Jennifer A. Pietenpol, Ph.D.

Professor of Biochemistry and Otolaryngology
Ingram Professor of Cancer Research
Brock Family Directorship in Career Development
Executive Vice President for Research
Chief Scientific and Strategy Officer
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Preston Research Building
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Room / Suite

Dr. Pietenpol translates scientific discoveries to health care and elevates inclusive excellence through both her research and leadership roles, including her positions as Chief Scientific and Strategy Officer, Executive Vice President for Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Chief Scientific Advisor for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and past member of the National Cancer Policy Forum and American Association for Cancer Research Board of Directors. In 2008, President Bush appointed Pietenpol to a six-year term on the National Cancer Advisory Board. Pietenpol also served as a member of the Blue Ribbon Panel, advising former Vice President Biden's National Cancer Moonshot. Currently, she serves on the advisory boards for many NCI Comprehensive Cancer Centers. Her breadth of basic and clinical research expertise and knowledge of science policy issues make her a valuable contributor to numerous public and private advisory boards. Through her cutting-edge research insights and integrative thinking to advance health and patient care, Pietenpol oversees one of the country's largest academic health system research enterprises with over $870M of sponsored research and 10% annual growth for the past seven years.  She has led a top-tier cancer center through three renewals for NCI-designated comprehensive status, launched four new institutes/centers at VUMC (2017-2023), and co-led the strategic directions for Vanderbilt University Medical Center (2016-current).

Pietenpol's research focuses on breast cancer and the p53 family signaling network. She has integrated her research expertise in tumor suppressor genes and molecular genetics with bioinformatic analysis of high dimensional genomic data sets to subtype difficult-to-treat, triple-negative breast cancer. Her lab’s research has impacted many areas of science and medicine, and she has brought her discoveries to clinical impact for breast cancer patients. The National Cancer Institute, Susan G. Komen, and the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Program fund her research. She is also deeply committed to the next generation, as evidenced by her receipt of numerous awards for her leadership involvement in training and career development.

Awards – In 1997, she received the Burroughs Wellcome New Investigator Award; she was honored with the Vanderbilt Excellence in Teaching Award (2004). She was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars (2009), received the Carleton College Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award (2011), and was the recipient of the Harvey Branscomb Distinguished Professor Award at Vanderbilt (2022). She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2012) and the American Association for Cancer Research Academy (2022).

Education, Academic Service, and Training – After graduating from Carleton College with honors in biology and as a member of Sigma Xi, Pietenpol earned a PhD in cell biology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1990. She continued her postgraduate training at Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center before returning to Vanderbilt in 1994 as an assistant professor of Biochemistry. She achieved the rank of full professor in 2002. Pietenpol has served as an associate editor for numerous biomedical research journals and authored over 160 articles in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.  She has trained more than 60 undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral and clinical fellows, and directly mentored more than 35 early-career faculty members.