Opening Remarks


Susan Meyn

Director of Research Resources and Strategy

VUMC Office of Research



Susan Meyn is the director for Research Resources and Strategy in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) Office of Research.  In that role, she enables development of and access to research infrastructure and shared resources; defines and implements academic strategic plans; contributes to development of competitive research grant applications and facilitates collaborations across biomedical science disciplines.  Her team provides operational support to VUMC’s scientific cores and other academic enterprise-wide initiatives.

Susan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.; she has over 25 years of experience managing laboratories, mentoring students and trainees, and advancing biomedical research in clinical, NIH and academic settings.  Susan moved to Nashville 2001 to take a position at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) managing the research laboratory for the Director of the Vanderbilt University Center for Structure Biology, including several small core labs. Susan transitioned to research administration in the VUMC Office of Research in 2007.

Susan was raised and educated the Washington D.C. area, where she met and married her husband Paul Cain, also a D.C. native.  She enjoys books and films, gardening and bird watching, and traveling with friends and family.


Chuck Sanders, PhD

Associate Dean for Research

Lange and Lyle Chair in Cardiovascular Research

Professor of Biochemistry

Vanderbilt School of Medicine Basic Sciences

Charles (Chuck) Sanders, Associate Dean for Research, has been on the faculty of the Biochemistry Department since 2002 and is an active member of the Center for Structural Biology. Chuck’s research interests focus on the role of membrane proteins, especially with flexible or unfolded structures, in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular and neurologic disorders.

Chuck has won many awards for his research including the Hans Neurath Award of the Protein Society and the Stanley Cohen Award of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He has been a very active participant on research committees at Vanderbilt (e.g., Co-chair of TIPs Review Panel) and has served on multiple NIH study sections. He was Associate Editor of the journal, Biochemistry, from 20042015 and was interim Editor-in-Chief from 2015 to 2016.

Innovation: What it is and Why is it Hard



David Owens, MS, PhD

Evans Family Executive Director, The Wond’ry

Director, Vanderbilt Accelerator-Summer Business Institute

Professor of the Practice of Engineering and Management

Professor of the Practice of Teaching and Learning

Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences

Dave Owens is a well-established authority on innovation and new product development who has lended his expertise to Fortune 500 companies and students alike.

Consulting: Professor Owens has consulted for NASA, The Smithsonian, Nissan LEAF, Gibson Music, American Conservatory Theater, Alcatel, Tetra Pak, Tennessee Valley Authority, Cisco, LEGO, The Henry Ford Museum and many other organizations. He has done product design work for well-known firms, including Daimler Benz, Apple Computer, Dell Computer, Coleman Camping, Corning World Kitchen, Steelcase and IDEO Product Development.

Impact: Professor Owens’ work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Guardian and San Jose Mercury News, as well as on NPR's Marketplace. 

Leadership: Professor Owens currently directs the Vanderbilt University Accelerator – Summer Business Institute. He is a former director of Vanderbilt’s Executive Development Institute, now known as Vanderbilt Executive Education. 

Publications: Professor Owens’ book Creative People Must Be Stopped! Six Ways We Stop Innovation Without Even Trying has received acclaim from academics and corporate executives across the world. 

Managing the Difficult Conversation


Pamela Brown, MS

Director, Organizational Effectiveness Team

VU Human Resources

Pamela A. Brown is the Director of HR’s Learning and Organizational Development Team at Vanderbilt University, a position she assumed in September 2002.  In that role she oversees HR training and organizational development activities for the university.  She has over 30 years of professional work experience in the university setting.  In addition to 20 years as a training and organizational development director, she has extensive experience in employee engagement, performance management, adult education, curriculum development, career development and counseling.  Her expertise in these areas has resulted in the creation and implementation of leadership development programs for university staff and faculty. Her training and facilitation experience focuses on conflict resolution and communication, especially as it relates to leaders and teams.


Pam came to Vanderbilt from the University of Vermont where she was on the faculty and was Director of University Training and Development.  She began her career at UCLA as a counselor in the College of Letters and Science.


Pam has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles and a M.S. in Counseling from California State University, San Diego. She has an extensive Vanderbilt connection.  Her son, daughter-in-law and son-in-law are all Vanderbilt graduates and her husband, Bruce Compas, is a professor in the department of Psychology and Human Development.

Core Connections: Internal Services for Cores


Kendra Oliver, PhD

Website & Training Video Development

Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, VU Drug Discovery Online Program

Kendra H. Oliver, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of pharmacology, School of Medicine (Basic Sciences) and in communication of science and technology (CSET), College of Arts and Sciences. She is an experienced scientist passionate about science communication, multi-disciplinary projects, and online learning and engagement approaches. Using online learning and visualization methods, she is exploring visual science communication to support online education and science marketing approaches.


Although classically trained as a research scientist in pharmacology, she considers herself a science communication designer with skills ranging from project management, pedagogical approaches to online learning, video production, instructional design, and web design. With a foundation as a cross-disciplinary team member, she is interested in developing and utilizing these skills to produce science marketing, communication, and engagement strategies, particularly those at the intersection of art and science.


Currently she is assisting in the development of a transintitutional framework to support digital resources. The primary goal of this effort is to develop online novel programs and courses in drug discovery, a leading discipline at Vanderbilt University. This effort has culminated in the development of Drug Discovery Online (, a service core to assist Faculty with instructional design, video and audio editing services, website design, and course assessment strategies.   



Jody Hankins, PhD, MBA

What can CTTC do for Cores?

Licensing Officer, Center for Technology Transfer & Commercialization

Jody Hankins joined Vanderbilt University’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (CTTC) in October of 2012.  Now a Senior Licensing Officer, she is responsible for the intellectual property protection and out-licensing of a portfolio of life science technologies.  Her portfolio is heavily weighted toward antibodies and other biologics, a number of which she has licensed for the development of therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and research reagents.  As part of the licensing team, she evaluates the patentability and market potential of technologies, constructs financial models to determine fair financial terms for license agreements, and negotiates all aspects of intellectual property license agreements. 

Prior to joining Vanderbilt, she was introduced to tech transfer through an internship at the Office of Technology Development at the Penn State University College of Medicine in Hershey, PA, where she completed a Ph.D. in the Department of Pharmacology and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) in a dual graduate degree program.  Jody has work experience across the spectrum of translational medicine, which includes work in academic research laboratories, a contract research organization, a pharmacy, and direct patient care.  

Making your Next Project a Winner: Tools and Techniques for Project Success


Joe Rando, MBA

Director, VU Managerial Studies Program

Associate Professor, Management and Entrepreneurship

Joe Rando’s career spans over 30 years and includes work at all levels of management with Fortune 1000 companies, as well as the founding of and leadership of eary stage start-ups.  Mr. Rando has managed companies through the early years of development, during fast-paced years of explosive growth, through the challenges of acquisitions, and through the later stages of maturity, optimization, and stabilization.  

Mr. Rando has held the title of GM, SVP, COO, CEO and Founder in numerous companies in industries such as computer software, high-tech consulting, market research consulting, management consulting, insurance, manufacturing, wireless, real estate, restaurants, and retail.  As an investor in several seed capital and growth capital funds, he has advised dozens of start-ups and high growth companies through the early years of formation and high growth.  

Today, Mr. Rando is the Director of Vanderbilt’s Managerial Studies Program and is an Associate Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship.  Past and present board service consists of for-profit and non-profit boards including the Middle Tennessee YMCA in Brentwood, the TJMartell Cancer Research Foundation, the Dunkin Brands Community Foundation, the Wrigley Foodservice Advisory Board, Vanderbilt Student Media, and Learning Matters Inc.

Mr. Rando earned his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University (Biology) and his MBA from the F.W. Olin School of Business at Babson College (Finance).

Exploring Emotional Intelligence


Robert Hullett, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Manager, Workforce Development, Learning & Development,

VUMC Human Resources

Bobby Hullett serves Vanderbilt University Medical Center as the Manager of Workforce Development.  Bobby’s team is responsible for vital institutional programs such as New Staff Orientation, New Leader Orientation, and our Leader Experience Pathways Program.  The Workforce Development team focuses on broadening leadership capabilities through experiences in communication, strategic thinking, cultural emersion, and both professional and personal development opportunities.