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2010: Year in review

by Dec. 23, 2010, 10:37 AM

Editor’s note — the following, in no particular order, is a selection of news highlights that made headlines. It is not intended to be comprehensive and all-inclusive, but a trip down memory lane of the events of 2010.

Research Advances
In Memoriam
Prominent Speakers
Comings and Goings
Rankings and Lists


VUCast Special: Do You Believe in Magic…

Want to feel good deep down inside? Meet a child who will melt your heart. Watch the inspiration of Vanderbilt students who turned caring for others into a business. And, remember how we all came together in the face of disaster. It’s VUCast’s special year-ender. Happy New Year.

In the News

  • Vanderbilt partnering with Metro Nashville Public Schools to offer new master’s program for urban teachers
    A primary goal of the new program, “Master’s in Teaching and Learning in Urban Schools,” is recruiting and retaining excellent teachers who continue teaching in MNPS schools after they graduate. The program will focus on improving instruction, improving student outcomes, changing assessment practices and creating communities of reflective committed teachers dedicated to working with their MNPS colleagues to foster systemic improvement.
  • Vanderbilt Board elects Mark Dalton to succeed Martha Ingram as chairman in 2011
    Ingram, who has partnered with three chancellors for more than a decade to spearhead and support some of Vanderbilt’s most ambitious initiatives, will become an emerita member of the board beginning in the summer of 2011.
  • VU responds to historic May Floods
    A flood relief website was created (www.vanderbilt.edu/flood) to serve as a gathering place for the latest information; The Employee Needs Assessment survey helped administrators determine about 1,300 employees had been adversely affected by the flood in some way; The Flood Resource and Coordination Center was set up; a two-week paid leave was extended to flood victims; Work Life Connections/EAP offered counseling services to flood victims;  the Vanderbilt Credit Union offered special flood relief loans;  and employees held a swap meet May 6 and 7 and set up an online classifieds page to share clothing, beds, toys and other items with those in need.
  • Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt to expand
    Plans were unveiled to build an expansion to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt that will add additional acute, neonatal intensive care and medical-surgical beds, and also allow for increased space to house a growing number of physician scientists who care for Middle Tennessee’s youngest patients.
  • A major renovation transforms Central Library into a “livable” learning destination
    The first thing you notice when stepping into Central Library’s new fourth-floor lobby is a sense of light and space. Gone is the dark, cluttered entryway that more than one student described as “cave-like” on user surveys last year, replaced by more room, new flooring and natural light.
  • U2 to perform at Vanderbilt Stadium July 2
    The Dublin, Ireland, band, renowned for anthems including Sunday Bloody Sunday and Bullet the Blue Sky, will perform at a show beginning at 7 p.m. The opening act will be Florence and The Machine. It will be U2’s first return to Nashville and Vanderbilt since Dec. 2, 1981.

Research Advances

  • Scientists transplant nose of mosquito, advance fight against malaria
    Scientists at Vanderbilt and Yale universities have successfully transplanted most of the “nose” of the mosquito that spreads malaria into frog eggs and fruit flies and are employing these surrogates to combat the spread of the deadly and debilitating disease that afflicts 500 million people.
  • Elderly’s protection from H1N1 studied
    Reporting in the Journal of Virology, James Crowe Jr., Jens Krauseand their colleagues report that antibodies isolated from elderly survivors of the 1918 “Spanish flu” pandemic also bound to and inhibited the 2009 H1N1 virus in laboratory and animal experiments.
  • New university research news channel, Futurity, goes global
    Vanderbilt was one of the founding members from the Association of American Universities (AAU) – a nonprofit organization of leading public and private research universities in the United States and Canada – whichlaunched the site last fall in response to the dramatic decline in the traditional media’s coverage of newsworthy scientific and academic activities.
  • Official opening of virtual control room allows Vanderbilt physicists to participate in world’s largest particle accelerator without leaving campus
    On Tuesday, March 30, Vanderbilt’s high-energy physicists are opening a virtual control room that will allow them to participate fully in the experiments that will be conducted on the world’s largest particle accelerator, the $9 billion Large Hadron Collider located in Switzerland. The LHC is beginning its research program on Tuesday and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), which operates the machine, has invited the world’s science press to cover the event.
  • Vanderbilt physicist plays pivotal role in discovery of new super-heavy element
    Vanderbilt physicist Joe Hamilton played a key role in the discovery of element 117, a new super-heavy element that has been created and identified by an international scientific team.
  • Personalized cancer treatment
    Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center launched its new Personalized Cancer Medicine Initiative in July, becoming the first cancer center in the Southeast and one of the first in the nation to offer cancer patients routine “genotyping” of their tumors at the DNA level. This information will then be used to personalize treatment by matching the appropriate therapy to the genetic changes, or mutations, that are driving the cancer’s growth.
  • Historic heart valve surgery
    In July, doctors with the Vanderbilt Pediatric Heart Institute performed Tennessee’s first procedures to replace heart valves without open-heart surgery. The technique, called transcatheter pulmonary valve replacement, uses new technology to position the heart valve into place using a catheter placed in the vein of the leg and then up into the heart where it is deployed.
  • Landmark national project on law and neuroscience to be based at Vanderbilt
    Vanderbilt University professor Owen Jones, who is one of the nation’s few professors of both law and biology, has been named director of the national Law and Neuroscience Project, which is now headquartered at Vanderbilt. The project, an interdisciplinary network, examines the impact of modern neuroscience on criminal law.
  • Pharmacogenomics
    In September, VUMC received three major federal grants, totaling $18.2 million over five years, to support studies of pharmacogenomics — how genetic variation affects individual responses to medication.
  • Teacher performance pay alone does not raise student test scores
    Rewarding teachers with bonus pay, in the absence of any other support programs, does not raise student test scores, according to a new study issued by the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of education and human development in partnership with the RAND Corporation.
  • New type of liquid crystal promises to improve performance of digital displays
    Chemists at Vanderbilt University have created a new class of liquid crystals with unique electrical properties that could improve the performance of digital displays used on everything from digital watches to flat panel televisions.
  • Long-term child health study
    VUMC is recruiting mothers and their unborn babies for the largest long-term study of child health in U.S. history. Vanderbilt plans to recruit 1,000 women over the next four years. Overall, the national study will track 100,000 children from before birth to age 21.
  • BioVU reaches milestone
    In early November, BioVU, Vanderbilt’s repository of human DNA, reached another significant milestone — it now contains more than 100,000 specific samples. This makes the databank one of the nation’s most comprehensive collections of human DNA that is linked to searchable, electronic health information.

In Memoriam:

  • John N. Lukens Jr., 78, the founding director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Vanderbilt University and professor, emeritus, died at home on Jan. 12.
  • Rendigs Thomas Fels, 92, professor of economics, emeritus, died on Jan. 24. He taught at Vanderbilt for 42 years, from 1948 until his retirement in 1982.
  • Frank Chytil, 85, distinguished emeritus professor of biochemistry, died Jan. 31.
  • Richard A. “Pete” Peterson, one of the first professors to research country music from a sociological perspective, died Feb. 4. He was 77.
  • Gregory R. Mundy, director of the Vanderbilt Center in Bone Biology, died Feb. 25 after an extended illness.
  • Charles K. Megibben, 73, who played a major role in developing the mathematics department of Vanderbilt University into a major research center, died March 2.
  • Dorothy Legros, 22, a senior in the College of Arts and Science, died March 8 during Spring Break in Hampton, Ga., near Atlanta.
  • Freeda Simmons, 50, an Emergency Department nurse, was killed in a motorcycle accident on March 15.
  • Ouida Tucker, 93, a Vanderbilt nurse and administrator for 37 years and a 1934 graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, died March 26.
  • Harris D. “Pete” Riley Jr., 85, professor of pediatrics, emeritus, at Vanderbilt University, died March 26.
  • Virginia L. “Jenny” Robison, physical therapist and a 36-year employee of VUMC, died March 29.
  • Paul Hoswell Hardacre, 94, a retired Vanderbilt University professor noted for his expertise on the Stuart period of English history, died on April 10 in Pasadena, Calif.
  • Angela Hsiau-mei Lin, 40, a German professor and musician, died April 14 after a long illness.
  • James Robert Wesson, 88, a mathematician at Vanderbilt University and author of an influential algebra textbook, died April 25 at McKendree Health Center.
  • Ellen Johnson, 52, administrative director of operations for Vanderbilt Medical Group in Williamson County, died July 4.
  • Frederick B. Rentschler, 70, a member of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust who ran companies including Northwest Airlines and Hunt-Wesson during his career, died July 6 in Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • David T. Karzon, 90, professor of pediatrics, emeritus, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center from 1968 to 1986, and the founder of Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, now the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, died Thursday, Aug. 26.
  • Donna Williams, a nursing administrator at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, died Oct. 7.
  • Richard Nagareda, 47, the David Daniels Allen Professor of Law and director of the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program at Vanderbilt University Law School, died at his home on Oct. 8.
  • Roy Skinner, 80, who won 278 basketball games, compiled an 81.5 percent winning percentage at Memorial Gym and recruited the first black athlete to the Southeastern Conference, died Oct. 25 of respiratory failure.

Prominent Speakers:


Comings and Goings


Rankings and Lists


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