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Research at Vanderbilt

Marnett named to lead VUMC Research

by | Posted on Thursday, May. 29, 2014 — 11:32 AM

Lawrence J. “Larry” Marnett, Ph.D., the Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research and University Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry, has been named Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s next associate vice chancellor for Research and senior associate dean for Biomedical Sciences, effective Sept. 1.

Lawrence J. “Larry” Marnett, Ph.D.

Marnett will succeed Susan Wente, Ph.D., who held the position for the past five years, as she transitions into new responsibilities as provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs for Vanderbilt University.

Marnett, who is also director of the A.B. Hancock, Jr. Memorial Laboratory for Cancer Research, director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Chemical Biology, and professor of Pharmacology, has been a member of Vanderbilt’s faculty since 1989.

In his new role Marnett will support the operations and strategic development of basic sciences throughout the Medical Center, including its many programs in basic sciences education. And in coordination with the Provost’s office, Marnett will also support cross-institutional collaboration for shared institutes and centers.

He will work closely with other institutional leaders on the University’s newly unveiled strategic plan and how it will strengthen basic sciences across the institution.

“I want to welcome Dr. Marnett into this new role. Larry possesses both a distinguished career as an investigator and a rich tradition as someone with a passion for nurturing young scientists. He also brings a wealth of institutional knowledge and proven leadership experience, essential for this critical role at a time that is so pivotal in our future,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“I also want to express my sincere appreciation to Dr. Wente for her years of outstanding service to the Medical Center and look forward to continuing to work with her in her new role as provost. Under Susan’s tenure, research and education in the biomedical sciences have truly flourished.”

As associate vice chancellor for Research, Marnett will be broadly responsible for promoting research discoveries, providing the infrastructure necessary to advance the research enterprise and strategic planning for the Medical Center and joint University basic science research and educational programs.

Responsibilities associated with his role as senior associate dean of Biomedical Sciences include leading basic science education and post-doctorate training for more than 600 graduate students, more than 500 post-doctoral fellows and shared oversight for several trans-institutional graduate programs.

“Larry is a strong and confident leader with deep commitments to our trans-institutional efforts,” said Wente. “He will be highly effective in carrying forward our current initiatives, as well as bringing enthusiasm, dedication and expertise to the visions for the discovery research enterprise. I am truly looking forward to continuing to work with him.”

Marnett received a Bachelor of Science from Rockhurst College and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Duke University. He did his postdoctoral work at the Karolinska Institute and Wayne State University. He began his academic career at Wayne State University where he rose to the position of professor of Chemistry before joining Vanderbilt in 1989.

Among the leadership positions he has held since joining Vanderbilt include associate director for Basic Research Programs for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center from 1993 – 2002. In 2002, Marnett was named the founding director for the Institute of Chemical Biology and has held this position since.

Marnett’s research focuses on the role of the enzyme cyclooxygenase-2 in cancer and inflammation, as well as on the contribution of oxidative metabolism to the generation of DNA damage and mutation.

His laboratory has used structure-based approaches in conjunction with medicinal chemistry to design selective cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors as potential anti-inflammatory, cancer preventive and anti-anxiety agents.

Marnett has received awards including the Wayne State University President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, the American Cancer Society Faculty Research Award, the Sigma Xi Research Award, the Wayne State University Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award, an Outstanding Investigator Award and a MERIT Award from the National Cancer Institute, the Harvey Branscomb Distinguished Professorship, the Stanley Cohen Prize at Vanderbilt University, the first Founders Award of the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Toxicology, and the first George and Christine Sosnovsky Prize for Cancer Research by the American Chemical Society.

Marnett is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Chemical Society and is the author of over 450 research publications and 14 patents. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the American Chemical Society journal, Chemical Research in Toxicology. He has trained 42 Ph.D.s and 49 postdoctoral fellows.

“I am grateful to Jeff Balser and his senior leadership team for this opportunity,” Marnett said.

“Vanderbilt is one of the top academic medical centers in the world comprising exceptional investigators, departments and centers. We are also part of a great University that is committed to integration of basic research and education across campus. The recent strategic plan establishes fostering trans-institutional initiatives as one of its top four goals.

“The opportunity to participate in that effort at an institutional level and to help build a sustainable and robust model for basic biomedical research is exciting,” he said.

Contact:
John Howser, (615) 322-4747
john.howser@vanderbilt.edu


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