicine residency and infectious diseases fellowship. He received an additional year of training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center as a fellow in transplant infectious diseases, gaining significant experience in the prevention and treatment of infection in solid organ transplant recipients. His clinical research interests include respiratory viral infection in hematopoietic cell transplant recipients and novel diagnostic methods for fungal disease.
- Assistant Professor of Clinical MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Virginia Tech-Carillion ClinicPrevious Role/Title:FellowSpecialty:Interventional CardiologyEducation/Training:M.D., Ross University School of Medicine, Dominica, West IndiesB.A., Biology, New York University, New York, New YorkInterests/Achievements:Hometown:New York, NY
Dr. Dinaram has dedicated his training and career towards the diagnosis and treatment of atherosclerotic disease. His focus is primarily in coronary artery disease, furthering the understanding of the causes, pathogenesis, and management of this disease state. Additionally, he maintains a dedicated interest in the realm of peripheral arterial disease. Through further advances in our knowledge, technology, and techniques, he hopes to continually improve our medical science and ultimately deliver unprecedented quality care to our patients.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Carolinas Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Cardiac Transplant/Mechanic Circulatory Support Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:Acute Care Nurse PractitionerEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeB.S.N., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North CarolinaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Hendersonville, NC
April completed her BSN from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completion of her BSN she gained solid organ transplant experience at Northwestern Memorial and then went on to become a transplant coordinator at both Stanford in Palo Alto, California, and internationally in Oxford, England. She then completed her MSN from Vanderbilt University and subsequently gained experience in cardiac transplantation, mechanical circulatory support, and advanced heart failure at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. April is a Certified Clinical Transplant Coordinator through the American Board of Transplant Certification. Throughout her career she has been passionate about health education and empowering patients to actively participate in their own care. She has a special interest in transplant infectious disease and individual modification of immunosuppressive regimens. She has recently joined the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute's Transplant and Ventricular Assist Device Program. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, as well as running, hiking, and travelling.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University School of NursingPrevious Role/Title:CVICU ACNP/SICU RN IISpecialty:SurgicalEducation/Training:M.S.N. - University of Alabama at BirminghamInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Newcastle, CA
Ms. Fitts-Christenson’s research interests involve studies on supplements that many people have used for hundreds of years, the effectiveness of which has not been scientifically proven. She is curious about the benefits of such remedies, especially combined with current evidence-based practices. As far as general interests, she enjoys spending time outdoors being active. Most of her free time is spent hiking, running, or adventuring with her dog and friends. She also has a great appreciation for the local music scene and enjoys attending concerts and events with local artists.
- Instructor in Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Saint Thomas HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Staff PhysicianSpecialty:Family and Preventive MedicineEducation/Training:M.D. - University of Louisville School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Versailles, KY
Dr. Franey hails from the small bluegrass town of Versailles, KY, and attended the University of Kentucky for her undergraduate and graduate studies. She earned her MD at the University of Louisville and completed her family medicine training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham-Huntsville campus. She has spent the majority of her early career in practice in San Diego, CA, and moved to Nashville in 2013. She has specialized in treating eating disorders in adolescents and adults over the last ten years in both intensive outpatient and inpatient settings. Her other practice interests include women's health, adolescent medicine, dance injuries, skin disease, preventive medicine, nutrition, obesity, and diabetes management. Throughout her training and practice, she has been involved in laboratory and clinical research. Early projects included Characterizing Retinal Transplant Connectivity Using Immunohistochemistry, SSCP Analysis of Polymorphisms Within the XPA Gene, Vision Recovery Following Stroke, and Community-Acquired MRSA in Infants. More recently, she participated in over 30 Phase I clinical trials as an investigator studying new OADs and insulins in Type I and II diabetic patients. Outside of her professional life, Dr. Franey loves precious time with family and friends, most especially, her husband, two young children, and pug dog. She also enjoys oil painting, freelance and fiction writing, yoga/tai chi, guitar, dance, and is an avid Jazzerciser.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Gastroenterology, Hepatology and NutritionPrevious Institution:University of North Carolina at Chapel HillPrevious Role/Title:Social WorkerSpecialty:Gastroenterology - IBDEducation/Training:M.S.W., Adult Mental Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North CarolinaB.S., Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Nashville, TN
Lindsey Franks received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her Bachelor of Science degree from Vanderbilt University where she was an Ingram Scholar. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Tennessee. Lindsey has spent the last decade working with chronically ill individuals and their families across multiple healthcare systems including Vanderbilt, Duke, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is passionate about early psychosocial intervention with patients who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). One of her primary interests is supporting, equipping, and empowering patients and families to live successfully with IBD and to cope effectively with accompanying stressors. Additionally, she is interested in treating comorbid depression and anxiety in IBD patients. In partnership with the IBD Support Foundation, Lindsey is currently conducting research to understand the effectiveness of psychosocial care for patients with IBD, the best way to implement it, and its economic impact in reducing overall healthcare costs.
- Assistant Professor of Clinical MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Cleveland Clinic FoundationPrevious Role/Title:Fellow-Hematology/OncologySpecialty:Hematology and Medical OncologyEducation/Training:M.D. - University of Alabama School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Florence, AL
Dr. Goodman is a medical oncologist and hematologist. After receiving her MD from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, she moved to Durham, North Carolina, where she completed her internal medicine residency at Duke University. Dr. Goodman concluded her training at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation where she completed a medical oncology and hematology fellowship and received additional training in an oncology-focused Quality Improvement and Patient Safety fellowship.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Genetic MedicinePrevious Institution:St. Thomas HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Genetic CounselorSpecialty:Genetic Variant Assessment and ReportingEducation/Training:M.S., Genetic Counseling, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaB.S., Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Shreveport, LA
Heather Herrmann is a Genetic Counselor with over 13 years of clinical genetics experience including seven years of successful delivery of cancer genetics education and knowledge leading more than 700 providers to improved care for thousands of patients. She provides strong clinical genetics support of physicians, nurses, and other allied health partners across multiple specialties including medical oncology, gynecologic oncology, genetics, breast surgery, radiology, gynecology, and gastroenterology.
- Associate Professor of MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:University of Michigan, Institute of GerontologyPrevious Role/Title:Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Cell and Developmental BiologySpecialty:Hematology/OncologyEducation/Training:M.D. - New York University School of MedicinePh.D. - New York University School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Baton Rouge, LA
Dr. Hu is a clinically active oncologist with expertise in the management of pancreatic, colorectal, and anal cancers. His lab studies insulin and insulin-like growth factor signaling using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism. In C. elegans, the DAF-2 insulin receptor ortholog controls development, metabolism, and aging through a conserved PI 3-kinase/Akt cascade that regulates the FoxO transcription factor DAF-16. As FoxO transcription factors promote longevity in C. elegans and other species, including possibly humans, his research is focused on elucidating the mechanisms that govern both the regulation of FoxO activity as well as the FoxO outputs that are critical to its function in extending life span. The Hu group has pioneered the use of sensitized genetic screens to identify new modulators of C. elegans DAF-2 signaling. They have discovered several conserved genes that play previously unappreciated roles in DAF-16/FoxO regulation and function, and they are devising strategies to interrogate the function of orthologous genes in mammalian physiology and pathophysiology.
- Research Instructor in MedicineDivision of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Post-Doctoral Research FellowSpecialty:Inflammation, Immunity, Cardiovascular DiseaseEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of IowaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Beirut, Lebanon
Dr. Itani’s scientific goal is to elucidate mechanisms of hypertension and its attendant end-organ damage. To accomplish this goal, she completed a PhD in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program at the University of Iowa under the supervision of Dr. Curt Sigmund. The University of Iowa and Dr. Sigmund’s laboratory are renowned for research in hypertension and the biology of renin. In her thesis, she identified two new molecular mechanisms involved in regulation of renin gene expression. Following completion of her PhD, she accepted an academic faculty position in Lebanon, TN, and was active in training young scientists through teaching, mentorship, and supervision of graduate student projects. In recent years, it has become apparent that inflammation and immunity contribute to hypertension. She therefore decided to pursue a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology in Dr. Harrison’s laboratory at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. As a Research Fellow, she developed a research project that defined a novel role of memory T cells in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Dr. Itani’s research promises to define the immune mechanisms by which memory T cells modulate hypertension, revealing new therapeutic targets for the treatment of this important disease. She was awarded the NIH F32 individual fellowship to complete these studies. Dr. Itani delivered a significant number of invited talks at major scientific meetings and has been recognized with numerous prestigious awards from scientific societies. Her ultimate goal is to establish her own independent research laboratory in the field of inflammation-mediated cardiovascular disease.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:Stanford UniversityPrevious Role/Title:Basic Life Science Research AssociateSpecialty:Cancer and Bone BiologyEducation/Training:Ph.D. - Vanderbilt University School of MedicineB.S., Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Georgia, Athens, GeorgiaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Savannah, GA
Dr. Johnson’s research interest is in breast cancer cell dormancy in bone and the process by which quiescent tumor cells transition to proliferative, aggressive cells capable of inducing osteolytic bone destruction. She is also interested in the molecular mechanisms that promote tumor cell metastasis and dissemination to the bone marrow, particularly the role of the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) signaling pathways in this process. Her current efforts are focused on establishing the mechanism by which extreme hypoxia induces tumor colonization of the bone marrow and identifying a dormancy signature for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer cells as they exit dormancy and colonize the bone, with the ultimate goal of identifying potential therapeutic targets for the prevention of tumor recurrence in the bone marrow. To achieve these aims Dr. Johnson utilizes in vitro techniques encompassing molecular and cell biology, RNA sequencing, and datamining of publicly available cancer patient databases (e.g. TCGA, ENCODE), as well as xenograft and transgenic mouse models. Dr. Johnson has received numerous Young Investigator awards and fellowships from the leading national and international organizations in cancer and bone, including the John Haddad Award and Kaye Ibbertson Award and an NIH Pathway to Independence Award from the National Cancer Institute. She was previously elected to the International Bone and Mineral Society (IBMS) Young Investigator Committee and currently serves on the Board for the Cancer and Bone Society (CABS).
- Assistant Professor of Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:University of Kansas School of MedicinePrevious Role/Title:Resident PhysicianSpecialty:Internal MedicineEducation/Training:M.D. - University of Kansas School of MedicineB.S., Georgetown University, Washington, District of ColumbiaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Leawood, KS
Dr. Kielt graduated from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2006 with a BS in culture and politics. She later received a Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Certificate from Columbia University and then attended medical school in her home state at the University of Kansas. In 2016 she completed her residency in internal medicine at the University of Kansas in Wichita. After her husband matched in a neonatology fellowship at Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, she moved to Nashville and joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine. In addition to working as a hospitalist, she is looking forward to being involved in the Section’s quality improvement projects.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland ClinicPrevious Role/Title:Staff Cardiologist, Associate DirectorSpecialty:Cardiovascular MedicineEducation/Training:M.D. - Duke UniversityM.P.H. - University of North CarolinaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:St. Louis, MO
Dr. Kim is a cardiologist and vascular medicine specialist in the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute. She treats patients with a range of cardiovascular disorders but has a special interest in patients with uncommon arterial disorders including fibromuscular dysplasia, spontaneous coronary artery dissection, and aneurysmal disease. She has authored several research publications and book chapters on these disorders. Dr. Kim's other major interest includes non-invasive vascular imaging using both physiologic testing and duplex ultrasound. She is a registered physician in Vascular Interpretation and has lectured extensively on vascular ultrasonography. She holds leadership positions in several national cardiovascular societies including the Society for Vascular Medicine, the American Society of Echocardiography, and the American Heart Association. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for Vascular Medicine, the premier peer-reviewed vascular medicine journal.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:University of Tennessee Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Registered NurseSpecialty:Autonomic DysfunctionEducation/Training:M.S.N. - University of TennesseeB.S., Nursing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North CarolinaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Knoxville, TN
Jordan Kimmet, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, is originally from East Tennessee. She graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Following graduation, she moved back to Knoxville to work at the University of Tennessee (UT) Medical Center on a cardiothoracic surgical step-down unit. There she provided nursing care to patients following cardiac surgery as well as patients with heart failure, arrhythmias, and blood pressure issues. While working at UT Medical Center, Jordan served on the hospital’s professional development committee and helped promote nursing continuing education by serving on the nursing grand rounds committee. Jordan attended the University of Tennessee and graduated at the top of her class with a Master of Science in nursing in the Family Nurse Practitioner program. She is certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care MedicinePrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University School of NursingPrevious Role/Title:Critical Care Registered NurseSpecialty:Critical Care NursingEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Franklin, TN
Ms. Olivia Kirkpatrick is a nurse practitioner on the MICU critical care team and functions primarily as a nocturnist. She is board-certified as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and provides critical care service to patients and families. Ms. Kirkpatrick obtained her baccalaureate degree in nursing from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga in December of 2011. In August of 2013, she began her master’s degree program in nursing at Vanderbilt, with emphasis in Adult Gerontology Acute Care, and was selected for training in the VUSN Intensivist program. She obtained her MSN in July of 2016 from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. Ms. Kirkpatrick is a Registered Nurse (February 2012) and has certification in Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy Administration (August 2012) and Fundamentals of Critical Care Support (November 2015). She earned a Critical Care Registered Nurse certification in October of 2015. Ms. Kirkpatrick served as a Patient Care Technician in the Emergency Department of Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee (2010-2011), while studying for her baccalaureate degree. She also spent four months as a Nurse Extern (2011) in the Neuroscience Care Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. After receiving her baccalaureate degree, she entered a one-year critical care nurse residency for new graduate nurses at Vanderbilt, where she served as a Resident Critical Care Nurse in the MICU (2012). At the culmination of this program, Ms. Kirkpatrick was selected to work as a staff Critical Care Registered Nurse (2012-2016) in Vanderbilt’s MICU, where she worked prior to joining the faculty as an Assistant in Medicine.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Advocate Health Care/Medical Group/Heart InstitutePrevious Role/Title:APRN-BCSpecialty:Acute Care/CardiologyInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Dickson, TN
Jen is a graduate of the VUSN Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program, class of 1999. She established herself as an accomplished, well respected clinician and leader during her 15-year tenure at Advocate Health Care in Chicago, Illinois, which included a position on the Advocate Medical Group Clinical Informatics Medical Directors team, as well as an elected position on the Advocate Medical Group Governing Council. She has mentored many advanced practice nursing students from various institutions throughout Chicagoland, including Rush University, University of Illinois Chicago, Loyola University, and Northwestern University. She met Ken, her husband of 15 years, while he was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, as a Captain in the United States Army. They have two daughters, Jenna (age 13) and Emma (age 10). She enjoys gardening, reading, and spends hours cheering on her daughters from the sidelines of the soccer field.
- Associate Professor of MedicineDivision of:Geriatric MedicinePrevious Institution:UC San Diego Health SystemPrevious Role/Title:Clinical Services Chief, Geriatric MedicineSpecialty:Geriatric MedicineEducation/Training:M.D., Rush University , Chicago, IllinoisM.S., Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WashingtonInterests/Achievements:Hometown:San Diego, CA
Dr. Legner is a geriatric medicine physician who specializes in taking care of frail, older adults, particularly those with cognitive decline and dementia. His care philosophy is to bring as much quality and comfort as possible to those with chronic illnesses through an inclusive team effort, listening and responding to concerns of his patients and their family members. Dr. Legner has been voted a "Top Doc" by his peers in San Diego County from 2011 to 2015, a reflection of the personalized and caring approach that he brings to the bedside.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Lehigh Valley Health NetworkPrevious Role/Title:Physician Assistant in Critical Care/General and Trauma SurgerySpecialty:Physician Assistant-Inpatient CareEducation/Training:M.S., Physician Assistant Studies, DeSales University, Allentown, PennsylvaniaB.S., Health Studies, DeSales University, Allentown, PennsylvaniaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Easton, PA
Melissa C. Lehmann received her master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies from DeSales University in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, in 2002. She began her career as a PA-C doing orthopedic trauma surgery. In 2012 she left orthopedics for a career in critical care medicine for the general and trauma surgery service at LeHigh Valley Health Network in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She decided to relocate to Nashville in January of 2017 with her husband, Nick, and two sons, Jacob and Nathan, to be closer to family. She is looking forward to her new career in internal medicine at Vanderbilt.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Nephrology and HypertensionPrevious Institution:Kroger Little Clinic/Hunter Lane MedicalPrevious Role/Title:Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:NephrologyEducation/Training:M.S.N., Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TennesseeB.S.N., University of Phoenix, Grand Rapids, MichiganInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Murfreesboro, TN
Toddra’s research interest involves working with primary care providers in early recognition and evaluation of chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality and affects more than 20 million adults in the United States (Shahinian, Hedgeman, Gillespie, et al., 2013). In its early stages, CKD is manageable by primary care providers. However, care of CKD patient can be very complex, which can pose potential problems with novice providers. Primary providers (novice/experienced MD, NP, PA) must properly manage CKD patients, which includes blood pressure control, lipid control, and glycemic control. A study that analyzed renal endpoints of the Multifactorial Approach and Superior Treatment Efficiency in Renal Patients with the Aid of Nurse Practitioners (MASTERPLAN) showed that additional support by nurse practitioners attenuated the decline of kidney function and improved renal outcome in patients with CKD (Peeters, van Zuilen, Wetzels, et al., 2014). Toddra would therefore like to further build upon this to determine the outcomes of CKD by nurse practitioner providers. She is also interested in depression in minority populations. Minority populations are at greater risk for developing depression mainly due to lack of medical access, the stigma associated with depression, and inadequate medical management of depression. African Americans are less likely to receive accurate diagnosis. There is a prevalence of under-recognition in Hispanics, as well. However, there are many barriers that can influence under-recognition including language differences, health literacy, and others. Toddra would like to develop this research by collaborating with local faith-based groups and community organizations to help identify ways to improve depression in minority populations.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:University of Chicago MedicinePrevious Role/Title:EpidemiologistSpecialty:Implementation ScienceEducation/Training:M.P.H. - University of Illinois at ChicagoPh.D. - University of Illinois at ChicagoInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Augusta, GA
Dr. Limper's primary research interests lie in implementation science, specifically focusing on technical and operational methods of behavioral intervention to improve patient safety and quality in the healthcare environment. She has particularly focused on cognitive factors affecting the uptake of interventions among healthcare providers. Her dissertation research focused on the accuracy, uptake, and impact of electronic monitoring technology as a method for measuring hand hygiene behavior among healthcare personnel in an inpatient hospital setting. While at the University of Chicago, Dr. Limper helped launch the Center for Healthcare Delivery Science and Innovation as the inaugural epidemiologist. She created the first offering of a health analytics course as part of the Master of Science in Analytics at the University of Chicago where she also served as a member of the Biological Sciences Division Institutional Review Board and developed a pathway for oversight of quality improvement projects deemed non-human subjects research. While living in Chicago, Illinois, she studied with the Chicago Photography Academy and became a photography enthusiast.
- Instructor in Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:University of South AlabamaPrevious Role/Title:Med/Peds ResidentSpecialty:Internal Medicine/PediatricsEducation/Training:M.D. - University of South AlabamaB.S., Biology, Samford University, Birmingham, AlabamaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Huntsville, AL
Dr. Lott was born and grew up in Huntsville, Alabama. She attended college at Samford University for undergraduate and moved to Mobile, Alabama, to attend medical school at the University of South Alabama. She stayed in Mobile for her medicine/pediatrics residency, which she has recently completed. She has always known that she wanted to do outpatient primary care, and she is looking forward to starting her career with Vanderbilt! Allison just got married in June; she and her husband both love Nashville and are so excited to begin their new life here!
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:KindredPrevious Role/Title:Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:FamilyEducation/Training:M.S.N., Belmont College, Nashville, TennesseeB.S.N., Chamberlain College of Nursing, Addison, IllinoisInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Gallatin, TN
Erin enjoys researching the factors impacting medication adherence, hospital readmission relating to chronic illness, and the numerous cultural and societal barriers to effective chronic disease management. She generally spends her free time reading crime novels, relaxing on the lake aboard her center console boat, crafting, and making quality memories with her husband and two small children. Erin obtained an undergraduate degree in nursing and worked for eight years in the intensive care and emergency room settings. She is a certified critical care nurse. Erin decided to further her education with the end-goal of improving chronic disease management and preventing repeat hospital admission. She earned a MSN from Belmont University in 2015 and is now a board-certified family nurse practitioner. Erin is currently enrolled in Vanderbilt University’s graduate program in pursuit of a post-master’s certificate in adult-gerontology acute care and plans to take the board certification exam in August of 2017. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society, the American Nurses Association, the Tennessee Nurses Association, and the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyPrevious Role/Title:Postdoctoral AssociateSpecialty:Cell BiologyEducation/Training:Ph.D. - Duke UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Memphis, TN
Dr. Mason’s current research focuses on understanding how cell shape changes are organized at the macromolecular, subcellular, cellular, and tissue levels to drive tissue morphogenesis. As a graduate student in the lab of Scott H. Soderling at Duke University Medical Center, he used a combination of biochemistry, mass spectrometry, imaging, and mouse models to define a Rac GTPase-dependent regulatory pathway for cytoskeletal turnover and macrophage migration and invasion. As a postdoctoral associate in the lab of Adam Martin at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he furthered his experience in imaging and genetics and developed quantitative image analysis methods to determine how epithelial cells spatially organize Rho GTPase signaling to remodel the cytoskeleton and promote cell shape changes during Drosophila embryogenesis; this work has been published in Nature Cell Biology and is currently under revision at the Journal of Cell Biology. Going forward he hopes to utilize his experience in cell biology and high-throughput assays to investigate immune cells in cancer and autoimmune disorders.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Diabetes, Endocrinology, and MetabolismPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Clinical FellowSpecialty:Diabetes, Endocrinology, and MetabolismEducation/Training:M.D. - Louisiana State University Health Sciences CenterInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Baton Rouge, LA
Dr. Matheny is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but moved to Nashville to complete her residency in internal medicine at Vanderbilt, where she also stayed on for fellowship. She is now delighted to join the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. Leslee is committed to teaching and has enjoyed leading case-based group discussions with first-year medical students during their endocrinology block, as well as evaluating their standardized patient interviews. She has co-authored a book chapter on diabetes complications, has had multiple case reports accepted to peer-reviewed journals, and has also presented endocrine cases at national meetings. She is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha and served as chief fellow during her training. Research interests are varied and include bone and mineral metabolism, particularly normocalcemic primary hyperparathyroidism (and subsequent risk for recurrent kidney stones), as well as the endocrine side effects of targeted cancer therapies. Personally, she enjoys reading fiction, painting, baking, and outdoor activities such as hiking and canoeing.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:America's Family Doctor's ClinicPrevious Role/Title:Physician AssistantSpecialty:Education/Training:M.S. - Trevecca UniversityM.A., Counseling, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TennesseeInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Columbus, GA
Robert Kenneth McKenzie worked in mental health for 11 years with a Master of Arts in counseling before pursuing a career change into the field of medicine. He earned his Master of Science in Medicine from Trevecca University in 2007. He has worked as a Physician Assistant in primary care, urgent care, and homeless care settings for the past 10 years. He is also a sub-investigator in clinical research. Ken has been married for 15 years and has no children. He and his wife enjoy traveling, trying new restaurants, spending time with family and friends, and both are active in church.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Resident-Med/PedsSpecialty:Internal Medicine and PediatricsEducation/Training:M.D. - University of South Florida College of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Miami, FL
Dr. Mitchell's research interests include metacognition as it relates to adult learners in the clinical setting. Additionally, he is interested in implicit bias in medicine pertaining to doctor-doctor and doctor-patient relationships and its tangible consequences such as research grant awards, salary, and patient outcomes and satisfaction. His general interests are graduate and undergraduate medical education, patient education, and pharmacology. His achievements include graduating magna cum laude from the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, induction into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, and being a father to his son, Kevin III.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Northcrest Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Emergency Medicine Physician AssistantSpecialty:Physician Assistant, MPHInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Litchfield, NH
Margaret Moore's research and general interests coincide in that she wants to seek out opportunities to provide the best possible medical care to the underserved communities in the Tennessee Mid-South region.
- Division of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Premise HealthPrevious Role/Title:Occupational MedicineSpecialty:Adult Nurse PractitionerEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Nashville, TN
Siobhain is an adult nurse practitioner who has experience working in occupational medicine, urgent care, palliative and hospice care, neurosurgery, and as a hospitalist. She completed her MSN at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing while working full time in MICU and CVICU at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her BSN is from Austin Peay State University in Clarkvilles, Tennessee. Throughout her career she has been dedicated to the pursuit of health promotion and is dedicated to helping her patients suffering from chronic disease to achieve a state of optimal wellness and disease management. She has recently jointed the Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute's Advanced Heart Failure Program. In her spare time she enjoys kayaking, paddle boarding, and cycling.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:HealthPartners-Regions HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Hematology-Oncology Physician/Medical Director of Clinical Coagulation, Regions HospitalSpecialty:Hematology-OncologyEducation/Training:M.B.B.Ch. - University of the Witwatersrand Medical SchoolInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Boksburg, South Africa
Dr. Morton’s main area of interest is systems-based hematology. This involves managing hematological problems across an entire healthcare organization. The goal is to standardize work up and treatment to ensure that best practices and guidelines are followed. This results in quality care, safety, and cost containment, with oversight of expensive resources and ensures that all patients get the same quality care no matter where they are in the organization. A few examples of projects are the management of bleeding on anticoagulation, standardizing initiation and management of the direct oral anticoagulants, standardizing massive transfusion practices, refining the use of intravenous iron and work up and treatment of anemia prior to orthopedic surgery. She also chairs two transfusion committees. Another area of interest is women’s issues in hematology, hemostasis, and thrombosis. Dr. Morton completed a quality improvement advanced training program that has given her the tools to do the systems-based work. She works with hematology/oncology fellows on research and quality improvement projects. The focus of these projects includes hemostasis, thrombosis, and transfusion. The systems-based work creates many opportunities for quality improvement projects. She is also training fellows to be systems-based hematologists, and one of her fellows now has a job offer to do this work in Seattle in 2017. She is on the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Committee for Practice and is also the liaison for this committee to the ASH Committee on Quality.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care MedicinePrevious Institution:Duke UniversityPrevious Role/Title:Assistant ProfessorSpecialty:Lung transplantation and critical careEducation/Training:M.D. - Case Western Reserve University School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Brooklyn, NY
Dr. Stephanie Greer Norfolk is a clinician educator in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine with strong interests in medical aspects of lung transplantation and critical care. Dr. Norfolk attained her baccalaureate degree from Duke University in 1991. She then entered post-baccalaureate premedical training at Columbia University in New York prior to attending Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her MD from Case Western in 2005, remaining in the Case Western system of hospitals throughout her internship and residency. Following the end of her residency in 2008, Dr. Norfolk returned to Duke University School of Medicine to enter a fellowship program in pulmonary and critical care medicine. This program was completed in 2011, at which time she was appointed to the faculty at Duke University School of Medicine as an Instructor in Medicine in the Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Division. Dr. Norfolk was promoted to her current position at Duke, Assistant Professor of Medicine, in 2011. Dr. Norfolk is board-certified in Internal Medicine (2008), Pulmonary Medicine (2010), and Critical Care. She is a member of the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Thoracic Society, the American Medical Association, and the International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Nurse Practitioner, Lung TransplantSpecialty:Acute Care, Transplantation, PulmonaryInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Cincinnati, OH
Research interests include critical care oncology, quality of life measures, survivorship, and integrative health.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Team Health/Maury RegionalPrevious Role/Title:Physician AssistantSpecialty:Hospital MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Nashville, TN
Chris graduated in 2003 with his MBA and worked in business and pharmaceutical sales for nine years. After working in the pharmaceutical industry, he was dissatisfied with how patients were treated and viewed by some health care companies. In 2012, Chris went back to school at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee, to become a physician assistant. He graduated in 2014 with his Master of Science in Medicine. Following school, Chris has had diverse experience in family care, internal medicine, hospital medicine, critical care, and urgent care while working in both the inpatient and outpatient settings. He most recently comes from the Centennial ICU to work on the Scoville Hospitalist Service. Chris is married to his wife, Megan, and they have a 6-year-old son, James David (JD), who is currently in first grade at Ezell Harding Christian School. Chris enjoys hobbies such as family vacations, wood working, and home improvement. He was also a collegiate volleyball coach for five years and coached Junior Olympic volleyball for 10 years.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt Department of Orthopaedics and RehabilitationPrevious Role/Title:Assistant ProfessorSpecialty:Bone Physiology and Fracture RepairEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Little Rock, AK
Dr. Perrien joined the Vanderbilt Center for Bone Biology in November 2008 and the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation in August of 2009. He also administers the microCT and other x-ray based instruments in the Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science. After receiving his doctorate in physiology and biophysics from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, he worked for an orthopaedic tissue engineering company developing growth factor-based drug/device therapies to enhance musculoskeletal repair. Fracture repair and distraction osteogenesis continue to be major areas of investigation. In addition, his efforts include mathematical modeling of structure-function relationships in bone, understanding the skeletal response to mechanical load, and endocrine control of bone mass and turnover.
- Instructor in Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Care Spot Urgent CarePrevious Role/Title:Supervising PhysicianSpecialty:Family MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Johnson City, TN
With a keen interest in caring for patients in under-served areas, Dr. Perry traveled extensively providing medical care in third-world countries including Honduras, Ukraine, West Africa, El Salvador, Hungary, Nicaragua, Russia, and Ethiopia on short-term missions with Yeshua Medical Ministries. Dr. Perry received the Reader’s Choice Award for Best Family Practice Doctor in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, in 2008. Dr. Perry attends Fellowship Bible Church and enjoys growing and serving alongside his small community group. He loves following sports, especially the Tennessee Titans. Dr. Perry enjoys living in Nashville and the live music that the area offers. Spending time with his family is his favorite pastime.
- Associate ProfessorDivision of:Rheumatology and ImmunologyPrevious Institution:University of MichiganPrevious Role/Title:Clinical Associate Professor of MedicineSpecialty:RheumatologyEducation/Training:M.D. - Johns Hopkins University School of MedicinePh.D. - Louisiana State University School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Baton Rouge, LA
Dr. Kristine Phillips is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with subspecialty training in rheumatology. Her research interests have been directed at improving the outcomes of patients with arthritis and related autoimmune diseases. Dr. Phillips and colleagues have studied the pathophysiology and epidemiology of rheumatologic diseases in prospective longitudinal cohorts. Related translational studies have focused on the role of inflammation in the development of chronic disease. She has served as principal investigator for clinical and epidemiological studies of osteoarthritis. Her research group has also developed biobanks of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma, recruiting several thousand patients with rare diseases into cohort studies and randomized trials that were used to build the methodology for ongoing studies.
- Assistant ProfessorDivision of:Diabetes, Endocrinology, and MetabolismPrevious Institution:National Human Genome Research InstitutePrevious Role/Title:Physician Scientist Development Program FellowSpecialty:Endocrinology, Diabetes, and MetabolismEducation/Training:M.D. - Duke UniversityM.S.C.I. - Vanderbilt University School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Sanford, NC
Dr. Andrea Havens Ramirez received a Bachelor of Science from North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC) in 2002 with a major in biochemistry and minor in economics. She then continued at Duke University School of Medicine (Durham, NC), during which period she also spent research time at the Rockefeller University in New York City studying genetics of cardiovascular disease and the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Gabon, West Africa, supporting a malaria vaccine trial and Helicobacter pylori transmission research. She earned her Doctorate of Medicine from Duke in 2007 and joined the Vanderbilt University Harrison Society Research Pathway residency in internal medicine followed by fellowship in clinical pharmacology focusing on pharmcogenomics in the laboratory of Dan Roden, MD. She completed her Master of Science in Clinical Investigation in 2011 then joined the Physician Scientist Development Program at the National Human Genome Research Institute in Bethesda, MD, in the laboratory of Francis Collins, MD, PhD. There she studied extracellular RNA signaling in metabolic disease and therapy and completed a joint clinical fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, earning her board certification in 2015.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Genetic MedicinePrevious Institution:Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SanaiPrevious Role/Title:Instructor, Department of PsychiatrySpecialty:Computational and psychiatric genomicsEducation/Training:Ph.D. - Cardiff UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Hicksville, NY
Formally trained in computational biology and genetics, Dr. Ruderfer received his BS in computer engineering and MS in computer science from Johns Hopkins University and his PhD in genetics from Cardiff University. Dr. Ruderfer has spent the last ten years applying computational approaches to answering fundamental questions in genetics. He initially worked with Dr. Leonid Kruglyak at Princeton University developing methods and analyzing the genetics of gene expression, proteomics, drug response, populations, and evolution. Since then, he has worked closely with Drs. Shaun Purcell and Pamela Sklar at the Broad Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai on elucidating the genetic causes of psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. His work has contributed substantially to what is currently known about the genetic architecture of these diseases including seminal publications on the polygenic nature of these disorders. In particular, his work has provided integral contributions to the ability to analyze and assess the role of copy number variation to disease risk. He developed some of the earliest methods to analyze these data and demonstrated extensive contribution of this class of variation to schizophrenia risk. More recently, he has sought to integrate the genomic work with more expansive clinical data to identify opportunities for improved treatment utilizing genomic information. For example, his work recently identified a contribution of rare variation to antipsychotic response raising the promise that having genomic information could alter and improve treatment in a subset of patients with schizophrenia.
- Professor of MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:UAB School of MedicinePrevious Role/Title:Professor Emeritus of MedicineSpecialty:High density lipoprotein structure and functionEducation/Training:M.D. - Vanderbilt University School of MedicinePh.D. - Vanderbilt University School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Birmingham, AL
In the early 1970s, the structures of membranes and lipoproteins were a great mystery; the generally accepted models varied from unlikely to impossible. As a Staff Associate at NIH, Dr. Segrest played a major role in the revolution that solved the mystery when he published two seminal papers demonstrating, for the first time, the basic structural principles underlying the supramolecular assembly of proteins and lipids in membranes—the transmembrane hydrophobic alpha-helix—and in lipoproteins, the surface-associating amphipathic alpha-helix. At the University of Alabama, Birmingham, he focused the bulk of his research on the role of the amphipathic alpha-helix in plasma lipoproteins. Since 1974 he has been the PI on a total of ten separate R01 grants, a NHLBI shared facility grant, and a program project that was funded to its 25th year. Lipid exchange and particle remodeling are critically important processes during metabolism of HDL particles at every step in the antiatherogenic process of reverse cholesterol transport. Because HDL is a soft form of condensed matter easily deformable by thermal fluctuations, the mechanisms for HDL dynamics and remodeling are not well understood. Recently, Segrest took the high-risk approach of using a computational approach—molecular dynamics (MD) simulations—to aid in exploring the dynamic structure of both discoidal and spheroidal (circulating) HDL. In spite of the high risk, he has published thirteen high-impact papers that, for the first time, provide a robust model of HDL structure at the all atom level.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care MedicinePrevious Institution:Indiana University School of MedicinePrevious Role/Title:Research Assistant Professor of PediatricsSpecialty:ImmunologyEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of Sao PauloInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Mococa-SP, Brazil
Dr. Ana Serezani is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine working in the laboratory of Dr. Timothy Blackwell. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in biomedicine from the University of São Paulo State, Botucatu-SP, Brazil in 2001. From that same institution she went on to obtain her masters degree (2004) and her PhD (2012), both in immunology. In August of 2015, Dr. Serezani was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine as a Research Assistant Professor. Dr. Serezani’s research examines the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of chronic lung inflammatory diseases, including allergic airway diseases, fungal infection, and fibrosis. Her recent work explores the consequences of exaggerated cytokine production in alteration of skin epithelial barrier protection and its consequences for disease evolution. Her work analysis, in particular, deals with interaction of keratinocytes and inflammatory cells in models of atopic dermatitis. Another aspect of Dr. Serezani’s work is determining the effects of multivalent allergens to IgE/FceRa–dependent mast cells activation. She is particularly interested in developing therapeutic interventions to prevent chronic inflammation, decreasing risks of disease progression and/or exacerbation. In the Blackwell laboratory at Vanderbilt, Dr. Serezani focuses on examining the mechanisms of lung fibrosis and other lung diseases with the Blackwell research team.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Infectious DiseasesPrevious Institution:Indiana University School of MedicinePrevious Role/Title:Assistant ProfessorSpecialty:ImmunologyEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of Sao PauloInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Assis, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Dr. Serezani completed his PhD at the University of Sao Paulo and the University of Michigan. He also completed his postdoctoral studies at University of Michigan. He was an Assistant Professor at Indiana University School of Medicine and has published more than 50 papers in reputed journals. The NIH and other foundations have funded his laboratory for almost 10 years. The Serezani laboratory aims to develop therapeutic strategies to control systemic (sepsis) and localized infections (skin and lung) in healthy individuals, individuals with immune deficiencies, and those suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes. They have concentrated much of their efforts on understanding the role of the lipid mediators leukotriene B4 and prostaglandin E2 and their actions on microRNAs and phosphatases to modulate immune cells involved in the control of microbial infection in these different contexts.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Geriatric Medicine GroupPrevious Institution:University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical CampusPrevious Role/Title:Program and Project Manager, Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences InstituteSpecialty:Clinical data re-use, genomic medicineEducation/Training:Ph.D. - Yale UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Tullahoma, TN
Healthcare advances are being discovered faster due in part to the growth of clinical data re-use for research. Dr. Stallings’ work has been in advancing infrastructure, guidance, and research on clinical data re-use, specifically in the intersection of electronic health record (EHR) and genomic data for both discovery and clinical implementation. Use of EHR data has highlighted access-derived health disparities, because health inequity translates directly into data sparsity for populations underrepresented in clinical research. Underrepresentation in clinical research fuels inequity in health care innovation, as population differences in disease burden or intervention effectiveness remain unobserved. Engaging communities more broadly can impact all stages of clinical research, causing investigators and participants to collaborate in research effectively together, building trust, and reducing health disparities. Her work in clinical data re-use discovery and implementation is shifting to include engagement, so the results are relevant for all populations and advance equity in healthcare and outcomes.
- Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:EpidemiologyPrevious Institution:Moffitt Cancer CenterPrevious Role/Title:Applied Research ScientistSpecialty:Cancer and Infectious Disease EpidemiologyEducation/Training:M.P.H. - University of AlabamaPh.D. - University of AlabamaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Owatonna, MN
Dr. Staci Sudenga received her PhD in epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and pursued training at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL as a postdoctoral fellow under the R25T Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer training award. Her research program focuses on infections and cancer, the natural history of infections, and the synergy between infections. The goal is to identify modifiable factors associated with acquisition of infections and to identify biologically meaningful associations between the host and pathogen that can be translated into primary prevention efforts, early diagnosis, or treatment. Dr. Sudenga is the principal investigator on a contract through the Merck Investigator Studies Program investigating “The role of genital warts in HIV acquisition among men participating in a longitudinal study from the United States, Brazil, and Mexico.” She is enthusiastic about the potential research collaborations and opportunities at Vanderbilt.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:University of Tennessee Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:RNSpecialty:ED and CVICUEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Memphis, TN
Victoria worked as a nurse for three years, mostly in Knoxville. She began her career in the Emergency Department as an RN, where she met her husband, Mark. After working as a staff nurse for two years, Victoria and Mark had the opportunity to move to Nashville to be closer to family. At that time, Victoria began work on her Master’s degree at Vanderbilt University in Adult and Gerontology Acute Care. She began work at Vanderbilt in December as a nurse practitioner with the Hospital Medicine team. She is passionate about the use of ultrasound to improve patient outcomes and looks forward to growing in those skills as a nurse practitioner. She is very excited about this opportunity and looks forward to being a part of the Vanderbilt team.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Gastroenterology, Hepatology and NutritionPrevious Institution:Intermountain Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Nurse Practitioner Hepatology/Liver TransplantSpecialty:Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse PractitionerEducation/Training:M.S.N., Nursing, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeA.S.N., La Roche College, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Pittsburg, PA
Janine is a graduate of Vanderbilt University and is board certified as an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Nursing Honor Society. Prior to becoming a nurse practitioner, Janine was a nurse for five years, working in abdominal transplant both in step-down and in the ICU, as well as the GI lab. In her spare time, Janine enjoys anything outdoors, especially kayaking. She also enjoys tennis, pilates, and spending time with her friends and family.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University School of NursingPrevious Role/Title:StudentSpecialty:CardiologyEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Bentonville, AR
As a student at Vanderbilt, Maggie was very involved in interprofessional learning. She participated in the Vanderbilt Program in Interprofessional Learning (VPIL) and a Global Studies in Nicaragua course jointly hosted by the Schools of Medicine and Nursing. Maggie was a nominee for the Luther Christman award at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau Honors Nursing Society.
- DirectorDivision of:DermatologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:ResidentSpecialty:DermatologyEducation/Training:M.D. - University of MichiganPh.D. - University of MichiganInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Northville, MI
Dr. Tkaczyk is a physician-scientist with research interests in biophotonics for diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases. He graduated summa cum laude with degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering from Purdue University, where he was a Beering Presidential Scholar. He then completed a PhD in electrical engineering at the University of Michigan Center for Ultrafast Optical Science under the mentorship of Director Ted Norris, winning several research awards including the best paper award from the International Biomedical Optics Society at Photonics West and also first prize at the IEEE International Summer School and Symposium on Medical Devices and Biosensors. He subsequently earned an MD with honors from the University of Michigan Medical School and went on to do medical device design postdoctoral work in the European Union at the University of Tartu, Estonia, supported by Fulbright and Whitaker awards. This work culminated with a prize awarded by both the US Ambassador to Estonia and the Estonian Speaker of Parliament at the Estonian-American Innovation Award ceremony. He joined the faculty of the University of Tartu Medical School, where he developed a course in biomedical optics and spearheaded an international regenerative medicine collaboration. He subsequently completed dermatology residency training at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he is Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Director of the Cutaneous Imaging Clinic.
- Research Instructor in MedicineDivision of:EpidemiologyPrevious Institution:University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Role/Title:Research FellowSpecialty:Cancer Epidemiology, genetic epidemiologyEducation/Training:Ph.D., Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WisconsinM.S., Population Health Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WisconsinInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Hartland, WI
Dr. Warren Andersen's research program seeks to explain how modifiable risk factors and genetic variants influence the molecular aspects of cancer risk. Her research program builds upon her previous training. She received her B.S. in genetics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later pursued a M.S. and Ph.D. in population health from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. In 2013, she joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a postdoctoral research fellow in the R25 Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer (MAGEC) training program. Dr. Warren Andersen is currently funded by a K99 Pathway to Independence Career Development Award to investigate the relationship among circulating vitamin D biomarkers, genetic variants, and colorectal cancer tumor characteristics using a trans-ethnic approach. Additionally, Dr. Warren Andersen also researches the associations between adiposity and cancer risk and how precision medicine approaches can be applied to increase smoking cessation and reduce lung cancer risk.
- Research Instructor in MedicineDivision of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Research FellowSpecialty:Hypertension, Neural Control in Cardiovascular DiseaseEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of Nebraska Medical CenterInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Ganzhou, Jiangxi Province, China
Dr. Xiao's current research focus is to understand how the sympathetic nervous system regulates the activation of adaptive immunity in hypertension. He has defined some of the key elements involved in this process, such as renal sympathetic nerves and renal dendritic cells that drive T lymphocytes activation in hypertension. There are still several unresolved issues and mechanisms, such as how the dendritic cells are activated during sympathetic activation and how the autonomic nervous system modulates the mobilization of immune cells in hypertension. Data from Dr. Xiao’s renal denervation experiments suggested that renal sympathetic nerves promote dendritic cell activation in the kidney, which mediates the effect of the central nervous system on immune activation in hypertension. His latest results showed that renal denervation not only lowers blood pressure in hypertension, but also has dramatic anti-inflammatory effects to prevent T lymphocyte infiltration in the kidney and subsequent end-organ damage in this disease. From a clinical perspective, his study gives new insight for the therapeutic renal denervation to treat hypertension. Dr. Xiao has received several awards including a New Investigator Travel Award from the High Blood Pressure Research Council and both the Pre- and Postdoctoral Caroline tum Suden/Francis Hellebrandt and Postdoctoral and Early Career Research Recognition Award from the American Physiological Society.