Please get to know new faculty who have joined the Department of Medicine within the last six months.
- Assistant Professor of Clinical MedicineDivision of:DermatologyPrevious Institution:Meharry Medical CollegePrevious Role/Title:Assistant Professor of MedicineSpecialty:Dermatology/Pediatric DermatologyEducation/Training:M.D. - The University of South Florida College of MedicineB.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 Professor of MedicineDivision of:Genetic MedicinePrevious Institution:University of Texas, School of Biomedical Informatics, Center for Precision HealthPrevious Role/Title:Assistant ProfessorSpecialty:Genetic Variant Assessment and ReportingEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of ChicagoInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Berkley, CA
Dr. Below is interested in developing and applying computational methodologies to further our understanding of the genetic basis of human disease. Recently, her efforts have focused on three areas: She has solved the problem of maximal unrelated set identification in arbitrarily large genetic datasets using a novel application of graph theory, and she is currently tackling the reverse problem of reconstructing pedigrees from estimates of genomic sharing. She is expanding this work to genetically heterogeneous and admixed populations. She has also worked through the Center for Mendelian Genomics to develop and apply methods to identify the genetic cause of Mendelian diseases using high-density next generation sequence data. Using linkage analysis in complex pedigrees and whole genome sequence data, she recently uncovered the genetic cause of several Mendelian disorders including a cranio-facial abnormality and a skeletal dysplasia. Dr. Below studies the genetics of complex traits. She works with the T2D-GENES Consortium, and specifically with the Starr County Mexican American population, to uncover novel susceptibility factors for type 2 diabetes and related complications.
- 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.B.A. - Auburn University School of BusinessM.D. - St. George's University School of MedicineInterests/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.
- Division of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Assistant Professor of MedicineSpecialty:General Internal MedicineEducation/Training:M.D. - The George Washington University School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Morrisville, PA
Dr. Cottrell joined the Vanderbilt faculty in the division of General Internal Medicine in the spring of 2017. Prior to this, he worked as a Clinician-Educator at Boston Medical Center, and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. He has an interest in medical education as well as electronic medical records. He is originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. He attended college at Boston University, medical school at George Washington University School of Medicine, and completed his residency training in Primary Care – Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Health System in Philadelphia, PA. His wife is an anesthesiologist, and when not working, they enjoy hikes with their greyhound dogs, barbecues, movies and theater.
- Division of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Workwell Medical GroupPrevious Role/Title:Staff PhysicianSpecialty:Family MedicineEducation/Training:M.D. - University of AlabamaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Uzice, Yugoslavia
Dr. Aleksandra Frye is a board-certified family physician with 14 years of experience in primary care, emergency medicine, and urgent care. She arrived in Shelbyville, Tennessee, in 1991 as an exchange student from former Yugoslavia. She was fortunate to receive a Presidential Scholarship and complete her undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry at Judson College in Marion, Alabama. In 1999, she earned her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham. She was awarded the Family Medicine Award and the Obstetrics and Gynecology Award for the Tuscaloosa campus. After completing her family medicine residency in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and being a part of a military family, she started on a cross-country adventure which led her to work in emergency rooms, urgent care, and occupational medicine clinics, as well as primary care clinics, in four different states (Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois, and California). She is very happy to be back in the South and to settle in the hospitable Nashville area.
- Division of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Brigham and Women's HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Associate Director EP Laboratory, Director Arrhythmia ResearchSpecialty:Cardiology and Clinical Cardiac ElectrophysiologyInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Concord, MA
Dr. John's special interests include management of complex arrhythmias including atrial and ventricular arrhythmias and arrhythmias in adult congenital heart disease. In addition, he has a large volume of experience with cardiac arrhythmia management devices with special focus on cardiac synchronization therapy for heart failure and His bundle pacing. Research interests include development of novel ablation techniques for arrhythmias, voltage-based ablations for atrial arrhythmias, and targeted biopsy of ventricular myocardium based on imaging. Dr. John established clinical EP services at the West Roxbury VA Medical Center, Boston and Lahey Clinic Medical Center, Burlington, Massachusetts. At the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, he expanded the complex ablation procedures for atrial and ventricular arrhythmias including provision of arrhythmia management for adults with congenital heart disease. Dr. John was the point electrophysiologist for the Cardiac Amyloidosis Program and has gained substantial experience with management of atrial and ventricular arrhythmias and device management of patients with cardiac amyloidosis.
- Division of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Washington University School of MedicinePrevious Role/Title:Associate Professor of MedicineCo-Director, Center for Valvular Heart DiseaseSpecialty:Valvular heart diseaseEducation/Training:M.D. - Vanderbilt School of MedicineM.S.C.I. - Washington University School of MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Pompano Beach, FL
Dr. Lindman spends most of his time on numerous clinical and translational research projects on calcific aortic stenosis. His group uses sophisticated imaging techniques and a biobank of specimens to elucidate the pathobiology of aortic stenosis and the effects of pressure overload on the left ventricle and pulmonary vasculature. He has a particular interest in how diabetes affects these processes and aims to identify novel targets for adjunctive medical therapy to improve clinical outcomes in patients with aortic stenosis. He is an integral member of his institution’s heart valve team, evaluating patients clinically and performing the transesophageal echocardiograms for transcatheter valve procedures. Dr. Lindman is a member of several writing groups for the American College of Cardiology (ACC), including the Appropriate Use Criteria for Aortic Stenosis and a clinical policy document on advanced valve centers. By participating in these national efforts, he seeks to play a role in shaping new systems of care for patients with valve disease that improve patient-centered outcomes. Dr. Lindman is on the editorial boards for leading cardiovascular journals, including JACC and Circulation, and actively publishes original research manuscripts in these and other journals. He has been the recipient of numerous government, foundation, and industry grants, including an NIH K23 Career Development Award and a Doris Duke Clinical Scientist Development Award. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 3 daughters.
- Research Instructor in MedicineDivision of:Infectious DiseasesPrevious Institution:VUMC, Division of Vascular SurgeryPrevious Role/Title:Research InstructorSpecialty:Cell Biology, Molecular BiologyEducation/Training:Ph.D. - Institute of VirologyInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Shangshui, Henan, China
Dr. Luo’s research interest is to investigate the immune mechanisms associated with the progression of pulmonary fibrosis, and to seek immunotherapeutic method to block the development pulmonary fibrosis. Previous works in Dr. Drake lab demonstrate PD-1+ CD4+ T cells with reduced proliferative capacity and increased TGF-ß/Il-17A expression play a critical role in the development of human pulmonary fibrosis. Dr. Luo’s current research is to use mouse as a model to investigate the immunopathological mechanisms underlying the development of sarcoidosis, and to see if blockade of PD-1 signaling pathway could prevent the development of sarcoidosis.
- Division of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Brigham and Women's HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Director, Center for the Advanced Management of Atrial FibrillationSpecialty:Cardiac ElectrophysiologyEducation/Training:M.D. - University of MarylandInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Baltimore, MD
Dr. Michaud began his academic career at the University of Michigan by investigating pacing maneuvers that allow easy diagnosis of arrhythmias in the setting of catheter ablation for supraventricular tachycardia. He has since broadened this approach to assist ablation operators in more complex arrhythmia cases and is credited with at least four separate pacing maneuvers that are now part of core testing during specialty board examinations for cardiac electrophysiology. As Director of the Center for the Advanced Management of Atrial Fibrillation at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Dr. Michaud played a pivotal role in developing better ablation strategies for the treatment of atrial fibrillation, which is the most common arrhythmia requiring hospitalization. These methods involve assessing and improving the quality of radiofrequency ablation lesions, the result of which improves procedure success by making pulmonary vein isolation more durable. He is currently working on strategies to optimize lesion delivery by varying the amount of coolant delivered through the tip of the ablation catheter. Dr. Michaud has spoken at national and international academic conferences on his work in arrhythmia diagnosis and treatment and has authored or co-authored numerous manuscripts. He is currently Co-Director of the Heart Rhythm Society board review course for cardiac electrophysiology. As Chief of the Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Dr. Michaud hopes to create a clinical and research center focused on a comprehensive approach to understanding and managing complex arrhythmias.
- Division of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Community Quick CarePrevious Role/Title:Primary Care Clinician/FNPSpecialty:Primary CareEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Belmont UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil
Originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil Taina came to the United States on a volleyball scholarship. After living in South Dakota for 2 years, she moved to Tennessee to purse a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Trevecca Nazarene University. Taina started working as a RN in a hospital in Gallatin, TN. Due to her interest in caring for patients with chronic illnesses, she went on to receive her Master of Science in Nursing (Family Nurse Practitoner) degree from Belmont University. Before joining the Vanderbilt team, Taina worked as a Nurse Practitioner in a Primary Care/ Walk-in clinic. She is fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish, and currently lives in Nashville with her Argentinian husband Alex and their dog Luna. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, playing volleyball, and cooking. Taina is very excited about her position and looks forward to being part of the Vanderbilt team.
- Associate Professor of MedicineDivision of:Genetic MedicinePrevious Institution:H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research InstitutePrevious Role/Title:Associate Member with TenureSpecialty:Inherited Cancer PredispositionEducation/Training:M.D. - McGill UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Dr. Pal’s research interests have consistently focused on epidemiological studies of inherited cancer predisposition. Her research has spanned the continuum of cancer prevention and control, with evaluations of genetic etiology, cancer risks, and outcomes, including efforts among underserved populations. She has also evaluated the care delivery of genetic services, including identification, access, utilization, quality of care, and follow-up care. Her efforts among underserved ethnically and racially diverse populations of young women with breast cancer have focused on both the prevention and control of cancer, as well as care delivery, including development of educational and outreach efforts to enhance awareness about inherited breast cancer. Dr. Pal created the Inherited Cancer Registry (ICARE) initiative. This is an academic-community partnership providing outreach and education at both the patient and provider level. This effort has resulted in tremendous growth of the research registry, with recruitment of over 2,000 high-risk participants including more than 1,000 BRCA carriers.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Team Health/Maury RegionalPrevious Role/Title:Physician AssistantSpecialty:Hospital MedicineEducation/Training:M.B.A. - Lincoln Memorial UniversityInterests/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 in MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Nurse Practitioner, Lung TransplantSpecialty:Acute Care, Transplantation, PulmonaryEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Cincinnati, OH
Research interests include critical care oncology, quality of life measures, survivorship, and integrative health.
- Research Instructor in MedicineDivision of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Research FellowSpecialty:Proteomic Analysis, NMR, EPR, Mass SpectrometryEducation/Training:Ph.D. - University of Sciences and TechnologyInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Xuancheng, Anhui, China
Dr. Peng's research interests include using modern biochemical and biophysical methods to understand the conformational dynamics and function of membrane proteins, especially under disease conditions. His research results have created a better understanding of the structure and dynamics of voltage sensor domain of KCNQ1 and have defined the role of a non-inherited mutation in the dopamine transporter that leads to autism, using homologous protein, LeuT. Dr. Peng's achievements and contribution to the field were recognized by the Biophysical Society in "biophysicist in profile" in the Biophysical Society Newsletter in April, 2015. After joining the Division of Hypertension, Dr. Peng's undertook studies in translational research related to hypertension and heart failure. He's using modern biochemistry and biophysical approaches, including but not limited to mass spectrometry, NMR, EPR and proteomic analysis, to assess sodium channel, sodium chloride co-transporter's structure and function. His study is targeted to novel biomarkers and to gain insight for the therapeutic methods to treat hypertension.
- Division of:Gastroenterology, Hepatology and NutritionPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:MICU Staff RNSpecialty:GastroenterologyEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Columbia, TN
Maria obtained a bachelor’s degree in biology from Pace University in New York, followed by an associate degree in nursing. After 13 years of being a staff RN (three of those as a charge nurse in a transitional care unit and the remainder as an acute care nurse), she decided to return to school to complete her master’s degree as a nurse practitioner at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. She faced this endeavor head-on and completed her degree as a single parent of two teenagers while working full time in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt. She has been very fortunate to take part in numerous published research projects as an RN in the MICU, most of them related to pulmonary medicine and medication protocols. She hopes to continue to be an active part of the research community at Vanderbilt. She has been a resource nurse, as well as a preceptor to new nurses and nursing students rotating through the MICU. She is an avid salsa dancer, practices yoga and spin, and enjoys traveling all over the world.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care MedicinePrevious Institution:Asthma and Allergy Medicine, P.C.Previous Role/Title:Family Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:Nursing for asthma and allergy medicineEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Tennessee State UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Difficult, TN
Lori Russell is an Assistant in Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine. She primarily functions as a Nurse Practitioner for the Vanderbilt Asthma, Sinus, and Allergy clinics. She is a certified Nurse Practitioner and Registered Nurse in the State of Tennessee and is also credentialed as a Family Nurse Practitioner by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center. She is trained in basic life support for healthcare providers. Ms. Russell received her baccalaureate degree in nursing from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 1988 and went on to earn her master's degree in nursing from Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2014. Ms. Russell has served as a nurse in several local hospital and medical center settings, gaining experience in post-operative care, chronic patient care, assisting patients (including elderly patients) in meeting the challenges of daily functions, instructing family members, assessment of adult and pediatric patients, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological management and treatment of various disorders and diseases. Ms. Russell has precepted under experienced NPs and other health professionals in pediatrics, adult health, and women’s health. She has been inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and the Golden Key International Honor Society.
- Instructor in Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Care Spot Urgent CarePrevious Role/Title:Supervising PhysicianSpecialty:Family MedicineEducation/Training:M.D. - Wake Forest University School of 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.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Emory Winship Cancer InstitutePrevious Role/Title:Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Social WorkerSpecialty:Licensed Clinical Social WorkEducation/Training:M.S. - University of GeorgiaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Rockville, MD
Ali Schaffer, LCSW, is the manager of Patient and Family-Centered Care at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC). In this role, she oversees the management of the Patient and Family Resource Center that develops patient and family-centered programs and actively serves on multiple VICC and Vanderbilt committees. Additionally, Ali collaborates with medical professionals and local and national organizations to plan and implement educational programs for people impacted by cancer. Ali graduated with a BA in psychology from Emory University and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Georgia. Prior to her current role, she was the social worker in the REACH for Survivorship Clinic at Vanderbilt providing psychosocial support to both pediatric and adult cancer survivors and their families. Additional clinical social work experiences include working in both inpatient and outpatient oncology care settings as well as in community-based oncology support. Her special interests include increasing patient and caregiver education within the healthcare setting and addressing the psychosocial needs of people living with cancer through creative and interactive programming.
- 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.
- Division of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:St. Thomas WestPrevious Role/Title:Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:SurgeryEducation/Training:M.S.N. - University of AlabamaB.S.N., University of Alabama, Huntsville, AlabamaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Huntsville, AL
Ms. Truett has experience in general and vascular surgery, trauma, and critical care. In her current position she helped to facilitate the transition of the new residency program to the surgery service. She also enjoys medical mission trips to Guatemala to work in mobile clinics to see the local people in rural areas. When not working, Ms. Truett enjoys running and reading. She has completed several half marathons and is planning to train for a full marathon. She most recently raised money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital for their annual half marathon in Memphis, TN.
- Division of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Maury Regional Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:HospitalistSpecialty:Hospital MedicineEducation/Training:M.D. - University of MissouriInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Sikeston, MO
Dr. Chris Turner recently joined the Vanderbilt faculty in the Division of Hospital Medicine. His focus is on clinical medicine with a broader interest in process improvement, population health, and utilization management. After growing up in Sikeston, Missouri, he completed medical school and residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. His wife, Jennifer, stays home with their two-year-old twin boys, Connor and Chase. When away from work, he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, watching sports, running, and considers himself a “foodie.”
- Assistant Professor of Clinical MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Brown UniversityPrevious Role/Title:HospitalistSpecialty:Internal MedicineEducation/Training:M.D. - State University of New YorkInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Buffalo, NY
Dr. Van Klein completed his medical degree at the University at Buffalo and went on to complete his residency in internal medicine at Brown University. He worked as an academic hospitalist at Brown, intermittently attending on the inpatient internal medicine resident service. His academic interests are resident and medical student clinical education, multidisciplinary hospital teamwork, and patient experience. Outside of work, he enjoys photography and travel, both of which have taken him to a number of interesting locations.
- Division of:Clinical PharmacologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Research ScientistSpecialty:Ion Channel BiologyEducation/Training:M.D. - Xinjiang Medical UniversityPh.D. - Shanghai Institute of NeuroscienceInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Aksu, Xinjian, China
Dr. Yang received an MD degree from Xinjiang Medical University in 1983 and his PhD from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1998. He was a faculty member in Neurobiology at Xinjiang Medical University before coming to Vanderbilt as a Fellow in Clinical Pharmacology from 2000-2003. He was subsequently appointed as a Research Instructor, based on his extraordinary talents. His current research focuses on investigating the effects of wild-type and mutant atrial natriuretic peptide oligomers on mitochondrial function, electrophysiologic properties, and intracellular calcium homeostasis of atrial cardiomyocytes. To examine mitochondrial function, his work will involve bioenergetic profiling of atrial cells performed using extracellular flux analysis (Seahorse). He will also examine the effects of oligomers on atrial action potentials and ionic currents in native cardiomyocytes, as well as currents derived from heterologous expression of human ion channel isoforms.
- Research Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:Diabetes, Endocrinology, and MetabolismPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Postdoctoral FellowSpecialty:Lipid metabolism, Insulin resistance, ArtherosclerosisEducation/Training:M.D. - Tianjin Medical UniversityPh.D. - University of Guelph CanadaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Tianjin, China
Dr. Zhu’s research interest is to understand the relationship between energy homeostasis and inflammation, which might be a foundational mechanism for insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, and atherosclerosis. Her research focuses on the use of mouse disease models to identify mechanisms that underlie insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. She aims to define fundamental principles of how to improve HDL function for patients with type-2 diabetes to reduce cardiovascular disease. During Dr. Zhu’s graduate studies, she studied the regulation of PCYT2, a rate-limiting enzyme for phospholipid synthesis, at transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. This work resulted in seven publications with four of them as the first author. During her training as a postdoctoral fellow in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt, Dr. Zhu demonstrated that LRP1-deficient macrophages caused inflammatory responses in the artery walls due to the impaired ability of foam cells to clear the plaque. In another high-impact project, she found that anti-inflammatory macrophages promoted cholesterol reverse transport and macrophage migration out of artery walls, leading to atherosclerosis regression. This novel discovery may set up a platform to develop therapeutic policies to prevent cardiovascular events. During her training in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism at Vanderbilt, Dr. Zhu showed that deletion of liver estrogen receptor alpha led to lipid accumulation in the liver and caused whole body insulin resistance. One of her ongoing projects shows that a clinically used CETP inhibitor increases HDL cholesterol; however, it also increases inflammatory responses and causes insulin resistance in obese mice. This study may explain the reason why clinical trials using CETP inhibitors have failed to prevent cardiovascular disease.
- Associate in MedicineDivision of:Infectious DiseasesPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt Dept of PhychiatryPrevious Role/Title:APRN, BC, PMHNP (Psychiatric and Mental Health Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:PsychiatryEducation/Training:M.S.N., Psychiatric Mental Health, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TennesseeB.S.N., Nursing, Belmont University, Nashville, TennesseeInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Dyersburg, TN
Mr. Adams has practiced as a psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner at the Comprehensive Care Clinic since January of 2002. His area of interest is in psychosomatic medicine with a focus on the treatment of co-morbid psychiatric illness among individuals living with HIV/AIDS. Mr. Adams' academic appointments have included Instructor in Clinical Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (January 2002 to September 2010) and Associate in Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (September 2010 to present). He has served as a participator in the Antiretroviral Therapy Case Conference of the Comprehensive Care Clinic (since January 2002) to address psychiatric/mental health issues as they relate to the clinical cases presented. Mr. Adams has served as a guest lecturer for the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and the Southeast AIDS Education and Training Center (SEAETC) at Vanderbilt, regarding "Adherence and Mental Health Issues in the Treatment of HIV/AIDS.” He has also served as a clinical preceptor for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner students at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (October 2011 to August 2015).
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Henry Ford Health SystemPrevious Role/Title:Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:Hematology/OncologyEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Madonna UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Hendersonville, TN
In this country we have a hard time making decisions on our healthcare directives. We need to make people aware that it is "ok" to discuss end-of-life decisions along with our healthcare needs in an emergency. Discussing and appointing an advocate can bring a person's treatment in line with their wishes. We need to make the public aware of what an advanced directive can do for them and make it so people are not afraid to discuss these issues. Audrey helped build a program to identify the disparity between the way people die and the way they state they want to die, recognizing the lack of patient family perspective in decision-making. Barriers were identified along with ethical considerations and principles.
- 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.
- Division of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:St. Thomas West HospitalPrevious Role/Title:Acute Care Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:Advanced Heart FailureEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Montgomery, AL
Whitney is interested in research involving advanced heart failure therapies and new treatment options including mechanical, surgical, and pharmacological. She would like to take an active part in any research trials or studies regarding this specific patient population. She is interested in working with lower income and underprivileged populations and would like to be involved in any medical mission trips or events that serve those without access to good medical care. She initially went into the medical field to join an overseas organization working with refugees; however, since working as an NP, she has realized that her passion is working with the CHF patient population and has committed her professional life to this cause. She graduated the NP bridge program at Vanderbilt University and has over two years of experience working with the advanced heart failure patients at St. Thomas West Hospital. She plans to take an active role in the LVAD/Heart Transplant Program at Vanderbilt and help grow the program and provide the best possible care to this special patient population.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:RNSpecialty:Hospital MedicineEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Birmingham, AL
Erin Campbell pursued nursing as a second career after teaching dance for over ten years. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Belmont University in Nashville through the accelerated program of study in 2010. Upon graduation, she was accepted into Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Nurse Residency Program in the Medicine track. After working as a Registered Nurse with the Internal Medicine team, specializing in Geriatrics for two years, she was accepted into Vanderbilt University School of Nursing to pursue a Master’s Degree in the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty, graduating in 2016. Away from work she enjoys spending time with her husband and children. She is excited to join the Department of Medicine as a Nurse Practitioner with the Scoville service and in the observation unit.
- 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 MedicineB.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:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:Middle Tennessee Vascular, Williamson Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Physician AssistantSpecialty:Education/Training:M.S. - Trevecca Nazarene UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Wellington, FL
Diagnosed with lymphoma while attending the US Military Academy at West Point, Mr. Figueroa underwent chemotherapy, radiation and ultimately three stem cell transplants over the course of seven years before attaining a long-lasting remission. Fascinated and inspired by his experiences, he left a career as a civil engineer to study medicine. He now draws upon his experiences as a cancer patient to deliver a unique degree of compassion in the care of his patients. He is dedicated to carrying on the tradition of world-class care, the same care from which he benefited so greatly. Aside from his achievements in medicine, Mr. Figueroa is an instrument-rated pilot and enjoys public speaking. Of note, he has been a guest lecturer at West Point on the topics of resilience and perseverance and has spoken to members of the special operations community at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on the topic of courage in the face of adversity.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Centegra Physician CarePrevious Role/Title:Physician AssistantSpecialty:Hospital MedicineInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Chicago, IL
Sharin Gabl returned to school in 1997 after a 20-year career in mortgage banking. Her passion has always been medicine, putting together the puzzle of disease and developing a plan for recovery and wellness. After earning her Bachelor in Science from Northern Illinois University, she went on to earn her Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, Illinois. Most of her 14-year career as a physician assistant has been spent in private practice in the northwest suburbs of Chicago as a primary care PA. Sharin has two boys. Jason Gabl, graduated with his master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering and is now working in the Zukrow Lab at Purdue University in West Lafayette Indiana, as a Senior Research Engineer. Robert Grant is a Senior Financial Analyst with Ally Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is married and has a growing family. In an effort to be closer to both of her boys, Sharin sought to move to the Nashville area. Here she is a car ride away for long weekends with each of them. Sharin, her husband Phil, her three dogs, Roxie, Sona, and Rizzo, along with Clark the cat, moved to the Nashville area shortly before beginning work with Vanderbilt on February 1, 2017. She looks forward to this new chapter of both her personal and professional life.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:St. Thomas Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Nurse Practitioner, heart Failure TeamSpecialty:Adult-Gero Acute Care Nurse PractitionerEducation/Training:M.S.N. - University of AlabamaInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Athens, AL
Mr. Gant had the opportunity to work with many subspecialties in cardiology, and he has always found himself naturally attracted to heart failure. He is fascinated by hemodynamics and the ways in which technology has advanced our ability to care for these patients. He is truly excited and blessed to have this opportunity to join Vanderbilt’s renowned Advanced Heart Failure Program.
- Division of:Geriatric Medicine GroupPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University & Gentiva Palliative and Hospice CarePrevious Role/Title:Registered Nurse, Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:GeriatricsEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Apex, NC
Mattie Godfrey recently joined the Vanderbilt faculty in the Division of Geriatric Medicine. Her passion has always been to serve, especially those in the geriatric population. After participating in several medical mission trips to the Dominican Republic, which included working in several skilled nursing facilities, she decided to go to school to obtain her BSN. After completing her degree at Appalachian State University, Mattie moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to complete the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Nurse Residency Program. Following the completion of her residency, she began her career on the Acute Care of the Elderly (ACE) Unit. Over time, while working on the ACE unit, Mattie decided to pursue a master’s degree through the Vanderbilt University Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program. She is very excited for the opportunity to be a part of the Vanderbilt team, focusing on the specialized needs of the geriatric population. When away from work, she enjoys traveling, playing intramural kickball, exercising her skills as a novice foodie, and spending time with friends and family.
- Division of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:VA Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Advanced Heart Failure Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:Acute Care Nurse PractitionerEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Manchester, KY
Amy is a member of American Association of Hearth Failure Nurses and became a Certified Heart Failure Nurse in 2014. She has been working as an Advanced Heart Failure Nurse Practitioner for the past 6 years and has a special interest in improving quality of life and overall outcomes for heart failure patients. Her research interests include biomarkers and other diagnostic testing, as well as new devices and therapies for management of heart failure.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:General Internal Medicine and Public HealthPrevious Institution:Premise HealthPrevious Role/Title:Occupational Health Nurse/ER Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:Occupational Health/EREducation/Training:M.S.N. - Vanderbilt University School of NursingInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Hendersonville, TN
Candace Humes worked as critical care nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the late 90s, where she received her ACNP. She then wanted to travel the US as a traveling nurse and went to Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Hawaii, and Vail, Colorado. In late 2004, she settled in Boca Raton, Florida. She worked in an emergency room as an RN then transitioned to an NP role in the ER after gaining experience as an NP working for an internal medicine practice in geriatrics. After proving herself with per diem shifts in the ER, she was granted full-time status as an NP at West Boca Medical Center. There she gained valuable knowledge of diagnosis, treatment, and procedures involving a variety of medical conditions. After marrying and having twins, the decision was made to move home to Tennessee to be close to family in late 2013. After accepting a position at Nissan Smyrna with Premise Health, she learned the occupational health field but also kept assessing and treating acute illnesses (sometimes life threatening) as needed in the plant. She missed the hospital setting and always knew she wanted to advance her career by rejoining Vanderbilt. She is very excited to accept a position with the Department of Medicine and is looking forward to her future career with Vanderbilt.
- 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. - DeSales UniversityB.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 UniversityB.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.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:KindredPrevious Role/Title:Nurse PractitionerSpecialty:FamilyEducation/Training:M.S.N. - Belmont UniversityB.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.
- Division of:Cardiovascular MedicinePrevious Institution:Lexington Cardiology at Central BaptistPrevious Role/Title:Physician AssistantSpecialty:CardiologyEducation/Training:M.S. - University of KentuckyInterests/Achievements:Hometown:Greenup, KY
Timothy has interests in research and new technology revolving around cardiac care and treatment. He enjoys working in a team-based, patient-centered care environment. His general interests include time spent with family and friends, traveling, and nearly any outdoor activities - specifically hiking, biking, and jogging. He also loves to discover new dining opportunities with his wife. His achievements include multiple semesters during undergraduate and graduate studies on dean's and scholar's lists, president of the Joseph Hamburg Student Society for the UKPA Class of 2015, and recently receiving an excellence award for 100% compliance in billing and coding within the first year of employment for Baptist Health Lexington.
- Assistant in MedicineDivision of:Hematology/OncologyPrevious Institution:General PracticePrevious Role/Title:Primary Care Physician AssistantSpecialty:Tumor AngiogenesisEducation/Training:M.S., Physician Assistant Studies, Christian Brothers University, Memphis, TennesseeM.S., Biomolecular Science, David Lipscomb University, Nashville, TennesseeInterests/Achievements:Hometown:White House, TN
Samantha is a Certified Physician Assistant who received her training from Christian Brothers University (CBU) in Memphis, Tennessee, with an interest in hemolytic malignancy. Prior to her PA education, she received her master’s in biomolecular science from Lipscomb University in Nashville. There she studied under a reputable principle investigator focusing on the maintenance of tumor progression by manipulating the extracellular environment. She published in the fall of 2011 and began to work with the Vanderbilt Department of Biochemistry to unveil the sequence of a small peptide responsible for promoting tumor angiogenesis. After graduating from CBU, she spent time as a primary care provider predominantly managing a geriatric patient population in Smyrna, Tennessee. Her time there also allowed her to continue her educational study into nutritional chemistry at a cellular level, as well as autonomic nervous system dysfunction. Samantha places the highest emphasis on patient education and framing patient expectations with a true understanding of the patient’s prognosis. She believes that open communication from a multi-disciplinary team approach is the key to treating pathology, and she strives to diligently implement evidence-based medicine into clinical practice.
- 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. - University of Wisconsin School of MedicineM.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 Assistant Professor of MedicineDivision of:EpidemiologyPrevious Institution:Vanderbilt University Medical CenterPrevious Role/Title:Senior Staff ScientistSpecialty:Education/Training:M.D. - Fudan UniverstiyM.P.H. - Nantong UniversityInterests/Achievements:Hometown:China
Dr. Zhu has been very actively and productively involved in conducting epidemiologic studies of chronic diseases for 26 years. Her research interests include individual level and population level prevention of cancer, including understanding the interaction between environmental factors (intakes of magnesium, calcium, etc.) and genetic variations in the etiology of chronic diseases, particularly colorectal cancer. Dr. Zhu also conducts molecular epidemiologic studies to understand the underlying mechanisms for the associations. She has played a critical role in a number of human cancer studies funded by the National Cancer Institute as well as in epidemiologic studies of chronic disease conducted in China. She has authored or co-authored 56 peer-reviewed papers and has been invited to write chapters for eight books related to epidemiology. Since 2009, Dr. Zhu has worked at VUMC, and her current research focus is to identify and investigate nutrient-nutrient (e.g., magnesium, calcium) and gene-nutrition interactions in the etiology of colorectal cancer and to subsequently develop personalized prevention strategies. In a two-phase R01 study, Dr. Zhu identified and replicated several gene-nutrient interactions in relation to risk of both colorectal adenoma and hyperplastic polyps. These findings lay a foundation for the development of new precision prevention strategies for colorectal cancer among high-risk populations. In the Personalized Prevention of Colorectal Cancer Trial (R01 CA149633, PI: Qi Dai), Dr. Zhu plays a critical role including coordination, data management, data analysis, data reporting, and manuscript development. She has also obtained research funding as a PI.