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Research News at Vanderbilt

Creech to direct Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program

Buddy Creech, M.D., MPH, associate professor of Pediatrics, has been named director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program (VVRP) in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

Buddy Creech, M.D., MPH

He succeeds Kathryn Edwards, M.D., Sarah H. Sell and Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Pediatrics, who has directed the VVRP since its inception in 2001. Edwards will continue to serve as Scientific Director of the VVRP, providing scientific expertise to the unit’s mission of conducting clinical studies of new vaccines and therapeutics, laboratory studies of the host immune response to infection and new vaccines and training young infectious diseases investigators and vaccine scientists.

The VVRP is home to the NIH-funded Vanderbilt Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU), one of nine VTEUs in the United States. The VTEUs, in existence since the 1950s, are frequently called upon to evaluate high-profile vaccine candidates, such as those targeting malaria, smallpox and pertussis.

The VTEU system is also a vital component of pandemic influenza preparedness, conducting pivotal studies of seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines. During the 2009 pandemic, unit investigators tested the new influenza A/H1N1 vaccine in individuals of all ages.

In his role as director of the VVRP, Creech will serve as principal investigator for the VTEU and oversee VVRP activities. The VVRP is also supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Network, led by Edwards, which aims to rigorously evaluate adverse events associated with vaccine administration. Vanderbilt currently serves as the coordinating center for all CISA Clinical Case Reviews.

“Dr. Creech will do a magnificent job in his new role as director of the VVRP,” said Terence Dermody, M.D., Dorothy Overall Wells Professor of Pediatrics and director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. “He was trained by Dr. Edwards and is well prepared to take on this important leadership opportunity.

“We are so grateful to Dr. Edwards for establishing the VVRP and guiding the unit for the first 15 years of its existence. Vanderbilt has been a leader in vaccine science in large part through Dr. Edwards’ concerted efforts,” Dermody said.