Director

  • David Aronoff, MD, FIDSA

    Director, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center

    Medical Center North
    1161 21ST Avenue South
    Room / Suite
    A2200
    Nashville
    37232-2372
    Phone
    (615) 322-8972
    Fax
    (615) 322-3171

    David M. Aronoff, MD received his undergraduate degree in Microbiology from Indiana University and obtained his Medical Degree at Tufts University in Boston. He completed internship and residency training, including a year as Chief Resident, in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Aronoff stayed at Vanderbilt to complete a clinical fellowship in Infectious Diseases and a research fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology. He then joined the faculty in Infectious Diseases at the University of Michigan where he also completed a research postdoctoral fellowship in Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Aronoff remained at the University of Michigan until 2013, rising to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology. He returned to Vanderbilt in October, 2013 as Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine with a secondary faculty appointment in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, & Immunology. Dr. Aronoff’s lab studies reproductive immunology with a focus on infections that complicate pregnancy. He has received numerous governmental and non-governmental research grants, including support from the National Institutes of Health, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and the Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity & Stillbirth (GAPPS). Dr. Aronoff has trained numerous graduate students and postgraduate fellows. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and serves an Associate Editor for The Journal of Immunology.

Associate Directors

  • Muktar Aliyu, MD, DrPH

    Associate Director of Global Health
    Associate Professor of Health Policy and Medicine
    Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health
    Associate Director for Research
    Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health

    2525 West End Avenue
    Room / Suite
    Suite 750
    Nashville
    37203
    Phone
    (615) 343-0626

    Muktar Aliyu is Associate Professor of Health Policy and Medicine and Associate Director for Research with the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. Dr. Aliyu attended medical school at the Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria and completed graduate training in public health at the George Washington University (MPH ‘02) and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (DrPH ’05). He joined Vanderbilt University after completing residency and fellowship training at Meharry Medical College and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. His research interests are in adverse birth outcomes associated with maternal lifestyle-related factors (cigarette smoking, alcohol use, weight gain) and with infectious diseases in resource-limited settings (HIV/AIDS, malaria). He is a principal investigator on research and training grants from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Meharry Medical College Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Mayo Foundation’s William H.J. Summerskill Award for Outstanding Research Achievement, and the American College of Preventive Medicine’s William Kane ‘Rising Star’ award, among others. Dr. Aliyu is board-certified in General Preventive Medicine & Public Health and is a Fellow of the American College of Preventive Medicine.

  • Katherine Hartmann, MD, PhD

    Associate Director of Epidemiology
    Director, Women´s Health Research
    Deputy Director
    Institute for Medicine and Public Health
    Director
    Vanderbilt AHRQ Evidence-based Practice Center
    Lucius E. Burch Chair in Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Office Address
    2525 West End Avenue
    Room / Suite
    Suite 600
    Nashville
    37203-1738
    Phone
    615-343-4196

    Dr. Hartmann is one of only a handful of researchers in the world who leads a study platform focused on early pregnancy  She continues to lead three National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research projects.  Two of these grants support Right from the Start, a study she leads that has been continuously enrolling participants since 2000 and now includes more than 5,000 completed pregnancies.  This groundbreaking study is focused on how events around the time of conception and in early pregnancy influence adverse pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriage, poor fetal growth, and preterm birth.  The third grant investigates the relationship between subclinical thyroid disease and risk of stroke and heart attack in post-menopausal women who were participants in the NIH Women’s Health Initiative study.

    Dr. Hartmann remains dedicated to fostering the career development of talented new investigators by serving as the program director for the NIH Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health K12 grant, which funds five junior faculty as they transition to independently directing and funding their own portfolios of rigorous research focused on women’s health or gender biology.  She thrives on the energy, excitement, and challenges of building their academic productivity and leadership skills while helping them develop a "voice" within their profession. 

  • Frederick Haselton, PhD

    Associate Director of Innovation
    Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering
    Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

    5932-B Stevenson Center
    VU Mailbox: VU Station B - 351510
    Phone
    615-322-6622

    Seek to develop technologies for diagnostic and research applications at the nano and molecular level using both in vitro and in vivo systems; Lab has a strong collaborative and experimental focus. We are working to develop novel rapid diagnostic tests to detect medical complications of pregnancy before adverse outcomes occur.

  • Jeff Reese, MD

    Associate Director of Laboratory Research
    Depts. of Pediatrics, Cell and Developmental Biology

    Office Address
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    2215 B Garland Ave
    Room / Suite
    1135 Light Hall, MRB IV Bldg.
    Nashville
    37232
    Phone
    (615) 322-8643
    Lab Phone
    (615) 343-7475
    Fax
    (615) 343-6182

    Our laboratory is interested in the molecular mechanisms of embryo implantation and other aspects of reproduction. In particular, we are focused on the contribution of prostaglandins and other eicosanoids to the reproductive process. Prostaglandins are key molecules in ovulation, fertilization, implantation, decidualization, and overall control of the parturition process. I have an extended research background in reproductive biology and the role of prostaglandins in reproduction and fetal vascular development. We use Cox1, Cox2, cPLA2, prostaglandin receptor knockout mice, and other transgenic or pharmacologic models of prostaglandin deficiency. Our collaborative studies on the role of prostaglandins in cancer, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular homeostasis and neurobehavioral function reflect our broad-based approach to studies on prostaglandin biology.

  • JuLeigh Petty, PhD

    Senior Lecturer and Assistant Director
    Center for Medicine, Health, and Society

    Calhoun Hall
    Room / Suite
    300
    Phone
    (615) 343-0916

    JuLeigh Petty, PhD, is Senior Lecturer and Assistant Director of the Center for Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University. Her research and teaching interests include HIV/AIDS, medical education, and the regulation of medicine. More specifically, her recent work examines ways to instruct pre-medical students in the social foundations of health.

Assistant Directors

  • Jennifer Herington, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology

    Light Hall/MRB IV Bldg
    Room / Suite
    1135
    Phone
    615-322-9548

    Jennifer Herington received her PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Systemic Physiology at Southern Illinois University in 2009. Her background involves training in reproductive physiology focused on understanding the endometrial changes necessary for successful onset and maintenance of pregnancy, inflammation-driven dysfunctional endometrial phenotypes and perinatal development. Her expertise includes embryo implantation, as well as uterine myometrial and cervical physiology during pregnancy and labor. Her laboratory is focused on the discovery of novel regulators of uterine contractility with therapeutic applications for the prevention of preterm labor, labor induction and control of postpartum hemorrhage. Her research has led to the development of high-throughput assays for screening small-compound libraries, and in vivo tools for pre-clinical testing of promising therapeutic regulators of uterine contractility. She is the recipient of a Vanderbilt Faculty Research Scholar Award and is the principle investigator of grants funded by the National Institute of Health and AMAG Pharmaceuticals.

  • Jennifer Thompson, MD

    Assistant Professor
    Obstetrics and Gynecology, Maternal-Fetal Medicine

    Office Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave South
    Room / Suite
    B-1100
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232
    Phone
    615-343-6275

    Jennifer Thompson, MD is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  Dr. Thompson received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University and completed medical school at the University of Toledo.  After her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, she completed a three-year fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at Duke University.  During fellowship training, her primary area of interest was the mechanism and prevention of preterm birth specifically looking at the relationship of toll-like receptors (TLR) in fetal membranes and to correlate TLR expression with bacterial presence and evaluate its role in inflammation and tissue remodeling leading to preterm premature rupture of membranes and preterm birth. Since completing fellowship, Dr. Thompson has focused on maternal medical conditions affecting pregnancy with a specific emphasis on maternal congenital heart disease and its relationship with pregnancy outcomes including prematurity.  In addition she continue to have an interest in the biological mechanism and prevention of preterm birth. 

Investigators

  • Donald J Alcendor, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research

    Office Address
    Meharry Medical Colege
    1005 Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Blvd
    Nashville
    37208
    Phone
    (615) 327-6449

    Dr. Alcendor received his B.S., in Microbiology from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; M.S. in Bacteriology from Louisiana, State University in Baton, Rouge and completed his doctoral studies in Molecular Virology at the University of California at Davis. Dr. Alcendor completed his post-graduate studies at the NIH and Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore Maryland in departments of Molecular Virology and Viral Oncology respectively. He is a Cytomegalovirus Expert for the FDA, Division of Vaccine Injury and Compensation Program for the Department of Health and Human Services in Rockville, Maryland. He is a consultant and voting member on the FDA Antiviral Drug Advisory Committee. He is also a committee member on the Independent Research Evaluation and Decision Panel (REDP) for the AIDS Cancer and Specimen Resource of the NCI-AIDS Malignancy Program. He is a Brain-on-chip investigator in partnership with Vanderbilt and the Cleveland Clinic and an external associate member of the Vanderbilt VIIBRE consortium with an Adjunct faculty appointment in Cancer Biology at Vanderbilt. His research interest includes Cytomegalovirus trafficking of the central nervous system (CNS) with focus on the Blood-brain and retinal barriers and the neuropathological implications for both ocular and CMV induced congenital disease.

  • Ronald Alvarez, M.D., M.B.A

    Professor and Chairman
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Ronald D. Alvarez, M.D., M.B.A, is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and holds the Betty and Lonnie S. Burnett Endowed Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Alvarez received his B.S. degree in 1979 from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and his M.D. in 1983 from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1987 and his fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology in 1990, both at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in Birmingham, Alabama. He received his M.B.A. in 2013 from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. Dr. Alvarez was previously, Professor and Ellen Gregg Shook Culverhouse Chair in the UAB Division of Gynecologic Oncology, for which he served as Director from 2003-2014, and Vice-Chair of the UAB Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. His long-term research interests have included the development of novel therapeutics for ovarian cancer and new screening and prevention strategies for cervical cancer. He has been the recipient of several NCI and other industry funded grants in support of his research in gene therapeutics for ovarian cancer, including projects funded by the UAB Ovarian Cancer SPORE. He was a co-principal investigator in the cervical neoplasm vaccine projects included in the Johns Hopkins/UAB Cervical SPORE. He was principal investigator for the UAB NCTN LAPS. He is currently co-chair of the NRG Oncology Gynecologic Cancer Committee. Dr. Alvarez has served on study sections for the NCI Clinical Oncology Section and the Department of Defense’s Ovarian Cancer Research Program. Dr. Alvarez has published over 250 articles in various peer-reviewed journals and has served on the editorial board of Gynecologic Oncology. In 2013, he served as President of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and he currently serves as Director of Gynecologic Oncology Division for the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

    Value of Pre3:

    As Chairman of the VUMC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, I feel a great deal of stewardship for the well-being of childbearing women in the state of Tennessee and surrounding regions. One of the largest contributors to adverse outcomes in newborns is premature delivery. The Pre3 Initiative is investing in research that will enhance our understanding of the causes of premature delivery and develop more effective strategies to prevent premature delivery. Even a modicum of success will make a significant impact on outcomes for women and their newborns.

    Single biggest challenge: Drug addiction in pregnancy.

  • Carolyn M. Audet, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Department of Health Policy

    Office Address
    2525 West End Avenue
    Room / Suite
    Suite 750
    Nashville
    37203
    Phone
    615-343-2418

    Dr. Audet received her Bachelor degree in an Independent Concentration she created, New World Civilizations, from Princeton University. After graduation, Dr. Audet travelled to Belize where she worked for the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to excavate, consolidate, and analyze ancient Maya cities. She returned to graduate school at Vanderbilt University with a focus on human behavior, power dynamics, and political rituals, and received her Ph.D. in Anthropology in 2006. While at Vanderbilt, Dr. Audet’s research interest shifted from the dead to the living. She began working in Uganda and Kenya overseeing several service learning programs with a focus on HIV, health care delivery, and poverty. These new experiences inspired her research on women abandoned by their partners due to their HIV status in Kampala, Uganda. In 2008 she joined the Institute for Global Health at Vanderbilt University and began research on barriers to HIV testing and treatment uptake in rural Mozambique. In 2013, she completed her M.Sc. in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Specifically, her research has quantified the time delay associated with undiagnosed but symptomatic people first visiting a traditional healer before attending clinic, highlighting the importance of working with traditional healers to refer and manage the care of HIV positive patients in rural areas. She has also developed a program to change social norms about male engagement in antenatal care delivery, including HIV testing, in rural areas of Mozambique. Leading to increased couples counseling rates from 6% to over 35% among pregnant women from 2011-2013. She has participated in and published research on barriers to HIV testing and treatment uptake, validated scales of HIV stigma in Nashville and gender based inequality among men in Mozambique, and documented the challenges and benefits of working with traditional healers to improve health outcomes.

  • Curtis L. Baysinger, MD

    Associate Professor, Anesthesiology
    Vanderbilt University
    Director, Division of Obstetric Anesthesia
    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

    Office Address
    1211 Medical Center Drive
    Room / Suite
    4202 VUH
    Nashville
    37232
    Phone
    615-322-8476

    Curtis Baysinger, MD, received his undergraduate and medical education at Vanderbilt University. After a residency in anesthesiology and an obstetric anesthesia fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco, Dr. Baysinger joined the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2003 and was the Director of Obstetric Anesthesia from 2008 until the spring of 2014. Dr. Baysinger’s research interests are the effects of maternal temperature on obstetric outcomes, the effects of PDE5 inhibition on obstetric outcomes in preeclampsia, the combined effects of hypoxia and PDE5 inhibition on the feto-placental circulation and the effects of other druggable targets on outcomes in preeclamptic women. With Ray Johnson, MS and John Downing, MD, Dr. Baysinger conducts laboratory investigations using fresh placental tissue in a dual perfused single cotyledon model of the placenta.

  • Kelly A. Bennett, MD

    Associate Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Vanderbilt University

    Medical Center North
    1161 21ST Avenue South
    Room / Suite
    B-1100
    Nashville
    37232
    Phone
    (615) 343-6275

    Kelly Bennett, MD received her undergraduate and medical education at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. After her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology she completed a three year fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Yale University, New Haven, CT. Dr. Bennett successfully completed her MS degree in Clinical Epidemiology in 2001. She joined the Vanderbilt Faculty in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2003. In 2009, Dr. Bennett was named Research Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the Fetal Center at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital. In 2013, Dr. Bennett was appointed Division Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine. Dr. Bennett’s clinical and research interests are congenital anomalies; specifically, fetal surgery for repair of fetal myelomeningocele. She has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international conferences. She has also been involved in research investigating numeracy and literacy in pregnant patients with diabetes mellitus, placental abnormalities, informatics and the role of cervical spectroscopy in the study of preterm birth.

  • Sophie Bjork-James, PhD

    Post-doctoral Fellow and Lecturer
    Anthropology Department
    Phone
    615-343-6120

    Sophie Bjork-James, PhD is an Assistant Professor of the Practice in  Anthropology at Vanderbilt University. She is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled, Honor and Obey: Race, Respectability, and Making the Evangelical Family Sacred, which explores the importance of the family in the white evangelical tradition. Dr. Bjork-James is also an expert on the contemporary white supremacist movement and has studied the online white nationalist movement for over a decade. She has an interest in reproductive politics and is developing a Nashville focused research project on unequal pregnancy outcomes. Her work has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and BBC Radio 4’s Today programs and in articles in Reuters, USA Today, and Vox.

  • Seth R Bordenstein, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Departments of Biological Sciences & Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology

    Office Address
    U7215 BSB / MRB III
    465 21st Ave South
    Nashville
    37232

    Dr. Bordenstein is a biologist in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at Vanderbilt University. He is an Associate Professor with broad interests in the role of viruses and bacteria in animal evolution and health including the universality of maternal microbial transmission, the microbial ecology of reproductive tissues in animals, and the influence of reproductive infections on animal biology. He is the founding director of the Vanderbilt Microbiome Initiative and worldwide outreach program Discover the Microbes Within! The Wolbachia Project. Dr. Bordenstein received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester and held a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the National Research Council while at the Marine Biological Laboratory. You can follow his scholarship and outreach efforts on Twitter @Symbionticism, an easy-reading blog Symbionticism, YouTube video channel, or lab website: http://bordensteinlab.vanderbilt.edu. Dr. Bordenstein is always looking for new talent, passion and a commitment to excellence in science and outreach.

  • Kaylon L. Bruner-Tran, PhD

    Associate Professor
    Women's Reproductive Health Research Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Phone
    (615) 322-4196

    Kaylon L. Bruner-Tran is an Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN (USA). She received her PhD in reproductive pathology from Vanderbilt University in 1995. For her post-doctoral training, Dr. Bruner-Tran completed a dual-track program at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia which included basic science in molecular endocrinology in the laboratory of Gerald Litwack, PhD and specialized training in gynecologic histopathology with Fred Gorstein, MD. Following these studies, she returned to Vanderbilt where she established a strong collaborative research program with Dr. Kevin Osteen. As a member of the Women’s Reproductive Health Research Center at Vanderbilt, she directs the Disease Modeling Core Facility, which is utilized by numerous NIH-sponsored investigators as well as for Industry-sponsored research. Dr. Bruner-Tran also serves as the Associate Director of the Endometriosis Association Research and Training Program at Vanderbilt. Working with Dr. Osteen, she has developed experimental mouse models of endometriosis as well as a model of in utero toxicant exposure which mimics the human endometriosis phenotype. Her laboratory is focused on the impact of early life toxicant exposures on maintenance of pregnancy, with a particular emphasis on mechanisms leading to preterm birth. A major goal of her laboratory is to examine the effectiveness of nutritional modification to reduce the incidence of reproductive failure following early life toxicant exposure.

  • Steven M Brunwasser, PhD

    Research Instructor
    Allergy/Pulmonary & Critical Care Med Division

    Office Address
    2525 West End Ave
    Room / Suite
    STE 750
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232
    Phone
    615-322-8240

    Steve is a research instructor in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine working under the mentorship of Tina Hartert, M.D., M.P.H. He was trained as a clinical psychologist at the University of Michigan and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Judy Garber, Ph.D., in the Department of Psychology & Human Development at Vanderbilt. The majority of his research has focused on the development and evaluation of interventions to prevent depression in youth. After working as a clinician with the Women’s Perinatal Mood/Anxiety Disorder team at the University of Michigan, Steve became interested in the potential role of perinatal stress and psychopathology in conferring risk for poor developmental outcomes in exposed offspring. His current research is focused on (1) elucidating biological and psychosocial mechanisms of intergenerational risk transmission, and (2) developing mental health prevention programs for pregnant women at risk for depression within the framework of Patient Centered Outcomes. He is supported by the Vanderbilt V-POCKET K12 award through the Agency for Health Quality Research under the direction of David Penson, M.D., M.P.H., and Melissa McPheeters, Ph.D., M.P.H.

  • Kecia N. Carroll, MD, MPH

    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

    1313 21st Avenue South
    Room / Suite
    313 Oxford House
    Nashville
    37232
    Phone
    (615) 936-1139

    Kecia N. Carroll, MD, MPH Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is a general academic pediatrics fellowship trained asthma epidemiologist and board-certified pediatrician with a primary focus on the influence of prenatal and early life exposures on child respiratory and atopic disease. Dr. Carroll completed her undergraduate medical training at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Pediatric Residency training at the University of California, San Francisco, and a General Academic Pediatrics Research Fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In hopes of preventing illness and improving the health of children, Dr. Carroll’s research emphasis includes investigating in retrospective and prospective cohorts modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors for respiratory disease in young children, including factors such as familial asthma and atopy, maternal exposures during pregnancy, and viral exposures during infancy. Dr. Carroll is a former recipient of the Parker B. Francis Fellowship Program in Pulmonary Medicine and her current NIH funded work investigates maternal dietary exposures during pregnancy and the development of early childhood respiratory and atopic disease.

  • Rosette J Chakkalakal, MD, MHS

    Assistant Professor
    General Internal Medicine and Public Health

    Office Address
    6000 Medical Center East, NT
    1215 21st Avenue South
    Room / Suite
    VIMA, Suite I
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232-8300
    Phone
    (615) 936-2187
    Fax
    (615) 936-3218

    Dr. Chakkalakal's research focuses on reducing the burden of type 2 diabetes in women from vulnerable populations. She is especially interested in developing and testing lifestyle modification programs to decrease the incidence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) after a diagnosis of gestational diabetes (GDM) in women from vulnerable populations. In addition to that, Dr. Chakkalakal conducts secondary analyses of large datasets (AHRQ Healthcare Utilization Project, State Birth Certificate Data) to identify disparities in health according to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender. She further characterizes these disparities using longitudinal cohort studies and addresses these disparities by developing and implementing community-based interventions focused on behavior modification. Dr. Chakkalakal is a Co-Investigator for the NIDDK-funded Public-Private Partnership Addressing Literacy/Numeracy to Improve Diabetes Care (PRIDE) study at Vanderbilt and is currently the Principal Investigator for a Pilot and Feasibility Grant awarded through the NIDDK-funded Vanderbilt Center for Diabetes Translation Research (CDTR) entitled “Weight Changes During and After Pregnancy in Women with Gestational Diabetes.” She was also recently selected for the VUMC Faculty Research Scholars Program.

  • David Cliffel, PhD

    David Cliffel is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Vanderbilt University where he has secondary appointments in the Department of Pediatrics and with the Diabetes Research and Training Center within VUMC. He is a faculty fellow in the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education, and a member of the Steering Committee in the Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering where he oversees the Biomolecular Nanostructures Laboratory Facility. He received a BS in Chemistry and a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton in 1992. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1998 from the University of Texas at Austin working with Professor Allen J. Bard as an NSF and ACS graduate fellow. He did his postdoctoral work with Professor Royce W. Murray at the University of North Carolina working on the electrochemistry of monolayer protected clusters. He received the Society of Electroanalytical Chemistry (SEAC) Young Investigator Award in 2005 and an ACS Younger Chemistry Committee Leadership Development Award in 2004. He currently serves a standing member of the NIH Review Panel for Nanotechnology in Biology and Medicine until the end of 2014, the SEAC Board of Directors until 2016, and two steering committees for the Electrochemical Society in physical and analytical electrochemistry and in organic and biological electrochemistry until 2015. His current research concentrates on the electrochemistry and analytical chemistry of nanoparticles and photosynthetic proteins, and his group has invented the multianalyte microphysiometer for metabolic profiling and toxicology.

  • Kate Clouse, PhD, MPH

    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health and Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

    Office Address
    2525 West End Avenue
    Room / Suite
    725
    Nashville
    37203
    Phone
    (615) 875-9814

    Kate Clouse is an epidemiologist with over 10 years of experience conducting operational research in southern Africa, with a particular interest in patient retention in HIV care and HIV/TB integration. Dr. Clouse’s research demonstrated that women who are diagnosed with HIV during antenatal care fall out of care at alarmingly high rates, and that the risk of loss is greatest after delivery. She also has examined patient retention among adults initiating antiretroviral therapy (ART) for the first time and showed that women who initiate ART during pregnancy are at greatest risk of loss to follow-up, compared to non-pregnant women and men. She also has conducted qualitative research to better understand pregnant women’s motivation for continuing or ceasing HIV care. This research helps to inform the development of interventions to improve retention in care and operational efficiency throughout the PMTCT care cascade and routine HIV care in resource-limited settings. Dr. Clouse received a PhD in Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MPH in Health Policy and Management at the University of California, Berkeley.

  • Jennifer A. Gaddy, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases
    Research Scientist
    Tennessee Valley Healthcare Systems, Department of Veterans Affairs

    Office Address
    Laboratory & Office F523-ACRE Building
    1310 24th Avenue South
    Nashville
    37212
    Phone
    (615)327-4751 x67352

    Jennifer A. Gaddy received her undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Biology from Indiana University (East) and her Ph.D. from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her doctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Luis A. Actis focused on how the emerging opportunistic pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii forms biofilms and how iron-acquisition systems such as siderophore biosynthesis pathways help facilitate a pathogenic lifestyle for this organism. Dr. Gaddy came to Vanderbilt University in 2010 for a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Timothy L. Cover. Dr. Gaddy’s post-doctoral research focused on the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori and how it elaborates toxin secretion in response to varying conditions of micronutrient ions. Dr. Gaddy was promoted to junior faculty in 2013 and is currently funded through the Dept. of Veterans Affairs to study how dietary micronutrient intake affects bacterial infection, toxin secretion and disease progression.

  • Maureen Gannon, PhD

    Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Professor of Medicine
    Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Cell and Developmental Biology
    DRTC, Director of Enrichment, Training and Outreach

    Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism
    2213 Garland Avenue
    Room / Suite
    MRBIV 7465
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232-0475
    Phone
    615-936-2676
    Lab Phone
    615-936-2683
    615-936-1667

    Maureen Gannon grew up in Queens, New York, USA.  She received her B.S. in Biology from Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY and her M.S. in Biology from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY.  She received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology and Anatomy from Cornell University in 1995. Dr. Gannon pursued postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Chris Wright at Vanderbilt University, where she studied the role of the Pdx1 and HNF6 transcription factors in pancreas development. She is currently Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University with appointments in the Departments of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics and Cell & Developmental Biology. Her laboratory focuses on the regulation of beta cell mass during development and postnatally in response to physiological and pathological stimuli. Her research has been funded by JDRF, NIH, ADA, and the VA. 

  • Etoi Garrison, MD, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology

    In addition to her role as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist, Dr. Garrison holds a PhD degree in pharmacology which supports her interests in diabetes during pregnancy. Her primary area of research is the maternal complications of diabetes during pregnancy, including preterm birth. Her other research interests include congenital anomalies and the care of patients with preterm birth and fetal anomalies. She has supported and participated in a number of collaborations with other obstetrical health care providers and has years of experience in mentoring obstetric residents and other trainees in the management of high-risk pregnancy.

  • Susan H. Guttentag, MD

    Julia Carell Stadler Professor of Pediatrics
    Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
    Director, Mildred Stahlman Division of Neonatology
    Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital

    11111 Doctor's Office Tower
    2200 Children's Way
    Nashville
    37232-9544
    Phone
    (615) 322-3476
    Fax
    (615) 343-1763

    Lung surfactant plays an important role in managing both premature and term newborns with lung disease. Surfactant is a soap-like material made by cells in the small airspaces of the lung, the alveolar type 2 cells.  Surfactant is released into the airspaces where it spreads across the surface of the airspace to to maintain inflation during the breathing cycle. Diseases of surfactant fall into 3 categories: developmental, genetic, and acquired. The immature lungs of premature infants are often not yet able to make sufficient amounts of surfactant, and these infants develop Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). Surfactant protein B, SP-B, is an important component of surfactant. Infants with a genetic defect in the SP-B gene have normal lung development but poor quality surfactant that gives rise to an RDS-like disease at term that is often fatal. Full term newborns are born with a full complement of surfactant, but diseases like pneumonia can inactivate normal surfactant, resulting in lung disease.

    My research focuses on the formation of alveolar type 2 cells in the developing and injured lung. Using in vitro models of alveolar type 2 cell differentiation, we examine the biosynthesis of surfactant components and the cell biology of surfactant assembly into lysosome-like structures known as lamellar bodies.  Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome, a rare form of albinism associated with lung fibrosis, is a family of diseases that affect post-Golgi trafficking in all cells, and affects the trafficking of a subset of proteins to lamellar bodies.  It remains unclear how the HPS proteins contribute to the abnormal lamellar bodies seen in HPS and whether this is important to lung fibrosis in HPS patients. We use mouse models of HPS that recapitulate the development of lung disease in patients with HPS, and together with in vitro cell culture models we are investigating how trafficking to lamellar bodies is disrupted in HPS. In addition to examining the basis for abnormal lamellar body development in HPS, we are using this mouse model to understand the pathobiology of lung disease in HPS with an eye toward developing pre-clinical data for novel therapies. In short, the focus of my research program is 1) to understand alveolar type 2 cell differentiation in developing lung, 2) to expand our knowledge of alveolar type 2 cell functions, and 3) to examine the contribution of alveolar type 2 cells to pulmonary physiology and pathophysiology, in both neonates and adults. 

  • Maria Hadjifrangiskou, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology
    Phone
    (615) 322-4851
    Fax
    (615) 343-7392

    Dr. Hadjifrangiskou is a bacterial geneticist in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is an Assistant Professor with a broad interest in bacterial cell signaling and how bacterial perception of the environment shapes/influences bacterial behavior and pathogenesis. Her lab studies Gram-negative bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. Dr. H. received her B.S. in Molecular Biology & Biotechnology from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and performed her Ph.D. thesis work at the University of Texas – Health Science Center/M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. H. performed her post-doctoral training in the department of Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis at Washington University School of Medicine in Saint Louis. Dr. H. welcomes collaborations in the area of maternal-fetal health. Uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC), one of the bacterial pathogens studied by Dr. H’s group, causes the majority of urinary tract infections and, in the case of pregnant women, infection elevates the risk for an ascending kidney infection and possibly sepsis. E. coli has also been isolated from cases of chorioamnionitis; Dr. H. would be interested in becoming involved in efforts to understand the basis of and the contribution of inter-bacterial interactions during polymicrobial infections leading to chorioamnionitis.

  • Alyssa H Hasty, PhD

    Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
    Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics Vanderbilt University

    813 Light Hall
    2215 B Garland Ave
    Nashville
    37232
    Phone
    (615) 322-5177
    Fax
    (615) 322-8973

    Alyssa received her BS in Biology at Tennessee Technological University and her PhD at Vanderbilt University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Tokyo University. Her current research focuses on adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance, and how this contributes to cardiovascular disease and diabetes that are associated with obesity. In particular, she is focused on how macrophage iron metabolism influences their phenotype and function. In light of the contribution of inflammatory macrophages to preterm birth, she has developed an interest in placental macrophage iron handling. Alyssa is very interested in graduate education and in faculty development. She serves as the Director of Graduate Studies for the Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Graduate Program, the Director or the Digestive Disease Research Center Career Development Program, and was past chair of the Women on Track program at Vanderbilt University. She is also a standing member of NIH Review Panel, Integrative Physiology of Obesity and Diabetes and of the American Diabetes Association.

  • Mary Lou Lindegren, MD, MPH

    Associate Professor
    Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Health Policy
    Faculty Member
    Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health

    Office Address
    2525 West End Avenue
    Room / Suite
    750
    Nashville
    37203
    Phone
    (615) 322-9374
    Fax
    (615) 343-7797

    Dr. Lindegren received her BS and MD degree from Duke University. She completed her pediatrics residency at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.  She received her MPH degree from Emory University. She served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Division of Immunization, and then spent over twenty years at CDC as a medical officer in the US Public Health Service focused on infectious diseases, particularly domestic and international maternal and pediatric HIV, maternal and child health, public health genomics, and serving as the editor for the MMWR.  She came to Vanderbilt after CDC where her research interests  have included international maternal child health, prevention of perinatal HIV transmission, and infectious diseases. She is a principal investigator on research grant from the U.S. National Institutes of Health and co-investigator on grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NIH, the Gates Foundation, and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.  She is co-PI on the NIH funded Vanderbilt Coordinating Center for the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA), an international HIV observational database collaborative following over 1,000,000 HIV-infected adults and children. Dr. Lindegren is board-certified in pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Anita Mahadevan-Jansen, PhD

    Orrin H. Ingram Professor of Biomedical Engineering
    Professor of Neurological Surgery

    Room / Suite
    FEL 308
    (615) 343-4787

    Dr. Anita Mahadevan-Jansen is a world renowned biomedical engineer, particularly in the arena of Biomedical Photonics, who received her PhD from the University of Texas. She pioneered the use of in vivo Raman spectroscopy for non-invasive diagnosis of cervical dysplasia, and has recently begun work focusing on using Raman spectroscopy to investigate term and preterm cervical remodeling. This work has been a collaboration with Vanderbilt investigators Dr. Jeff Reese, and Dr. Kelly Bennett. This work spans from investigating healthy and high risk pregnancy in human subjects recruited from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, as well as investigating mouse models of normal, preterm, and delayed parturition. Dr. Mahadevan-Jansen has additional projects focused on in vivo discrimination between Crohns and Ulcerative Colitis using Raman spectroscopy, identification of parathyroid glands during neck surgery using endogenous fluorescence contrast, determination of tumor margins for breast cancer and soft tissue sarcoma resection using Raman spectroscopy, and stimulation and inhibition of nerves using infrared light for pain management and more highly targeted stimulation of nerves compared to electrical techniques. Dr. Mahadevan-Jansen’s research focuses on translational research with the ultimate goal of positively impacting patient care and outcome.

  • Adgent A Margaret, PhD

    Research Assistant Professsor
    Division of General Pediatrics

    Dr. Margaret Adgent is a pediatric epidemiologist with interest in characterizing early life exposures to environmental toxicants and their related health effects, particularly in the context of exploring developmental origins of disease. Dr. Adgent earned her Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Studies and Biology from the George Washington University and her M.S.P.H from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a concentration in Environmental Toxicology. Dr. Adgent earned her PhD in Epidemiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010. Dr. Adgent completed her postdoctoral training in the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) where she contributed to the Infant Feeding and Early Development (IFED) Study, a longitudinal study of reproductive development and endocrine disruption in infants exposed to soy-based infant formula. Dr. Adgent has experience in analyzing and interpreting biomarker-based environmental exposure data and is skilled in identifying the approaches and limitations associated with working with such data. Examples of recent research include projects involving perfluorocarboxylic acids in maternal serum, polybrominated diphenyl ethers in breast milk, and personal care/consumer product phenols in infant and adult urine. Dr. Adgent has recently joined the research team of Dr. Kecia Carroll at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a Research Assistant Professor and will be investigating environmental and nutritional exposures in relation to pediatric asthma. 

  • John A. McLean, PhD

    Stevenson Professor of Chemistry
    Co-Director, Automated Biosystems Core
    Vanderbilt University
    Deputy Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education

    7330 Stevenson Center
    Nashville
    37235
    Phone
    (615) 322-1195
    Fax
    (615) 343-1234

    John McLean is the Stevenson Associate Professor of Chemistry at Vanderbilt University, co-Director of the Vanderbilt Automated Biosystems Core, and Deputy Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education. He received his B.S. Chemistry from the University of Michigan and his PhD from the George Washington University. Following postdoctoral training at at Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany and at Texas A&M University with Prof. David H. Russell in biological mass spectrometry he joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2006. Working with David Russell from 2001-2006, he constructed ion mobility-mass spectrometers capable of broad-scale analyses of extremely complex biological samples, termed ‘panomics,’ on the basis of both molecular structure and mass. Sophisticated ion mobility-mass spectrometry platforms were subsequently released by multiple leading global scientific instrument manufacturers At Vanderbilt, McLean and colleagues focus on the conceptualization, design, and construction of structural mass spectrometers, specifically targeting complex samples in systems, synthetic, and chemical biology as well as nanotechnology. His group applies these strategies to forefront translational research areas in drug discovery, personalized medicine, and ‘human-on-chip’ synthetic biology platforms. Prof. McLean and his group leverage these strengths with those across Vanderbilt, nationally, and Internationally in academe, industry, and government through cutting-edge interdisciplinary collaborations.

  • J Newton, MD, PhD, FACOG

    Assistant Professor
    Maternal-Fetal Medicine
    Director of Labor and Delivery, Director of Quality and Patient Safety for Obstetrics
    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Office Address
    MCN
    1161 21st Ave South
    Room / Suite
    B-1100
    Nashville
    Tennessee
    37232
    Phone
    615-343-6275

    J Newton earned his doctorate in 1998 studying the molecular genetics of pigmentation, an interest he carried into his post-doctoral work. He returned to school for his medical degree at the University of Arizona where he also completed residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine. His research focus during fellowship centered around preterm birth and involved investigations of the melanocortin signaling pathway in the human placenta. Following completion of his fellowship,  Dr. Newton joined the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt in 2012. While at Vanderbilt, he has continued his work with cytokines in the human placenta but has also been a part of collaborative efforts investigating vasoactive substances on placental perfusion and work to understand the impact of maternal obesity on pregnancy outcomes.

  • Sarah Osmundson, MD

    Assistant Professor
    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Sarah S. Osmundson is Assistant Professor of Maternal-Fetal Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Osmundson received her undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and went on to teach high school biology for two years. She then completed medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University, and fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine from Stanford University. She stayed on at Stanford to finish a Master’s in Epidemiology and Clinical Research. Her research has focused on screening and treatment of women with prediabetes in pregnancy and she received the Abbott Nutrition in Pregnancy Award from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for this research. Her other research interests include advanced maternal age, obesity in pregnancy, and opioid use after cesarean delivery.  

  • Kevin G. Osteen, PhD

    Pierre Soupart Chair in Obstetrics & Gynecology
    Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology

    Medical Center North
    1161 21ST Avenue South
    Room / Suite
    B-1100
    Nashville
    37221
    Phone
    (615) 322-4196

    Kevin G. Osteen received his Ph.D. in endocrinology from the Medical College of Georgia in 1980 and subsequently completed his postdoctoral training in reproductive physiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. Dr. Osteen came to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1983 as a member of the team that launched the first in vitro fertilization (IVF) program in Tennessee and the fourth program in the United States. He is currently the director of the Women’s Reproductive Health Research Center which includes the International Endometriosis Association Research Program at Vanderbilt. Dr. Osteen is a member of the graduate faculty and has mentored numerous graduate students, postdoctoral research fellows, clinical fellows and junior faculty. He is an active member of several professional societies in the field of reproductive medicine and maintains an active research program funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Industry contracts and private foundations. He has frequently served on NIH study sections and as an adviser to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. He has authored more than 100 original scientific papers in the field of reproduction and is a frequent invited speaker at national and international scientific meetings. Dr. Osteen’s research program currently focuses on environmental endocrine disruptors in the pathophysiology of infertility and pregnancy failure. Working within a long established collaboration with Dr. Kaylon Bruner-Tran, their combined research interests include the role that early life exposure to environmental toxicants plays in adult onset diseases affecting reproductive success. Recent research studies have identified inflammation during the preconception period as being an important factor in not only disrupting both male and female fertility but also limiting the capacity of progesterone to support maternal-fetal communication that is necessary for term delivery.

  • Bibhash C. Paria, PhD

    Associate Professor of Pediatrics

    Office Address
    Light Hall
    Room / Suite
    1055C MRB IV
    Nashville
    37232
    Phone
    615-322-8640
    Fax
    615-343-6182

    Dr. Bibhash C. Paria is one of the members of the Interdisciplinary Collaborative Team for Blastocyst Implantation Research formed by the National Institutes of Health NIAID and NICHD. The focus of the Paria laboratory is to understand the basic mechanisms of embryo implantation, decidualization and pregnancy protection. The two research areas of particular interest include: 1) Signaling molecules involved in the initiation of progesterone-dependent implantation in hamsters and 2) Mechanisms of protecting the implanting embryo from maternal dangers.  First, the Paria laboratory utilizes a hamster modeling system to decipher the signaling molecules involved in the initiation of progesterone-dependent implantation. His studies suggest the existence of an alternate source of estrogen beside the ovary in hamsters. Secondly, the Paria laboratory explores the influence of implanting blastocyst in creation of a uterine decidual barrier to escape from maternal dangers. Moreover, they investigate the novel use of alkaline phosphatase as a therapeutic strategy to augment bacterial endotoxin-induced early pregnancy loss/defects, as well as preterm birth.

  • Stephen W. Patrick, MD, MPH, MS

    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
    Division of Neonatology, Vanderbilt University

    Stephen W. Patrick, MD, MPH, MS, is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and an attending neonatologist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. He is a graduate of the University of Florida, Florida State University College of Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Patrick completed his training in pediatrics, neonatology and health services research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan.

     

    Dr. Patrick joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in 2013. His National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded research focuses on improving outcomes for opioid-exposed infants and women with substance-use disorder and evaluating state and federal drug control policies. He previously served as Senior Science Policy Advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and has testified before Congress on the rising numbers of newborns being diagnosed with opioid withdrawal after birth. He served as an expert consultant for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s development of a Guide to the Management of Opioid-Dependent Pregnant and Parenting Women and Their Children, as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Substance Use and Prevention and as a board member on the US Office of Personnel Management’s Multi-State Plan Program Advisory Board. Dr. Patrick’s awards include the American Medical Association Foundation Excellence in Medicine Leadership Award, the Academic Pediatric Association Fellow Research Award Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics Early Career Physician of the Year and the Nemours Child Health Services Research Award. His research has been published in leading scientific journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Pediatrics and Health Affairs.

  • John B Pietsch, MD, FAAP, FACS

    Associate Professor of Pediatric Surgery and Pediatrics
    Vanderbilt Children's Hospital
    Co-Director Junior League Fetal Center at Vanderbilt
    Director ECMO Program
    Vanderbilt Children's Hospital

    7100 Doctor's Office Tower
    2200 Children's Way
    Nashville
    37232
    Phone
    (615) 936-1050
    Fax
    (615) 936-1046

    Dr Pietsch is a pediatric surgeon interested in the study of nutritional status and body water distribution in infants, children and mothers. With the assistance of Phase I funding from a Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges Exploration grant, his team has developed a novel compact device to measure bioelectrical impedance vector analysis. This device is linked to a smart phone which is programed to show the user body composition and body water components. Further studies are being conducted in the USA and Africa with the goal of early detection of malnutrition and body water changes. This may permit early nutritional intervention in infants, children and pregnant and nursing mothers and improve outcomes.

  • Carla Ransom, MD

    Assistant Professor
    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Medical Center North
    1161 21ST Avenue South
    Room / Suite
    B-1100
    Nashville
    37232
    Phone
    (615) 322-0093
    Fax
    (615) 343-8881

    Carla Ransom, MD received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Duke University and earned a medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical School. She completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Duke University. After completing her fellowship, Dr. Ransom held a position as Clinical Associate at Duke University for several years before joining the Obstetrics and Gynecology faculty at Vanderbilt School of Medicine in 2013. Dr. Ransom has participated in research grants investigating preterm birth prevention and authored several publications on the role of progesterone in preterm birth. She is currently involved in clinical research projects investigating preterm birth and cardiovascular complications in maternal health.

  • Antonis Rokas, PhD

    Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair
    Biological Sciences
    Professor
    Biological Sciences
    Professor
    Biomedical Informatics

    Office Address
    7270B, MRB III
    VU Station B 351634
    Nashville
    37235
    Phone
    +1-615-936-3892
    Fax
    +1-615-343-6707

    Antonis Rokas, PhD received his undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Crete, Greece and his PhD from Edinburgh University in Scotland. Prior to joining Vanderbilt in the summer of 2007, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a research scientist at the Broad Institute. Research in his lab focuses on the study of the DNA record to gain insight into the patterns and processes of evolution. Through a combination of computational and experimental approaches, his current research aims to understand the evolution of human pregnancy, the molecular foundations of the fungal lifestyle, and the reconstruction of the tree of life. His discoveries have been reported in the world’s premier journals, receiving thousands of citations, and been recognized by many awards, including an endowed chair (2013), a Chancellor’s Award for Research (2011), an NSF CAREER award (2009) and a Searle Scholarship (2008). He serves as an Associate Editor in several journals including Evolution, Medicine & Public Health, PLoS ONE, BMC Microbiology, and G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics.

  • Ivana Thompson, MD

    Assistant Professor, Kenneth J. Ryan Residency Training Program Director
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Phone
    (615) 343-5700

    Ivana Thompson, MD MSCI FACOG is a fellowship trained, board-certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine (VUSM) in Nashville, Tennessee. She is the Kenneth J. Ryan Residency Program Director for the VUSM OB/GYN residency. She is a leader on the VUSM Department of OB/GYN Diversity Task Force. Dr. Thompson earned her medical degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She completed her OB/GYN residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she graduated with the John B. Franklin, MD Award for exceptional humanism in medicine. She completed the Fellowship in Family Planning and a Master of Science in Clinical Investigation at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, Utah. In fellowship, she joined the Utah Department of Health Minority Health Disparities Task Force in service to minority communities in the state of Utah. Dr. Thompson’s clinical and academic interests include emergency contraception, complex contraception, adolescent health care, racial and ethnic health disparities.

  • Digna R. Velez Edwards, PhD, MS

    Assistant Professor
    Center for Human Genetics Research Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center Institute of Medicine and Public Health Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Office Address
    2525 West End Avenue
    Nashville
    37203
    Phone
    (615) 322-1288

    Dr. Digna R. Velez Edwards is a genetic epidemiologist and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Velez Edwards received her Ph.D. in Human Genetics (2008) and Masters in Applied Statistics at Vanderbilt University (2007) with subsequent postdoctoral training in human genetics at the University of Miami (2008-2009). She has established a research program focused on genetic and environment risk factors associated with women's health and reproductive outcomes. Since the start of her faculty appointment Dr. Velez Edwards has developed and coordinated a repository of biospecimens from participants in the Right from the Start pregnancy cohort to be used for genetic epidemiology studies examining reproductive health complications and risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, which currently has ~2,500 DNA samples. She has several ongoing research projects utilizing this resource, as well as large clinical databases that link clinical information to DNA (the BioVU DNA Repository). These studies focus on understanding the racial and/or ethnic disparities in genetic risk for several complex diseases including preterm birth, miscarriage, uterine fibroids, and pelvic organ prolapse.

  • Jörn-Hendrik Weitkamp, MD

    Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
    Division of Neonatology
    Phone
    (615) 322-3476

    Jörn-Hendrik Weitkamp, MD, is currently Associate Professor of Pediatrics and attending physician in the Division of Neonatology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Weitkamp received his medical degree summa cum laude from the University of Ulm in Germany and completed his residency in Pediatrics at the University Hospital of Bonn in Germany and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He subsequently completed fellowships in Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Perinatal-Neonatal Medicine at Vanderbilt. The focus of Dr. Weitkamp’s research and scholarly work has been in neonatal immunology, neonatal infectious disease and necrotizing enterocolitis. He is specifically interested in the prenatal influences on the developing immune system. As the Director for Patient-Oriented Research, Dr. Weitkamp oversees numerous clinical trials and translational studies in neonatology. He is also vice-chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) and Director of the Vanderbilt Neonatal Medicine Annual Symposium. Dr. Weitkamp has published over 70 journal articles, reviews and book chapters and earned several honors and awards including the Vanderbilt Physician Scientist Development Award, the Vanderbilt Infection Prevention Award, and the Marshall Klaus Perinatal Research Award. Dr. Weitkamp is a member of the Society for Pediatric Research, and the Perinatal Research Society. He has served on several international and NIH study sections and chairs the Research Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.

  • John Wikswo, PhD

    Gordon A. Cain University Professor
    Vanderbilt University
    A.B. Learned Professor of Living State Physics
    Vanderbilt University
    Director, Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education
    Vanderbilt University
    Professor of Biomedical Engineering
    Vanderbilt University
    Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
    Vanderbilt University
    Professor of Physics
    Vanderbilt University

    John Wikswo is the Gordon A. Cain University Professor at Vanderbilt University and is the founding Director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education. Trained as a physicist, he received his B.A. degree from the University of Virginia, and his PhD. from Stanford University. He has been on the Vanderbilt faculty since 1977. His research has included superconducting magnetometry, the measurement and modeling of cardiac, neural and gastric electric and magnetic fields, and non-destructive testing of aging aircraft. As a tenured member of the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, and Physics & Astronomy, he is guiding the development of microfabricated devices, optical instruments, and software for studying how living cells interact with each other and their environment and respond to drugs, chemical/biological agents, and other toxins, thereby providing insights into systems biology, physiology, and medicine. He has over 200 publications, is a fellow of seven professional societies, and has received 22 patents. His group’s work on organ-on-chips focuses on the development of intelligent well plates that serve as perfusion controllers, microclinical analyzers, and microformulators, as well as developing a cardiac papillary muscle and a blood-brain barrier on a chip.

  • Ashley Leech, PhD

    Assistant Professor
    Dept of Health Policy

    Ashley Leech is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Dr. Leech’s research combines health services research and health economic methods to answer questions related to healthcare access, delivery, resource allocation and use, and outcomes for reproductive-age women and their children. She is particularly interested in issues affecting vulnerable groups such as low-income and minority women, and the periods of pre-conception planning, pregnancy, postnatal care, and infant health.

    Dr. Leech completed her post-doctoral training in Health Economics at the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health (CEVR) at Tufts Medical Center where she focused on cost-effectiveness analysis and decision science methodology and received her PhD in Health Services Research at Boston University School of Public Health.

  • Mavis Schorn, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN

    Senior Associate Dean for Academics
    School of Nursing
    Phone
    615-343-5876

    Dr. Schorn is a practicing nurse-midwife, senior academic administrator, educator, and researcher. She has worked to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality associated with postpartum hemorrhage through research and advocacy at local, regional, state, and national levels. Her clinical research on the third stage of labor has been included as national continuing education modules, evidence-based practice bulletins, and major textbooks. Most recently, Dr. Schorn has published findings about midwifery and physician management the third stage of labor to guide future research in this critical area. She has served as the only nurse-midwife on national and state interprofessional advocacy committees focused on improvement of maternal and neonatal health.

Trainees

  • Nadia Marie Roumanos, Intern

    Student Intern
    VUIT Cloud Engineer

    Nadia Marie Roumanos is a second-year graduate student in the Vanderbilt University Masters in Clinical Informatics program and concurrently works as a cloud engineer intern for Vanderbilt University Information Technology Services. A 2016 graduate in Mathematics and Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute she previously worked at the Albany Medical Center’s Biomedical Acceleration and Commercialization Center. Her current graduate project is focused on mobile health for adults with sickle cell disease. Her other interests are in providing expectant mothers with greater choices more aligned with their personal goals.