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15 faculty members elected as AAAS fellows

by | Nov. 20, 2017, 10:00 AM

Fifteen Vanderbilt University faculty members conducting a range of biomedical and clinical research have been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this year. They are among 396 fellows from around the country selected by their peers “because of their efforts toward advancing science applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.”

Vanderbilt now has 129 AAAS fellows among its current and emeritus faculty and staff. Nearly half were elected during the past five years.

“The rapid growth of the cohort of Vanderbilt faculty with this distinction is further recognition of the university’s remarkable momentum as a national research university, momentum that is driven by our outstanding faculty,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente said. “These faculty members are essential members of a One Vanderbilt community of biomedical researchers and educators distinguished by excellence, creativity and cross-disciplinary collaboration.”

Six of the 15 faculty members have received funding through the university’s Trans-Institutional Programs, or TIPs, initiative, which facilitates research and teaching collaborations across disciplines and are a core pillar of the university’s Academic Strategic Plan. All of the new fellows are School of Medicine faculty members and one, Mark Wallace, is also dean of the Graduate School.

The 2018 AAAS faculty fellows are:

Timothy Blackwell, M.D., the Ralph and Lulu Owen Professor of Medicine, professor of cell and developmental biology and director of the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, is recognized for distinguished contributions to pulmonary medicine, particularly for elucidating the basic mechanisms that lead to lung repair, providing insight into tissue remodeling, fibrosis and cancer pathogenesis.

David Cortez, Ph.D., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and professor of biochemistry, is recognized for distinguished contributions to the fields of DNA repair and DNA damage responses, particularly in developing a mechanistic understanding of the replication stress response.

Bruce Damon, Ph.D., associate professor of radiology and radiological sciences and of molecular physiology and biophysics, is recognized for distinguished contributions to the development and application of advanced imaging techniques to understand muscle physiology and structure in health and disease. Damon is a member of the Vanderbilt Center for Molecular Probes TIP, comprising faculty from the School of Engineering, College of Arts and Science and School of Medicine, whose aim is to develop microfluidic-based single-use reactors to enable on-demand production of specific Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging agents without the need for direct access to cyclotrons. This disruptive technology could revolutionize molecular imaging in clinical settings and greatly expand the number of agents used to detect specific types of cancer, metabolic disorders and neurological diseases.

Sebastian Joyce, Ph.D., professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology, is recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of immunology, particularly for biochemical studies into the antigens recognized by cytotoxic T cells important for vaccine development. Joyce is a member of Engineering Immunity, a TIP that aims to integrate the fields of immunology and engineering at Vanderbilt to address challenges in tumor immunology, advance discovery and empower clinically relevant cancer interventions.

Borden Lacy, Ph.D., the Edward and Nancy Fody Chair in Pathology in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology and professor of biochemistry, is recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of bacterial pathogenesis, particularly for the structures of bacterial toxins and the understanding of their interactions with the host. Lacy is a member of the Reinvestment in Cryo-Electron Microscopy TIP, which is designed to reinvest in the Center for Structural Biology by acquiring a new microscope that will enable the laboratory to produce major scientific discoveries across a broad range of fields in biology and medicine.

Ian Macara, Ph.D., the Louise B. McGavock Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and chair of the department, is recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of cell biology, particularly for advances in understanding mechanisms driving epithelial cell polarity and aberrant cell signaling in cancer.

Harold (Hal) Moses, M.D., director emeritus of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and research professor of pharmacology, is recognized for distinguished contributions to the growth factor, oncogene and tumor suppressor fields; for the founding of Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center; and for leadership in national organizations and committees.

Ann Richmond, Ph.D., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and professor of pharmacology and medicine, is recognized for her pioneering work in identifying one of the first known chemokines, key elements in angiogenesis, tumor growth and recruitment of immune cells.

Jayant P. Shenai, M.D., professor of pediatrics, is recognized for groundbreaking studies of vitamin A metabolism and lung health that have significantly impacted clinical outcomes in infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD).

Richard Simerly, Ph.D., the Louise B. McGavock Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, is recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of developmental neuroscience and neuroendocrinology, particularly with respect to the developmental origins of obesity, diabetes and reproductive function. Simerly is a member of BioMIID, or the Biomedical Microscopy – Immersion Innovation Discovery TIP. BioMIID is creating a collaborative environment across three schools for biophotonics innovation and biomedical discovery within the Vanderbilt Biophotonics Center.

Eric Skaar, Ph.D., MPH, the Ernest W. Goodpasture Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, director of the Division of Molecular Pathogenesis and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation, is recognized for distinguished contribution to the field of host-microbe interactions, particularly for studies into the impact of nutrient metals on the outcome of bacterial infections. Skaar is a member of the Vanderbilt Microbiome Initiative, a TIP that aims to make Vanderbilt the first university to unify a major prevision medicine initiative with personalized microbiome studies.

Michelle Southard-Smith, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and of cell and developmental biology, is recognized for distinguished contributions to developmental neurogenetics, particularly for elucidating molecular and genetic pathways involved in the development of the enteric nervous system and visceral innervation.

Luc Van Kaer, Ph.D., the Elizabeth and John Shapiro Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Pathology and Immunology, is recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of immunology, particularly for studies on the presentation of foreign and self antigens to T lymphocytes.

Mark Wallace, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School and Louise B. McGavock Professor in the departments of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Pharmacology, is recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of systems neuroscience, with an emphasis on furthering our understanding of the integration of information across the different senses. Wallace is a member of the Initiative for Autism Innovation and the Workforce TIP. This TIP represents a collaboration of Vanderbilt engineers, scientists, disabilities researchers and business scholars who, together with major employers in Nashville and leading autism-related organizations nationally, aim to develop and test a model that will advance workforce innovation through the employment of autistic adults.

David H. Wasserman, Ph.D., the Annie Mary Lyle Professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and director of the Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center, is recognized for distinguished contributions to the field of nutrient flux using mouse models with genetic mutations to define metabolic regulatory sites in healthy and disease states.

The fellows will be recognized Feb. 18, 2018, at the AAAS annual meeting in Austin, Texas.


Media Inquiries:
Bill Snyder, (615) 322-4747
william.snyder@Vanderbilt.Edu