Program Mentors

Program Leadership

  • John Koethe, MD, MSCI

    V-SCHoLARS Co-Director
    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Division of Infectious Diseases

    Dr. Koethe is a physician-scientist pursuing clinical and translational research on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in persons living with HIV (PLWH). He came to Vanderbilt University as an infectious diseases fellow in 2007 and joined the faculty in 2010. He first gained HIV/AIDS research experience as a NIH Fogarty International Clinical Research Fellow in Lusaka, Zambia, followed by training in clinical research study design, methods, and biostatistics from the Vanderbilt Masters of Science in Clinical Investigation program. He previously led a large cohort study which highlighted the cardiometabolic health consequences of obesity in PLWH, and novel associations between body composition, plasma metabolite profiles, cellular and innate immune activation, and vascular function. He is currently studying the relationship of circulating T cell subsets and diabetes risk among HIV+ and HIV-negative participants in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS). He also leads the R01-supported HIV, Adipose Tissue Immunology, and Metabolism cohort study to explore relationships between adipose tissue T cell phenotypes, receptor clonality and cytokine expression, adipose tissue inflammation, and glucose tolerance in PLWH. Dr. Koethe has a strong commitment to the career development of junior investigators in the field of HIV research. In addition to serving as a V-SCHoLARS Program Director, he is the Director of the Developmental Core of the Tennessee Center for AIDS Research (TN-CFAR), which is responsible for administering pilot grant awards, and mentoring young investigators and those new to HIV research.

  • Matthew S Freiberg, MD, MSc

    V-SCHoLARS Co-Director
    Founding Director
    Clinical Cardiovascular Outcomes Research and Trials Evaluation V-CREATE
    Cardiovascular Medicine
    West End Home Foundation Scholar

    Dr. Matthew Freiberg is an internal medicine physician and cardiovascular epidemiologist. He relocated with his family to Nashville in June of 2014, and joined Vanderbilt as an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Clinical Cardiovascular Outcomes REsearch and Trials Evaluation (V-CREATE), and a West End Home Foundation Scholar. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Freiberg received his BS from the University of Washington and completed medical school at Oregon Health Sciences University. He completed postgraduate training as a resident at University of Chicago Hospitals and fellowships at Boston University and with the Framingham Heart Study. His research interests include the impact of HIV, inflammation, altered immunity, and alcohol use on cardiovascular outcomes. He is also an expert in utilizing big data for clinical research initiatives. Dr. Freiberg has been a Veterans Aging Cohort Study (VACS) investigator for nearly 10 years and is presently the principal investigator on four NIH-funded VACS ancillary studies, including three R01 grants. His work also includes international initiatives with the Uganda, Russia, Boston Alcohol Network for Alcohol Research Collaboration on HIV/AIDS (URBAN ARCH) Consortium and as an investigator with the Russia Cohort. He is the principal investigator of a randomized control trial looking at the use of zinc supplementation to reduce alcohol-associated microbial translocation and inflammation, coronary heart disease, and total mortality among ARCH participants in St. Petersburg, Russia.

HIV Mentors - Basic Science

  • Simon Mallal, M.B.B.S.

    Professor of Medicine
    Division of Infectious Diseases
    Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology
    Major E.B. Stahlman Chair in Infectious Diseases and Inflammation
    Director, Vanderbilt Center for Translational and Clinical Immunology

    Dr. Mallal completed his training in Internal Medicine, Clinical Immunology and Pathology and led the development of HIV services and one of the first computerized cohort studies in Western Australia before undertaking a postdoctoral fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins Medical School. He has undertaken clinical practice management altering research throughout his career, efforts that have informed and directed his basic science research. This has had impacts over time in the domains of: reproductive endocrinology, genetic disease association studies, immune restoration disease in HIV, improved efficacy of antiretroviral therapy, mitochondrial toxicity and metabolic complications of antiretroviral therapy, use of pharmacogenetic tests to avoid drug hypersensitivity, and HIV and Hepatitis C adaptation to HLA restricted immune responses to support vaccine immunogen design and potential eradication approaches. His group discovered the association between HLA-B*5701 and abacavir hypersensitivity in 2002, and he and his colleagues championed the international collaborative efforts to guide pharmacogenetic screening through the T1 to T4 phases of translation. The impact on clinical and healthcare practice and policy in these domains has been important, as has the development of new multidisciplinary capacity and approaches to translational medicine. This culminated in the establishment of a purpose-built translational medicine Institute in Western Australia, which he currently leads.

  • Spyros Kalams, M.D.

    Associate Professor of Medicine
    Division of Infectious Diseases

    Dr. Kalams joined the Infectious Disease staff at Vanderbilt University in 2002. Dr. Kalams is currently the director of viral immunology studies in the Vanderbilt Infectious Diseases Unit and is the Principal Investigator of the Vanderbilt HIV Vaccine Trials Unit. He is also the Director of the Laboratory Sciences Core of the Tennessee Center For AIDS Research. His laboratory investigates new strategies to quantitate HIV-specific cytotoxic T cell (CTL) and helper responses, which will be important for the evaluation of vaccines entering clinical trials. Dr. Kalams was the first to demonstrate the persistence of HIV-1 specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) clones in vivo during chronic HIV infection, and has received NIH R01-funding to 1) Evaluate why CTL responses decline with disease progression, 2) Assess the T-cell repertoire of developing and established immune responses, and 3) Determine whether the avidity of developing CTL responses influences viral set point. Other research interests include understanding the mechanisms of immune escape from CTL recognition (to evaluate the role HIV sequence variation plays in disease progression), and the evaluation of CTL responses of patients with long-term non-progressing HIV-1 infection (to evaluate whether patients without disease progression have unique or more robust immune responses). Current active projects include the development of mass cytometry as a platform for evaluation of T cell phenotype and function, and molecular analysis of pathogen-specific T cells. We have developed assays to sort individual T cells, followed by identification of their T cell receptor alpha beta chain usage as well as their transcriptional profile. This allows an in depth evaluation of T cell responses after either natural infection or vaccination.

  • Elizabeth Phillips, M.D.

    John A. Oates Chair in Clinical Research
    Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology
    Professor of Pharmacology
    Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

    Elizabeth Phillips, MD is Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology and is Director of Personalized Immunology at the Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is also Director of the Centre for Clinical Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases at the Institute for Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Murdoch University in Perth Western Australia. She is also co-director for the personalized-care scientific working group for the Vanderbilt Center for AIDS Research. She has been immensely successful in answering important scientific questions about variation in drug responses, in particular interactions between drugs and the immune system. She played a key leadership role in establishing HLA-B*57:01 and the roadmap from discovery to translation of HLA-B*57:01 as a routine screening marker used prior to abacavir prescription to prevent hypersensitivity.  Her current work focuses on defining the immunopathogenesis of severe adverse drug reactions and in particular using innovative technologies to define genetic, molecular and cellular signatures in severe cutaneous adverse drug reactions such as SJS/TEN that will guide prevention, early diagnosis and define new therapeutic targets. She is currently is part of the PGRN and a principal investigator on a P50 grant to study the immunopathogenesis and improvement in the prediction  of HLA-mediated drug reactions.

  • David M Aronoff, M.D.

    Division of Infectious Diseases
    Addison B. Scoville Jr. Chair in Medicine
    Professor of Medicine

    The overarching goal of the Aronoff lab is to improve human health through discovery, with a primary interest on maternal-child wellness. The Aronoff lab studies reproductive immunology with a focus on bacterial infections that complicate pregnancy. These infections include perinatal streptococcal infections and postpartum clostridial infections. Our major interest is revealing root molecular mechanisms whereby bacterial pathogens evade innate immunity within the female reproductive tract. We also study the impact of metabolic stressors such as obesity and diabetes on reproductive immunology and placental function. Our work with toxigenic clostridia has extended to non-reproductive tract infections, such as colitis caused by Clostridium diffficile. Members of our lab engage in a range of research approaches, from purely bench science to translational science to purely clinical research. We value interdisciplinary team science.

  • Chandravanu Dash, PhD

    Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
    Meharry Medical College
    Assistant Professor of Center for AIDS Health Disparities Research
    Meharry Medical College

    Chandravanu Dash, PhD serves as PC-SWG Co-Director.  He is a junior faculty basic scientist in the MMC CAHDR with a research focus on the effects of drugs of abuse in HIV infection using in vitro and ex vivo models. His work is an excellent example of non-genetic “personalized care” research (e.g. how substance use contributes to inter-individual differences in outcomes) that complements the group’s pharmacogenomics expertise. The long term goal of our laboratory research is to identify, understand and eliminate factors responsible for the profoundly disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS among minority populations in the United States. To achieve this goal our current laboratory research focuses on understanding the biochemical mechanisms of HIV-1 infection and pathogenesis.The overarching goal is to understand how drugs of abuse contribute to HIV-1 pathogenesis. This laboratory focuses on understanding how cocaine modulates target cell biology to enhance HIV-1 replication. This work may identify pathways for a therapeutic intervention.

  • Suman R Das, PhD

    Associate Professor of Medicine
    Division of Infectious Diseases

    Dr. Suman R. Das, Ph.D. is a Associate Professor of Medicine at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the Division of Infectious Diseases. Prior to joining Vanderbilt, Dr. Das was an Associate Professor in the Infectious Diseases Group at J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville MD. Using genomics tools, his group is trying to understand the underlying mechanisms that contribute to evolution of RNA viruses (i.e., influenza, RSV, rotavirus EEEV, and enterovirus). For the past four years, his lab is also interested in understanding virus, host and microbiome interactions, to identify if the host microbiota contributes to disease severity and long-term outcomes. Further, employing a two-pronged research approach, his lab is currently developing in vitro and in vivo models to understand the underlying mechanisms that contribute to antigenic evolution of influenza virus to escape the host immune response. By combining bioinformatics and synthetic genomics, his lab is evaluating the experimental data to better predict the future evolutionary path of influenza virus. Dr. Das received PhD in virology from the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), New Delhi, India, where he studied molecular pathogenesis of HIV-1 subtype C Indian isolates.  After a short postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA, he joined the Laboratory of Viral Diseases in NIAID to work with Drs. Yewdell and Bennink as a Fogarty International fellow, where his research was focused on understanding the antigenic evolution influenza A virus. Prior to joining JCVI, he studied human B-cell response to influenza infection and vaccination at Emory Vaccine Center, in Atlanta.

HIV Mentors - Clinical Trials/Translational

  • David Haas, MD

    Professor of Medicine
    Divisions of Clinical Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases
    Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
    Division of Pharmacology

    David Haas is an accomplished HIV clinical trialist and leader in human pharmacogenomic research relevant to HIV infection and its therapy. He has led the design and implementation of dozens of HIV clinical trials since 1994, both single site studies and multicenter projects. He established and has led the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG) Clinical Research Site at Vanderbilt since its inception. He previously chaired the Pharmacology Committee for the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), has led the ACTG’s pharmacogenomics program since 2000, and in 2011 was elected to serve on the ACTG Executive Committee. He oversaw the establishment of the ACTG Human DNA Repository, and is now extending DNA banking to non-US ACTG sites in resource-limited countries in worldwide. His work with the ACTG led to the seminal observation that a frequent CYP2B6 polymorphism predicts delayed clearance of efavirenz, which largely explains increased plasma exposure among individuals of African descent, and may help predict CNS side effects and virologic response. He is PI of a substantial, collaborative, multidisciplinary R01 entitled “Pharmacogenomics of HIV Therapy”. He is highly engaged in collaborative, multidisciplinary research with an emphasis on the importance of human genomics for antiretroviral disposition, efficacy, and toxicity. This is complemented on his extensive work on designing and implementing prospective clinical trials.

  • Douglas C. Heimburger, MD, MS

    Associate Director for Education and Training
    Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health
    Professor of Medicine
    Department of Medicine

    Dr. Heimburger is Professor of Medicine and Associate Director for Education and Training in the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH). He directs VIGH’s education and training programs for Vanderbilt students and trainees, as well as research training opportunities for doctoral and postdoctoral trainees from other institutions and other countries.  These include direction of the Global Health Track in Vanderbilt’s Master of Public Health Program and co-direction of the Vanderbilt-Zambia Network for Innovation in Global Health Technologies, the Vanderbilt-Emory-Cornell-Duke Consortium for Global Health Fellows, the Vanderbilt-CIDRZ AIDS International Training and Research Program, the Vanderbilt Training Program in Molecular and Genetic Epidemiology of Cancer (MAGEC), and curriculum development for the University of Guyana Master of Public Health Program. His principal research and publication interests are nutritional influences on responses to treatment for HIV/AIDS in developing countries and global health education. He conducts clinical nutrition research in a population of undernourished Zambians starting antiretroviral therapy for HIV/AIDS, initiated during a Fulbright Scholar Award-supported sabbatical in Zambia in 2006.

    Dr. Heimburger received his M.D. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1978, internal medicine residency at St. Louis University, and clinical nutrition fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He is board-certified in internal medicine and clinical nutrition.  From 1982 to 2009, he served on the faculty of the Departments of Nutrition Sciences and Medicine at UAB, where his titles included Senior Scientist in the UAB Clinical Nutrition Research Center, Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Center for AIDS Research; Associate Director of the Sparkman Center for Global Health; and Director of the NIH-funded Cancer Prevention and Control Training Program and the Clinical Nutrition Fellowship Program. Under his leadership the CPCTP facilitated the training of approximately 140 pre- and post-doctoral students and fellows, to increase the pool of chronic disease specialists committed to cancer prevention and control.

  • Todd M Hulgan, MD, MPH

    Associate Professor of Medicine
    Division of Infectious Diseases

    Dr. Hulgan completed an undergraduate degree at the University of South Alabama, and obtained an MD from the University Of Alabama School Of Medicine at UAB in 1996. After Internal Medicine residency and a chief residency at Wake Forest University-Baptist Medical Center, he moved to Vanderbilt for Fellowship in Infectious Diseases and an MPH, and has been on faculty at Vanderbilt since 2004.

    The primary goal of Dr. Hulgan’s research is to improve the health of HIV-infected persons by better understanding, predicting, preventing, and treating complications of HIV infection and antiretroviral therapy. Dr. Hulgan has pursued this goal through observational cohort studies- both large multi-site and targeted local cohorts- and prospective clinical trials of HIV-infected persons. This work includes collaborations with the CNS HIV Antiretroviral Therapy Effects Research (CHARTER) study group, the AIDS Clinical Trials Group (ACTG), and the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS).

    An area of primary focus includes the field of translational mitochondrial genomics in HIV. He has been PI of multiple collaborative multi-disciplinary projects funded through NIMH, NINDS, and NIDDK to expand our understanding of the role of genetic variation in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in diverse outcomes of HIV infection and treatment. Current phenotypes of interest are neurocognition and neuroinflammation. The ultimate vision for this work is to provide new knowledge and tools (genomic and/or biological markers) that inform a “precision-medicine” approach to improve treatment and management decisions for clinical care- and thus the length and quality of life- of an aging population of HIV infected persons.

    Dr. Hulgan maintains an active clinical and teaching program, having cared for HIV-infected patients for almost 15 years, and mentoring four to five Infectious Diseases fellows each year at both the Nashville VA and Vanderbilt Comprehensive Care Clinic, and attending regularly on inpatient ID consult and HIV services.

HIV Mentors - Population Epidemiology

  • Timothy R. Sterling, M.D., FACP, FIDSA

    David E. Rogers Professorship
    Professor of Medicine
    Director, Tuberculosis Center
    Division of Infectious Diseases

    Dr. Sterling received his medical degree from the Columbia University College of Physicians Surgeons, completed his residency training in internal medicine at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, and fellowship training in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1998, and moved to Vanderbilt in 2003. He is the director of the Vanderbilt Tuberculosis Center. He is also Director of Epidemiology Research in the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Director of the Epidemiology and Outcomes Unit of the Tennessee Center for AIDS Research.

    Dr. Sterling's research interests are focused on the epidemiology and treatment of tuberculosis and HIV. Particular areas of interest include treatment of latent tuberculosis infection, drug resistance in M. tuberculosis (including multi-drug resistance and fluoroquinolone resistance, both phenotypic and genotypic), and HIV-related tuberculosis. He also has an interest in the immunogenetic predisposition to tuberculosis, particularly extrapulmonary disease. Dr. Sterling receives grant support from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Catherine C McGowan, MD

    Associate Professor of Medicine
    Division of Infectious Diseases

    Dr. McGowan serves as the PI for the Caribbean and Central and South America network for HIV epidemiology (CCASAnet) of the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA). This project creates a shared repository of HIV data from seven adult care sites and six pediatric sites in the Caribbean and Central and South America, and uses the combined data to answer questions about the characteristics of the regional HIV epidemic In addition, she leads training activities in data management, data quality and good clinical practice for CCASAnet-related research.

    In the capacity of a medical volunteer, she provides medical care and teaching of physicians-in-training, in Haiti, Belize, and Cambodia, and she participates in international workshops to develop and revise national guidelines for management of HIV in Haiti.

    As a faculty preceptor in ambulatory HIV care at the Comprehensive Care Clinic she provides training to visiting international physicians and nurse practitioners from Brazil, Haiti, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria and Sudan. 

    Dr. McGowan has instituted and led the process of periodic data monitoring visits and conducted project-driven data audits at sites in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru.

  • Bryan Shepherd, PhD

    Vice Chair of Research
    Department of Biostatistics

    Dr. Shepherd's research interests focus on developing and applying novel statistical methods to studies of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases. Dr. Shepherd received his PhD from the University of Washington in 2005 and subsequently became faculty in the Department of Biostatistics at Vanderbilt. Since then, he has been the lead statistician for the Tennessee Center for AIDS Research (CFAR; formerly the Vanderbilt-Meharry CFAR); the Caribbean, Central and South American network (CCASAnet) of the International Epidemiologic Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA); and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. In these contexts, Dr. Shepherd has collaborated with many HIV scientists on a wide variety of HIV-related topics. Dr. Shepherd has also received funding from the National Institutes of Health to develop novel statistical methods. His statistical research interests include methods for causal inference, approaches for improving estimation with messy observational data, and methods for ordinal data analysis. Dr. Shepherd currently teaches Fundamentals of Probability in the Biostatistics graduate program.

HIV Mentors - Health Services/Operational

  • Consuelo H Wilkins, MD, MSCI

    Executive Director
    Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance
    Associate Professor of Medicine
    Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College

    Consuelo H. Wilkins, MD, MSCI, is the Executive Director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, a strategic partnership between Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her primary responsibilities include developing and supporting collaborative initiatives and programs in biomedical research, community engagement and interprofessional learning. She holds appointments as Associate Professor of Medicine at both Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Meharry Medical College. As co-director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Community-Engaged Research Core in the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, she brings together academic researchers and community members to improve community health and healthcare through community-engaged research. Dr. Wilkins is widely recognized for her work in stakeholder engagement and is Principal Investigator of a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Research Award focused on Improving Patient Engagement and Understanding Its Impact on Research.


  • C. William Wester, M.D., M.P.H.

    Associate Professor of Medicine
    Division of Infectious Diseases

    Dr. Wester received his M.D. from Dartmouth Medical School and M.P.H. from the Harvard School of Public Health.

    An Infectious Disease epidemiologist and internist with extensive HIV/AIDS research experience in resource-limited settings of the world, Dr. Wester's research focuses on implementation science and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with a particular focus on kidney complications.

    Through his faculty appointment at the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), Dr. Wester currently works with the scale-up efforts and site mentoring of large public ART treatment programs in Africa (as Project Director of a large PEPFAR program in Mozambique). Before joining Vanderbilt, he lived and worked in Botswana for eight years, with the Harvard School of Public Health where he helped establish and maintain its national adult ARV treatment program.

  • Muktar Aliyu, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H.

    Associate Director for Research
    Associate Professor of Health Policy and Medicine
    Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health
    Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine
    Meharry Medical College

    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.

Cardiology Mentors

  • Joshua Beckman, MD

    Vascular Medicine
    Professor of Medicine
    Division of Cardiovascular Medicine

    I am interested in the field of Vascular Medicine and the physiological function of arteries in diabetes and risk factors for atherosclerosis.

    I have spent the last 15 years studying the impact of diabetesand its constituents on endothelial function. My role in the proposed research application is coordinate the phenotyping of patients with vascular stiffness and hypertension in response to an anti-inflammatory intervention. This includes the acquisition of experimental measures, data analysis, and participation in preparation of manuscripts. I am fully capable of performing each of the required steps in this application. I have the expertise, leadership, and motivation required to effectively complete this application, performing these measurements for my own research program, starting an ambulatory blood pressure program and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and as the Associate Medical Director of VasCore, the largest ultrasound core laboratory in the United States. I have personally studied the vascular function and phenotype of hundreds of patients, evaluating resistance arteriolar function, carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) and conduit artery and vein function in a wide variety of pathophysiological states. Moreover, I have studied the vascular dysfunction inherent to diabetes for more than 15 years. This current grant application combines a direct extension of my research interests of vascular dysfunction, collaboration with other investigators, and techniques and medications with which I am facile, enabling successful acquisition of answers to this line of inquiry. As PI or co-Investigator on several previous foundation- and NIH-funded grants, I laid the groundwork for the proposed research by mastering effective measures of vascular function and factors relevant to vascular homeostasis in the intact human. I have established strong ties and collaborated with other researchers and produced several peer-reviewed publications from each project. As a result of these previous experiences, I am aware of the importance of frequent communication among project members and of constructing a realistic research plan, timeline, and budget. The current application builds logically on my prior work, and I am proud to work with Dr. Harrison (PI) to provide additional expertise in human vascular physiological evaluation. In summary, I have a demonstrated record of successful and productive research projects in an area of high relevance for the study of the effect of androgen deprivation on the progression of atherosclerosis in intact humans, and look forward to working with the team on this proposed project.

  • Thomas J Wang, MD

    Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
    Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute
    Professor of Medicine
    Gottlieb C. Friesinger II Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine

    My research broadly relates to the interaction of cardiovascular disease and metabolism.  Particular areas of focus are the role of the natriuretic peptide system in cardiometabolic health, the identification of novel biomarkers, and mechanisms of obesity-related cardiac dysfunction.

  • MacRae F Linton, MD

    Dr. Stephen J. Schillig, Jr. and Mary Schillig Chair in Medicine
    Prevention and Lipid Management Program
    Professor of Medicine
    Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
    Professor of Pharmacology

    Dr. Linton is Director of the Vanderbilt Lipid Clinic in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Atherosclerosis Research Unit. His research programs involve basic science and clinical translational investigations of inherited disorders of lipoprotein metabolism, macrophage biology, and atherosclerosis. Dr. Linton’s early research focused on mutations in the APOB gene that cause inherited low levels of cholesterol. Dr. Linton pioneered the use of bone marrow transplantation (BMT) as an approach to investigate the impact of genes expressed by bone marrow-derived cells, including macrophages, on the development of atherosclerosis in murine models. A major focus of the laboratory is the role of macrophage cholesterol efflux, the first step in reverse cholesterol transport, in atherogenesis. We have a long-standing interest in the roles of apoE, apoA-I, SR-BI, and LRP in lipoprotein metabolism, macrophage cholesterol homeostasis and HDL function. The mechanism of formation of dysfunctional HDL in familial hypercholesterolemia is a focus of our current Program Project Grant on HDL Function in Human Disease. Dr. Linton has recently discovered a critical role for macrophage expression of SR-BI in autophagy in the setting of atherosclerosis.

  • David G Harrison, M.D. , F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A

    Division of Clinical Pharmacology
    Department of Medicine
    Betty and Jack Bailey Chair in Cardiology
    Department of Pharmacology
    Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

    Our laboratory has been focused on understanding how inflammation, and in particular, the adaptive immune response contributes to hypertension. Several years ago, we found that T cells are essential for the development of hypertension. We have shown that various hypertensive stimuli, including angiotensin II, norepinephrine and DOCA-salt cause activation of T cells and leads to their accumulation in the perivascular fat and kidneys. Our data indicate that T cell-derived cytokines such as IL-17 and TNF-a enhance vasoconstriction and sodium retention, leading to the hypertensive phenotype. Central signals derived from the circumventricular organs contribute to T cell activation, and manipulation of signals from this region affect T cell activation and the eventual elevation in blood pressure caused by angiotensin II. We are attempting to understand mechanisms involved in T cell activation in response to hypertensive stimuli. We have recently shown that gamma-ketoaldehydes, or isoketals adduct to proteins in hypertensive mice and humans, and that these are immunogenic. These modified proteins seem to act as "auto-antigens" that promote dendritic cell and ultimately T cell activation in hypertension.

  • Howard Kirshner, MD

    Professor and Vice-Chairman of Neurology
    Vanderbilt Stroke Center
    Stroke, Behavioral Neurology
    Department of Neurology

    Dr. Kirshner earned his B.A. from Williams College in 1968, graduating summa cum laude. He received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1972, cum laude, and served as an intern in Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Kirshner spent two years as a staff associate in the Laboratory of Perinatal Physiology at the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke from 1973-1975. He completed his residency in Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, and also served a clinical fellowship at Harvard Medical School from 1975 – 1978. In 1978, Dr. Kirshner joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as assistant professor in neurology. In 1980 he also took a position as assistant professor of the Division of Hearing and Speech Sciences, and became an associate professor in both entities in 1983.

  • Dan M Roden, MDCM

    Senior Vice President for Personalized Medicine
    Sam L. Clark, MD, PhD Endowed Chair
    Professor of Medicine
    Pharmacology and Biomedical Informatics

    Abnormalities of cardiac rhythm are a common and serious public health problem. However, the therapies used to treat arrhythmias are often ineffective, and can sometimes even exacerbate arrhythmias. Research in this laboratory is directed at elucidating mechanisms underlying abnormalities of cardiac rhythm and mechanisms underlying variable responses to antiarrhythmic drug treatments. Since antiarrhythmic drugs affect the function of cardiac ion channels, it is one working hypothesis in the laboratory that variable responses to drug therapy may reflect variable function or expression of genes encoding ion channels or proteins involved in drug disposition. Thus, a major focus of work in the laboratory is elucidation of factor(s) that determine ion channel gene expression in cardiac tissue. Approaches include identification of new genes, identification of DNA polymorphisms and characterization of their functional effects on disease and drug responses, and modulation of expression in cultured heart cells (e.g. by antisense) and gene knockout in mice.

Pulmonary Mentors -

  • Gordon R Bernard, MD

    Melinda Owen Bass Chair in Medicine
    Department of Medicine
    Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Science
    Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
    Chairman, Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee
    Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine

    Dr. Bernard received his undergraduate degree from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette in 1972 and his M.D from Louisiana State University in 1978. He trained in Internal Medicine at the University of Kentucky and completed subspecialty training at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine from 1976-1981, where he was the Parker B. Francis Fellow in Pulmonary Medicine and completed his Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship.

  • E. Wesley Ely, MD, MPH

    Professor of Medicine
    Associate Director of Aging Research
    Department of Medicine
    Veterans’ Affairs Geriatric Research Education Clinical Center (GRECC)
    Tennessee Valley Healthcare System

    Dr. E. Wesley Ely, MD, MPH is a sub-specialist in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine with a focus in Geriatrics, who conducts patient-oriented, health services research as a Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Tulane University and earned his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine and master’s in public health degree from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. There he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) medical honors society. Dr. Ely’s research has focused on improving the care and outcomes of critically ill patients with severe sepsis and respiratory failure, with special emphasis on the problems facing older patients in the ICU (e.g., weaning from mechanical ventilation, delirium in the ICU, neuropsychological and functional deficits post ICU care). He was elected to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and serves as the Associate Director of Aging Research for the VA Tennessee Valley Geriatric Research and Education Clinical Center (GRECC). As the founder of the Vanderbilt ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Study Group, he currently serves as the principal investigator for the Coordinating Center’s ongoing clinical trials in sedation and delirium and post-ICU cognitive impairment. Dr. Ely designs and leads a team of investigators in conducting both large cohort studies and randomized controlled clinical trials seeking both better understanding and management of critically ill patients in the ICU. Among other studies, Dr. Ely is currently the principal investigator of two large NIH-sponsored and VA-sponsored cohort investigations in ICU patients, with a focus on delirium and sedative/analgesic drug exposure and acquired cognitive and functional impairment in survivors of the critical illness. Dr Ely has written or co-authored more than 200 articles, book chapters and editorials. For more details of his work, please contact Angie Williams ( for a copy of his current Curriculum Vitae. He is especially thankful to have the privilege of working with such a talented and inter-disciplinary team of professionals from dozens of different training backgrounds to conduct this research in such an important public health domain. Importantly, he is married to Dr. Kim Ely, a surgical pathologist at Vanderbilt (herself a graduate of The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tulane University School of Medicine and also a member of AOA), with whom he has 3 daughters who are together the pride of his life.

  • Tina V Hartert, MD, MPH

    Professor of Medicine
    Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine & Public Health
    Center for Asthma Research
    Assistant Vice Chancellor for Translational Science
    Lulu H. Owen Chair in Medicine

    Tina Hartert, MD, MPH received her BA with honors from Brown University, her MD and MPH from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She completed her Internal Medicine residency and chief residency at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and her Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine fellowship at Vanderbilt. She is a member of the scientific and medical honors societies, Sigma Xi, Alpha Omega Alpha, and was elected into the American Society of Clinical Investigation in 2009. She is currently a Professor of Medicine and the Director of the Center for Asthma Research, and serves the institution in the role of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Translational Science. She attends a weekly general pulmonary outpatient clinic at The Vanderbilt Clinic, and is an in-patient attending on the pulmonary and critical care services at Vanderbilt University Hospital.    

    Dr. Hartert’s research focuses on asthma and allergic diseases, which are among the most common chronic diseases of both children and adults.  She firmly believes that the long-term solution to the asthma epidemic is primary and secondary disease prevention.  Thus, the major scientific programs of the Center for Asthma Research are to identify causal risk factors for asthma, understand their mechanism of action, and develop and test primary and secondary prevention strategies for asthma and allergic diseases.  The Center's current areas of focus for primary and secondary prevention include the role of early life respiratory tract infections, dietary factors, the microbiome, and medication exposures and utilization.  The Center is comprised of a group of highly collaborative and talented investigators, post-doctoral fellows, nurses, research assistants, and students who share a common goal to improve the health of people worldwide. Dr. Hartert is currently supported by several extramural NIH research grants as well as an NIH mid-career investigator award.

  • Lorraine B Ware, MD

    Professor of Medicine
    Division of Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine

    Our lab does basic, translational and clinical research on the role of the alveolar epithelium in the pathogenesis and resolution of acute lung injury and the acute respiratory distress syndrome. Current projects include studies of the role of cell-free hemoglobin in the pathogenesis of lung epithelial injury in acute lung injury, investigation of the role of alveolar epithelium in modulating intra-alveolar fibrin deposition in the injured lung, translational studies of biomarkers for diagnosis and prognosis in acute lung injury, and studies of donor management for lung transplantation.

  • Pierre P Massion, MD

    Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Medicine
    Professor of Medicine
    Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine

    1. Role of chromosome 3q in lung cancer. Selection of candidate genes driving a genomic amplicon on Chromosome 3q. Focus on functional genomics for candidate driver genes on chromosome 3q such as p63 and PIK3CA. RO1 funded. 2. Proteomic approach to preinvasive lung cancer. Protein profiling of preinvasive lesions in bronchial biopsy and invasive lung cancer by MALDI MS; Identification of discriminatory proteins by LC-MSMS proteomics; Image analysis. funded by RO1 and SPORE in lung cancer. 3. Lung cancer biomarker discovery and validation. Identification of discriminatory proteins between lung cancer and controls after multidimensional mass spectrometry analysis of biological specimen and Phage-display recombinant antibody library (serum, plasma or pleural fluid). Funded by Vanderbilt SPORE in lung cancer, VA Merit review grant, ASCO research award and EDRN Clinical Validation Center (U01). 4. Inflammation and cancer. We are working on 3 proteins. PPAR delta in lung tumorigenesis (Pedchenko, 2008), Role of serum amyloid A in regulating apoptosis in lung cancer cells, and pIgR as a potential tumor suppressor gene in lung cancer (Polosukhin, 2007). Work supported by Damon Runyon Foundation and a Vanderbilt Discovery Grant.

  • John H Newman, MD

    Elsa S. Hanigan Chair in Pulmonary Medicine
    Professor of Medicine
    Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine

    Dr. Newman is a 1971 graduate of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He completed internal medicine residency at Columbia and the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Pulmonary and Critical Care at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in 1979. He has been on the faculty at Vanderbilt since 1979. He was Chief of Pulmonary Medicine at St. Thomas Hospital from 1985 to 1995, and Chief of Medicine, Nashville VA Medical Center from 1995 to 2003. His professional interests are in medical education, consultative pulmonary medicine and critical care. He has special expertise in pulmonary hypertension.

Hematology & Sleep Mentors

  • Michael Rutledge DeBaun, MD, MPH

    Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine
    Vice Chair for Clinical and Translational Research
    J.C. Peterson Chair in Pediatric Pulmonology
    Director, Vanderbilt-Meharry Center for Excellence in Sickle Cell Disease

    DeBaun's research focuses on understanding cerebrovascular injury in children with sickle cell disease, and improving management of their care. His efforts also aim to better define the impact and biological mechanisms by which asthma increases sickle cell disease morbidity and mortality. He is now leading an international collaboration to develop the first longitudinal cohort of children with sickle cell anemia who have been evaluated with repeated pulmonary function tests and sleep studies. In addition, DeBaun is an expert in genetic cancer predisposition syndromes. His work in this area provides the basis of standard care for children with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS) and has become the international standard for management of this syndrome. DeBaun and his multidisciplinary team were the first to demonstrate the association between the genesis of BWS, congenital malformation syndromes and epigenetic modifications in children born after in vitro fertilization.

  • David Gailani, MD

    Ernest W. Goodpasture Chair in Experimental Pathology for Translational Research
    Professor of Pathology & Microbiology & Immunology

    A dynamic balance exists between the processes that form a blood clot at the site of blood vessel injury (coagulation) and the processes responsible for removing the clot once healing has occurred (fibrinolysis). This equilibrium, referred to as hemostasis, is required to prevent excessive blood loss from a wound (bleeding) while avoiding occlusion of normal blood vessels (thrombosis). My laboratory is involved in studying the contribution of certain plasma clotting factors to the formation of fibrin clots in normal and pathologic conditions. We are particularly interested in the plasma serine proteases factors IX and XI. These enzymes appear to be required for consolidating the hemostatic process after initial clot formation. Excessive activity of either protein has been linked to formation of pathologic blood vessel thrombosis. Utilizing a combination of site-directed mutagenesis, production of recombinant proteins in mammalian tissue culture, enzymology and classic coagulation assays we are investigation structure/function relationships as they relate to the activation, the activity, and binding interactions involving factors IX and XI. We are applying similar approaches to investigations of the proteases responsible for converting inactive factor XI to the active form factor XIa.

    More recently, we have been investigating the contributions of factors IX and XI to hemostasis and thrombosis in vivo, using factor IX and factor XI deficient mice. These proteins appear to play important roles in the formation of abnormal occlusive thrombi in mouse models, and may be attractive targets for drugs to prevent or treat blood vessel thrombosis in human patients.  

  • Beth Malow, MD, MS

    Burry Chair in Cognitive Childhood Development
    Professor of Neurology and Pediatrics
    Director, Vanderbilt Sleep Disorders Division

    Interrelationship of sleep and neurological disease. Dr. Malow is board certified in Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology and Sleep Medicine, and she has published extensively in the field of sleep medicine. She fosters multidisciplinary collaborations examining the relation of sleep and sleep disorders to a variety of neurological, medical, and psychiatric disorders, including developmental disabilities, e.g., autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Williams syndrome.

Topic Experts

  • Eric P. Skaar, PhD, MPH

    Director, Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation (VI4)
    Director, Division of Molecular Pathogenesis
    Ernest W. Goodpasture Chair in Pathology
    Vice Chair for Basic Research
    Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology
    Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology

    In order for bacterial pathogens to cause disease, they must obtain nutrients inside their vertebrate hosts. The primary nutrients that are limiting to the growth of bacteria inside vertebrates are metals. This is due to the fact that vertebrates have developed numerous metal chelation systems that serve as a host defense against microbial infection. This process is called nutritional immunity. My laboratory is interested in identifying the host and bacterial factors that are involved in this battle for metal during the pathogenesis of infectious diseases. We use techniques from biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and chemistry to answer fundamental questions pertaining to the host-pathogen interaction. In particular, we focus on diseases caused by the important human pathogens Staphylococcus aureus (Staph infections), Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax), and Acinetobacter baumannii (leading cause of hospital infections and battlefield wound infections). The long term goal of our research is to develop novel therapies to treat microbial diseases.

  • Jeffrey Rathmell, PhD

    MPI Associate Director
    Associate Director
    Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation (VI4)
    Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Immunobiology
    Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology
    Professor of Cancer Biology
    Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology

    Dr. Rathmell studies mechanisms by which extracellular cues influence lymphocyte death and differentiation in efforts to control inflammatory diseases and leukemia.  Following undergraduate studies on Biology at the University of Northern Iowa, his earned a PhD in Immunology on B cell tolerance and death mechanisms at Stanford University.  In postdoctoral studies at the University of Chicago and University of Pennsylvania, he showed that lymphocyte metabolism was dynamically regulated by growth factors and controls apoptotic mechanisms.  He began at Duke University in 2003 in the departments of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and Immunology, as well as a member of the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute.  Dr. Rathmell's group showed that the metabolism of T cells is highly dynamic and that specific metabolic programs are essential for each functional T cell subsets. These fundamental metabolic distinctions may now allow modulation of selective populations of lymphocytes in inflammatory diseases and anti-tumor immunity.   He joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in 2015 as Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology to direct the Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology and co-lead the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center Host Tumor Interactions Program and now is Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation and co-leader of the Molecular Pathology and Immunology PhD training program.

  • Hilary Tindle, MD, MPH

    William Anderson Spickard Jr., M.D. Chair in Medicine
    Associate Professor of Medicine
    General Internal Medicine and Public Health


    Dr. Hilary A. Tindle is a physician scientist, Associate Professor of Medicine, Founding Director of the ViTAL Center for Vanderbilt Tobacco, Addiction and Lifestyle, and has been endowed with the William Anderson Spickard Jr., M.D., Chair in Medicine.  As a nationally-recognized expert in smoking cessation, Dr. Tindle has served as the PI of two NIH-sponsored comparative effectiveness RCTs for smoking cessation and as the site PI for a 3rd NIH-sponsored multi-center RCT. In the past 3 years she has presided over the successful recruitment and retention of over 1200 research participants. Dr. Tindle is working with programs at Vanderbilt, such as BioVU and the PCORI-sponsored Clinical Data Research Network, that facilitate her vision of applying a patient-centered approach to tobacco control for large populations. Her new clinical program, the Tobacco Treatment Service, will leverage the strengths of the EHR and the Tennessee state quitline through an “eReferral” program to further clinical, educational, and research efforts. These efforts mirror and extend the large scale treatment and eReferral initiatives that Dr. Tindle founded and continues to foster in Pennsylvania with UPMC and the PA state quitline. She is also working with Vanderbilt investigators to launch a CMS-sponsored coordinated care approach to tobacco control in 2015.

  • Frank Harrell, Jr, PhD

    Founding Chair
    Professor of Biostatistics

    My areas of interest are predictive modeling and model validation, missing data, diagnostic and prognostic research, health services research, cohort studies, clinical trials, cardiovascular disease, and reproducible research. Dr. Harrell received his PhD in Biostatistics from the University of North Carolina in 1979. He was on the faculty of Duke University for 17 years and of the University of Virginia for 7 years. He founded the Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1996 and the Department of Biostatistics at Vanderbilt University in 2003. He has taught biostatistics and research methodology to hundreds of physicians since 1980 and has been a mentor or co-mentor to several physician investigators. He is an Associate Editor for Statistics in Medicine, a member of Faculty of 1000 Medicine, and a member of the policy advisory board for the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. His specialties are development of accurate prognostic and diagnostic models, model validation, clinical trials, observational clinical research, technology evaluation, quantifying predictive accuracy, missing data imputation, clinical trials, pharmaceutical safety, flexible Bayesian design and analysis, and statistical graphics and reporting. He has worked on a large number of clinical trials.Dr. Harrell is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and winner of its 2014 WJ Dixon Award for Excellence in Statistical Consulting. He was the 2008 Mitchell Lecturer for the Department of Statistics, Glasgow University. He is the 2012 Presidential Invited Lecturer for WNAR, International Biometric Society. He was an FDA expert consultant and a member of the NIH Biostatistical Methods and Research Design Study Section. He is the leader of the Design, Biostatistics, and Clinical Research Ethics program for the Vanderbilt NIH CTSA and is the director of the Statistics and Methodology Core for the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. He is the PI of the NHLBI multinational ISCHEMIA trial DSMB statistical center. He is the author of the first and third most cited papers (on development of prognostic models) in the history of Statistics in Medicine and has 217 peer-reviewed publications (5 with >1000 citations).

  • Robert Dittus, MD, MPH

    Institute for Medicine and Public Health
    Associate Vice Chancellor for Public Health and Health Care
    Senior Associate Dean for Population Health Sciences
    Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center (GRECC)
    Quality Scholars Program
    Institute for Community Health
    Center for Improving Patient Safety
  • Katherine E Hartmann, MD, PhD

    Vice President for Research Integration
    Associate Dean
    Clinical & Translational Scientist Development
    Obstetrics & Gynecology & Medicine
    Lucius E. Burch Chair
    Reproductive Physiology & Family Planning

    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. 

  • Marie Griffin, MD, MPH

    Health Policy
    Vanderbilt University Master of Public Health Program

    Current research on vaccine preventable diseases: the impact of conjugate pneumococcal vaccine on pneumonia, effectiveness of influenza vaccines in children, and the impact of HPV vaccine on pre-cancerous cervical lesions.
    Current comparative effectiveness research: therapies for type 2 diabetes and impact on cardiovascular and kidney disease.

  • Russell L. Rothman, MD, MPP

    Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, & Health Policy
    Vice President for Population Health Research
    Internal Medicine & Pediatrics Section
    Center for Health Services Research

    Dr. Rothman's current research focuses on improving care for adult and pediatric patients with diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. He has been funded by the NIH, American Diabetes Association, and other sources to examine the role of literacy and numeracy in patients with diabetes and obesity. He has been the Principal Investigator on over $35 million in extramural funding and has authored over 100 manuscripts. He is currently the Principal Investigator on several NIH funded studies addressing literacy and health communication in obesity prevention and diabetes. 

    He is also the Principal Investigator of the PCORI funded Mid-South Clinical Data Research Network which engages over 50 hospitals and 1,000’s of ambulatory practices reaching patients across the nation. He is also PI of the new CMS funded Mid-South Practice Transformation Network which is engaging 4,000 clinicians in quality improvement. Dr. Rothman currently serves on the PCORI Health Disparities Advisory Board. Dr. Rothman also serves on the PCORI PCORnet Executive Steering Committee with is overseeing the development of a national network to support comparative effectiveness research and pragmatic clinical trials, with over $250 million dollars committed from PCORI to date.

    Dr. Rothman serves as the Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the ADAPTABLE study, a $14 million dollar pragmatic clinical trial enrolling 20,000 patients to evaluate the optimal dose of aspirin in secondary prevention.

    He is also on the Board of Directors as Vice President for Research for the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare, and is the Chair of the 2015 International Conference for Communication in Healthcare. Rothman has served as a reviewer on multiple NIH study sections, including the NIH Special Emphasis Panel on Health Literacy and has been a Pfizer Visiting Professor in Health Literacy at several academic institutions.

    As Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Health Services Research, Dr. Rothman oversees a Center that engages over 140 faculty across the University engaged in over $50 million annual dollars of funded research related to health services research, implementation science, behavioral research, health disparities research, quality improvement research and other areas aimed at improving health outcomes. 

  • Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSC, SFHM

    Associate Professor and Chief
    Division of General Internal Medicine and Public Health
    Associate Director
    Effective Health Communication Program

    Sunil Kripalani, MD, MSc, SFHM, is Associate Professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He serves as Director of the Center for Clinical Quality and Implementation Research, Director of the Effective Health Communication Core, and Co-Director of the Center for Effective Health Communication. He also founded and served for 8 years as Chief of the Section of Hospital Medicine.

    Dr. Kripalani has developed, implemented, and evaluated numerous interventions to improve the quality of patient care, with a focus on health communication, medication management, and transitions of care. His research also seeks to improve the effectiveness and value of health care delivery through implementation and evaluation of evidence-based practice.

    Dr. Kripalani has served as a member of numerous national committees and task forces related to health literacy, including being Chair of the NIH grant review panels for health literacy research, and leading a white paper on Organizational Health Literacy sponsored by the Institute of Medicine. He has expertise in social and behavioral determinants of health and currently serves as PI of the Vanderbilt Inpatient Cohort Study (VICS), which is examining the effects of health literacy, social support, and other factors on transitions of care, quality of life, functional status, and cardiovascular outcomes.

    Dr. Kripalani is active in the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM), where he has held leadership roles in the Continuity of Care Task Force and Handoff Standards Task Force. In 2005, he received the SHM Young Investigator Award of Excellence. In 2009, he was inducted in the inaugural class of Senior Fellows in Hospital Medicine. He was named a Top Hospitalist by the American College of Physicians in 2012. 

  • Yu Shyr, Phd

    Harold L. Moses Chair in Cancer Research
    Department of Biostatistics
    Vanderbilt Center for Quantitative Sciences
    Vanderbilt Technologies for Advanced Genomics Analysis and Research Design (VANGARD)
    Associate Director for Quantitative Sciences Integration
    Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center
    Department of Biostatistics, Biomedical Informatics, and Health Policy

    Dr. Shyr is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and FDA advisory committee voting member. He has delivered more than 200 abstracts at professional meetings and published more than 400 peer-reviewed papers in a variety of journals (h-index = 83). He is the member of the US National Academy of Medicine (IOM) Committee on Policy Issues in the Clinical Development of Biomarkers for Molecularly Targeted Therapies. He has served as a member of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) Developmental Therapeutics Study Section, Cancer Immunopathology and Immunotherapy Study Section and the Population and Patient-oriented Training Study Section; he also has served on the epidemiology section of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Breast Cancer Research Program (BCRP), and Dr. Shyr is the co-course director for the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Vail Workshop. In addition, he has presented workshops worldwide, in countries such as Belgium, Canada, Germany, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Taiwan. He currently serves on 14 external advisory boards, is the associate editor of JAMA Oncology and the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, directs the biostatistics/bioinformatics cores for the NCI-funded Vanderbilt University Breast Cancer SPORE and GI Cancer SPORE, and is the principle investigator of the NCI U01 Barrett’s Esophagus Translational Research Network Coordinating Center (BETRNetCC).

  • Joshua C. Denny, MD, MS

    Professor of Biomedical Informatics
    Vice President
    Personalized Medicine

    Josh Denny, M.D., M.S., FACMI is a Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine. He completed an internal medicine residency as a Tinsley Harrison Scholar at Vanderbilt. His interest in medical informatics began while in medical school with the development of a concept-based curriculum database to improve medical education. Other interests include natural language processing, accurate phenotype identification from electronic medical record data, and using the electronic medical record to discover genome-phenome associations to better understand disease and drug response, including the development of the EMR-based phenome-wide association (PheWAS).

    He has been involved with the NIH Precision Medicine Initiative and currently leads the All of Us(sm) Research Program Data and Research Center.  He is also PI for Vanderbilt sites in the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network, Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN), and the Implementing Genomics Into Practice (IGNITE) Network.  At Vanderbilt, he is also part of the PREDICT (Pharmacogenomic Resource for Enhanced Decisions in Care and Treatment)program, which prospectively genotypes patients to tailor drug response.