Alyssa Hasty, Ph.D., professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, has been named Associate Dean for Faculty Development for Basic Sciences at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Hasty has devoted much of her career to mentoring and encouraging students and junior faculty members. She was one of the founding members and chair of the steering committee of the Women on Track program that began in 2005 and is ongoing. The goal of the program is to support women who are on the tenure track and ensure they have the tools they need to succeed.
For the past six years, she served as director of Graduate Studies for the Molecular Physiology and Biophysics program and as an IMPACT mentor for first-year graduate students. In addition, for the past three years, she has supported junior faculty by serving as director of the career development program for the Digestive Diseases Research Center. She also sits on mentoring committees of postdoctoral fellows and early career faculty from various departments.
“Being successful as a scientist within an academic medical center requires myriad skills that we are not necessarily taught during our training,” Hasty said of basic science researchers. “If I am able to help a trainee or junior faculty member think about something in a different way, develop a skill that they didn’t previously have, or persevere through difficult challenges, I can contribute to the scientific community in ways that extend beyond the discoveries of my own laboratory,” she said.
Hasty earned her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Tokyo University. She was recruited back to Vanderbilt as a faculty member in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics in 2003. She is a leader in the field of Immunometabolism, primarily studying the role of macrophages in obesity and metabolic disease. She is particularly interested in the role that resident macrophages play in adipose tissue homeostasis and how they become dysregulated in obesity. She is also interested in the nutritional aspects of metabolic disease, including a focus on the impact of various dietary fatty acids on metabolism.
Hasty was selected to participate in the 22nd class of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women, a yearlong, part-time fellowship based at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. She is also one of four new Faculty Heads of House who have signed on to live in the first-year student community at the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons on the Vanderbilt University campus.
“Alyssa is doing exciting research on the role of macrophages in inflammation associated with obesity and diabetes. This is a contributing factor to multiple diseases and her research is providing important insights into their etiology,” said Lawrence Marnett, Ph.D., dean of Basic Sciences and Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research.
“In addition to her active research program, she has given generously of her time to the Vanderbilt community. She is passionate about mentoring young faculty through the early stages of their careers and beyond. Alyssa has the skills to be an outstanding advocate for our faculty, so I am very pleased she agreed to be our first Associate Dean for Faculty Development.”