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New search committee for VBI director is appointed

A new committee has been named to lead a national search for the Barlow Family Director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute, announced Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente and Jeff Balser, president and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Provost Susan R. Wente (Vanderbilt University)

“The Vanderbilt Brain Institute sets Vanderbilt apart as a leader in interdisciplinary research and teaching,” Wente said. “In research, education and training, its programs have long fostered excellence. The institute brings together faculty and students from across the university in a common mission of collaboration and discovery, exemplifying the core beliefs of our Academic Strategic Plan. Our goal is to identify a superior candidate who can build upon—and extend—the institute’s track record of success and innovation.”

The endowed director position was established in 2016 through a generous commitment made by David S. Barlow, a leader in the global pharmaceutical industry who serves on Vanderbilt’s Technology Transfer Advisory Committee.

Jeff Balser, president and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and dean of Vanderbilt School of Medicine (Vanderbilt University)

“Neuroscience continues to be one of the most rapidly advancing areas of scientific discovery, yet estimates indicate that treating brain disorders and diseases costs the U.S. economy more than $1.5 trillion each year. With its internationally recognized trans-institutional programs in research, training and clinical services, the VBI is poised to play an increasingly important role as we seek new treatments and cures for neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric disorders and other brain conditions,” Balser said. “I want to express my appreciation to the search committee for this important work to identify a new leader who will advance the institute’s missions.”

The new search committee will be co-chaired by René Marois, professor and chair of psychology and professor of radiology and radiological sciences, and Danny Winder, professor of molecular physiology and biophysics, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, professor of pharmacology, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research and associate director of the Vanderbilt Medical Scientist Training Program.

“I am grateful to René and Danny for their leadership in this important search,” Wente said. “They both have deep knowledge of the institute and the needs of our brain and neuroscience research enterprise, and I look forward to working with them.”

Ronald B. Emeson continues as interim director of VBI, a role he assumed in July 2016. Emeson, previously the institute’s associate director, is the Joel G. Hardman Professor of Pharmacology, professor of biochemistry, professor of molecular physiology and biophysics, and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

The committee members are:

  • Co-chair René Marois, professor and chair of psychology and professor of radiology and radiological sciences
  • Co-chair Danny Winder, professor of molecular physiology and biophysics, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, professor of pharmacology, director of the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research and associate director of the Vanderbilt Medical Scientist Training Program
  • Lauren Bryant, graduate student, neuroscience program
  • Dane Chetkovich, professor and chair of neurology
  • Laurie Cutting, Patricia and Rodes Hart Professor of Special Education, professor of psychology and professor of pediatrics
  • Suzana Herculano-Houzel, associate professor of psychology and associate professor of biological sciences
  • E. Duco Jansen, professor of biomedical engineering, professor of neurological surgery and associate dean for graduate studies in the School of Engineering
  • Doug McMahon, Stevenson Professor of Biological Sciences, professor and chair of biological sciences, and professor of pharmacology
  • Aaditi Naik, undergraduate student, women’s and gender studies, neuroscience
  • Jeffrey Neul, professor of pediatrics and director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
  • Sachin Patel, the James G. Blakemore Professor of Psychiatry, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, associate professor of molecular physiology and biophysics, and director of the Division of Addiction Psychiatry
  • Padma Raghavan, professor of computer science and professor of computer engineering and vice provost for research
  • Jeff Schall, E. Bronson Ingram Professor of Neuroscience, professor of psychology, professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences, and director of the Center for Integrative and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Richard Simerly, professor of molecular physiology and biophysics
  • J. David Sweatt, Allan D. Bass Professor of Pharmacology, professor and chair of pharmacology and professor of molecular physiology and biophysics

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