Rizwan Hamid, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, has been named chief of the Division of Pediatric Genetics and Genomic Medicine, effective Jan. 1, 2017.
He will replace John Phillips, M.D., David T. Karzon Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, who has led the division for more than three decades.
“We are delighted that Rizwan will be leading this division as it fulfills its critical role in our service, teaching, and research missions,” said Steven A. Webber, MBChB, MRCP, James C. Overall Professor and chair of the Department of Pediatics and Pediatrician-in-Chief of Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Hamid, who received his undergraduate degree from Allama Iqbal Medical College, University of Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan, and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt, is an internationally recognized expert in the person-to-person variation in complex human disease presentation and outcome. He has successfully modeled these intriguing questions in two complex and fatal human diseases, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and hereditary pulmonary arterial hypertension (HPAH).
His clinical focus is on the treatment of patients with rare genetic and metabolic diseases and in his role as director of the Genetics Outreach Clinic Program, helped expand Vanderbilt’s footprint well into multiple regions in Tennessee.
Hamid is one of the principal investigators and the site designated master clinician of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Vanderbilt Center for Undiagnosed Diseases, which is one of only six sites nationwide in the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN).
He has also been the recipient of the American Thoracic Society Young Investigator award and is the principal investigator and co-investigator on several NIH awards.
“We believe that Clinical Genetics is a synergistic ‘mission-critical’ service for all of VUMC and not just Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital,” Hamid said. “Rapid advances in genomics are changing how we practice medicine and offer new opportunities for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of both rare and common diseases. VUMC is at the forefront of this revolution as an undisputed leader in personalized and precision medicine (PM). However, a full realization of the potential of PM will require a robust clinical genetics service that can utilize, refine and expand these discoveries to improve the clinical care of patients with rare, common and new diseases.”
Phillips, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a graduate of the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, has had continuous NIH grant support for 40 years. He is co-principal investigator of the Vanderbilt UDN with John Newman, M.D., Elsa S. Hanigan Professor of Pulmonary Medicine, and Hamid, and played a key role in developing the NIH UDN and the International Undiagnosed Diseases Network.
He has authored more than 400 scientific publications that include discoveries of the molecular bases of Hb H and Hb Grady, Isolated Growth Hormone Deficiency (IGHD types IA, IB, and III), GH Releasing Hormone Receptor (GHRHR) Deficiency, Combined Pituitary Hormone Deficiency (PROP1), Neurohypophyseal Diabetes Insipidus (AVP), C Phospholipase A2 Deficiency, Familial Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, and Familial Pulmonary Fibrosis.
“We are deeply appreciative to John for his 32 years of service as division chief,” Webber said. “In his time as chief, Dr. Phillips grew the division from two to 28 members,” Webber said. “We are delighted that he will remain on our faculty to continue his important work with the UDN and his many other clinical, teaching, and research endeavors.”
Phillips, who was at Johns Hopkins before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 1984, said he is grateful he has spent most of his career at Vanderbilt.
“If I only had my 32 years at Vanderbilt, I would still have had a full, rewarding and satisfying career,” Phillips said. “I look forward to adding to those experiences knowing that working with Dr. Hamid, and my other friends at Vanderbilt, promises that the best is yet to come.”