Faculty meeting recognizes excellence in education, research and clinical serviceby Bill Snyder May. 24, 2018, 8:58 AM
During Wednesday’s Spring Faculty Meeting, Jeff Balser, MD, PhD,President and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, highlighted the medical school’s rising stature among the country’s top-tier institutions.
That progress can be measured in numbers:
- Sixty-five percent of the medical school’s graduating class of 2018 matched into the top 25 ranked residency programs in the country;
- Nearly 20 percent of incoming residents this year are graduates of the nation’s top 25 medical schools, and 15 percent are underrepresented minorities — the highest percentages on record.
Balser also recognized Lillian Nanney, PhD, professor of Plastic Surgery, emerita, for her years of service to the School of Medicine as an educator, researcher and founding director of the Academy of Excellence in Education, which promotes excellence and scholarship in the delivery of health professional education.
The awards portion of the meeting was hosted by John Penn, PhD, associate dean of Faculty Affairs, and Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, VUMC Executive Vice President for Research.
Every year since 2000, the School of Medicine has honored faculty members for Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Contributions to Research. Awards for Extraordinary Performance of Clinical Service were added in 2016.
This year’s presentations included a new Clinical Service award for Commitment to Care of Underserved Communities. It is named for John L. Tarpley, MD, professor of Surgery, emeritus, and former General Surgery Residency Program coordinator, who has devoted much of his career to providing surgical care and training in Africa.
Recipients were nominated by their faculty colleagues and chosen by the 2018 Faculty Awards Selection Committees.
EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING
ROBERT D. COLLINS AWARD — For Teaching Medical or Graduate Students or Practicing Physicians in the Lecture Setting
Vicki Keedy, MD, MSCI
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
Keedy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology in 1997 from Indiana University in Bloomington and her MD in 2002 from the University of Cincinnati. She completed residency training in Internal Medicine, a fellowship in Hematology/Oncology and received her Master of Science degree in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) from Vanderbilt. She joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2008 as an assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. The next year she was appointed assistant medical director of the Clinical Trials Shared Resource in the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), advancing to medical director of the Resource in 2012. Keedy also serves as clinical director of the VICC Sarcoma Program.
Keedy is an exceptional model of an academic physician and educator who has developed effective and innovative strategies including group-based learning, journal clubs, and student-driven topic presentations for teaching medical students, residents, and fellows, as well as faculty and staff. Since 2012 she has been co-director of a month-long course called “Clinical and Molecular-based Approaches to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer” for students in the School of Medicine and Cancer Biology graduate program. She is responsible for developing the clinical-based content as well as clinical experiences and scheduling of all clinical students in Medical Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Pediatric Oncology, Surgical Oncology, Neurosurgery, Orthopedic Oncology, Interventional Radiology, Pathology, and Cancer Genetics. The course uses a combination of didactic learning, clinical experience, self-education, team-based learning, and group teaching to provide grounding in cancer pathogenesis, mechanisms of resistance, drug development, and targeted cancer therapy, and to emphasize the importance of collaboration. It is regarded as a model of the Integrative Science Immersion Courses.
From 2009 to 2013 Keedy served as director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellows’ Journal Club. During this period she implemented significant restructuring to improve faculty participation and the quality of the educational experience and teach critical interpretation of the literature. Fellows also are exposed to various experimental techniques and statistical designs and to the diverse faculty and clinical and translational opportunities available at VICC.
In 2013 Keedy received the Operational Excellence Award from the Division of Hematology/Oncology for her role in the re-organization of the VICC Clinical Trials Shared Resource (CTSR). She provides one-on-one orientation in clinical research, good clinical practice, and CTSR procedures for new faculty who perform clinical research within VICC. She frequently provides didactic lectures on cancer clinical research in several medical school and graduate-level courses. In 2017 Keedy served as trainer for the Division’s recent transition to the Epic clinical software system. Her clear guidance, memorable teaching points, and calm demeanor paved the way for oncology to “go live” with relatively minimal disruption. At the national level, she is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Association for Cancer Research among other organizations.
On the basis of her innovative approaches, motivational skills, and dedication to preparing students for the future of precision cancer medicine and collaborative cancer care, Keedy is the 2018 recipient of the Robert D. Collins Award for Excellence in Teaching.
JACEK HAWIGER AWARD —For Teaching Graduate Students or Postdoctoral Fellows
in the Classroom, Lecture or Small Group Setting
Owen McGuinness, PhD
Professor, Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
McGuinness earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and his PhD in Physiology at Louisiana State University. His career at Vanderbilt began in 1984 as a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. He was appointed assistant professor in the department in 1989 and full Professor in 2006. McGuinness is associate director of the Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center (MMPC) and the Diabetes Research and Training Center (DRTC). He directs the MMPC’s Metabolic Pathophysiology Core and the DRTC’s Hormone Assay and Analytical Services Core.
McGuinness is an expert in assessing metabolic flux and nutrient bioavailability in multiple model systems using tracer methodology. Working with other Vanderbilt investigators, he pioneered development and optimization of surgical techniques that allow in vivo metabolic clamping studies in the mouse. These advances provided precise mechanistic insights into the role of specific molecular processes in metabolism. In recognition of his scientific contributions, in 2013 McGuinness shared an Academic Enterprise Faculty Research Award for Leadership of a Multi-Investigator Team Working Collaboratively or in a Multidisciplinary Manner to Address Important Biological Processes and/or Diseases (later named the John A. Oates Award).
McGuinness also is an internationally respected teacher of obesity, diabetes, and metabolism. He and his colleagues have developed two week-long courses on experimental techniques in murine models of physiology and disease that are attended by investigators from around the world. “Glucose Clamping in the Conscious Mouse,” a laboratory course he co-directs that is now in its 15th year, teaches metabolic clamping — a way of selectively raising or lowering levels of specific metabolites or hormones in order to study their individual actions. Sponsored annually by the MMPC, it typically is attended by 10 to 12 people. For the past decade McGuinness has co-directed “Isotope Tracers in Metabolic Research: Principles and Practice of Kinetic Analysis,” a course on how tracers can provide critical quantitative insight into the control of metabolic flux and physiology that is taught with other leading experts in the field. Funded by the National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), the course attracts 80 to 100 students to Vanderbilt each fall.
McGuinness has been teaching and mentoring graduate students and postdoctoral fellows for more than 30 years. He was founding director of the flagship graduate-level metabolism course, Metabolic Regulation in vivo, and for more than a decade directed the medical school physiology course. He participates in the NIDDK-funded Molecular Endocrinology Training Program, which supports the training of eight graduate students and four postdoctoral fellows each year. In particular, he contributed to the design and teaching of didactic courses on the “Molecular Aspects of Obesity and Diabetes” and on molecular endocrinology. His problem-based, interactive teaching style includes the use of audience response tools, small-group learning, and one-on-one mentoring. In recognition of his approachability and commitment to promoting the careers of trainees, McGuinness is the 2018 recipient of the Jacek Hawiger Award for Excellence in Teaching.
DENIS M. O’DAY AWARD —For Team-Implemented Curricular Reform
Barron Patterson, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
David Johnson, MD
assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics
Patterson earned his Bachelor of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering and his medical degree from Vanderbilt University. He received residency training in Pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and in 2003-2004 was Chief Resident of Pediatrics. In 2006 Patterson was appointed assistant professor of Pediatrics in the Division of General Pediatrics, rising to Associate Professor in 2016. He is vice chair of Ambulatory Services in the Department of Pediatrics, medical director of the Children’s Hospital Out-patient Clinics, and a member of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Medical Board.
Johnson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Davidson College in North Carolina and his medical degree from Duke University, where he completed residency training in Pediatrics and served as Pediatrics Chief Resident. He also was a Performance and Quality Improvement Fellow at Duke. In 2012 Johnson was appointed assistant professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt in the Division of Hospital Medicine.
Drs. Patterson and Johnson were in the first cohort of Vanderbilt pediatricians who enrolled in the Intermediate Improvement Science Series and the Advanced Improvement Methods course at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. After completing the courses in 2016, they returned to Vanderbilt to overhaul the quality improvement curriculum in the Department of Pediatrics. The result was the creation of the interdisciplinary Quality Academy, a year-long curriculum led by Drs. Patterson and Johnson that is designed to teach quality improvement principles to physician, nursing, and administrative leaders through project-focused and didactic learning. Now in its second year, the Academy has helped foster a culture of change aimed at improving patient outcomes, efficiency, and other nationally recognized quality measures.
Both Drs. Patterson and Johnson are fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). They serve, respectively, as the medical directors of Outpatient and Inpatient Quality and Patient Safety services at Children’s Hospital. In addition, Patterson has served as a clinical preceptor to medical students, pediatric house staff and nurse practitioners, and Johnson provides mentoring, bedside teaching, and short didactic talks on the General Pediatrics service.
Patterson directs population health initiatives for Children’s Hospital and led the institution’s effort to leverage the recent transition to the Epic clinical software system for population health management. At the national level Patterson has developed a quality improvement collaborative with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the Harriet Lane Clinic of Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore. Johnson is a member of the AAP Council on Quality Improvement and Patient Safety.
In recognition of their design and implementation of an innovative curriculum that is transforming the culture of quality improvement at Children’s Hospital, Drs. Patterson and Johnson are the 2018 recipients of the Denis M. O’Day Award for Excellence in Teaching.
MICHAEL RODRIGUEZ AWARD —For Teaching Medical Students, Residents and/or Fellows in the Clinical Setting
Aida Yared, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Yared earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology-Chemistry and her Medical Degree from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, where she also received residency training in Pediatrics. She began a three-year fellowship in Pediatric Nephrology at Boston Children’s Hospital that was completed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Yared joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1986 as assistant professor of Pediatrics and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and is board certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Nephrology.
Yared works with pediatric residents and with medical students on the pediatrics rotation in the Primary Care Acute Clinic and the General Pediatrics inpatient service. She is a frequent contributor to the Pediatric House Staff Conference. In the School of Medicine, she serves as a lecturer in the Pediatric Core Lecture Series, and is the coordinator of the pediatric portions of the Physical Diagnosis course and of the Vanderbilt Core Clinical Curriculum. She also is a preceptor in the Vanderbilt Program for Interprofessional Learning, which provides clinical training to groups of students from Nashville-area schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and social work. Since 1991 she has taught in the Physician’s assistant Program at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville. In 2013, she became a Master Clinical Teacher in the School of Medicine, working one-on-one with Vanderbilt medical students to hone their pediatric skills in the clinical setting.
Yared applies a highly personalized cognitive approach to clinical teaching that combines astute observation, guided history collection, thoughtful development of differential diagnoses, and compassionate patient communication in a professional and culturally sensitive way. Interestingly, her teaching is enriched by her expertise as a James Joyce scholar. Yared has received international attention for her focus on the interface of literature and medicine in Joyce’s novels such as Ulysses. By weaving her intellectual pursuits into her clinical teaching, she challenges physicians-in-training to be precise in their use of language and to become lifelong learners.
Yared has received several awards for her teaching and mentoring including the Pediatric Faculty Award for Excellence in Resident Education, and a CANDLE (Caring, Advocating, Nurturing, Determination, Leadership, and Empathy) teaching and mentoring award from Vanderbilt medical students. She is a member of the Katherine Dodd Teaching Society in the Department of Pediatrics and was accepted into the School of Medicine’s Academy for Excellence in Education. Yared has received twice the Amos Christie Award for outstanding teaching from the Pediatrics house staff, and has received three times the Joseph Gigante Award from the Department of Pediatrics for her dedication to training the next generation of pediatricians. Most recently, she has received a Gold Star Award from the Gold Humanism Honor Society for her compassionate care.
In recognition of her unique combination of enthusiasm, knowledge, and sensitivity, and her ability to model what it means to be a thoughtful, thorough, attentive, and compassionate physician, Yared is the 2018 recipient of the R. Michael Rodriguez Award for Excellence in Teaching.
ELAINE SANDERS-BUSH AWARD —For Mentoring Graduate and/or Medical Students in the Research Setting
Chevis Shannon, MBA, MPH, DrPH
Research Associate Professor, Departments of Neurological Surgery & Pediatrics
Shannon received her Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), her Master’s degree in Business Administration from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, and her Master’s degree in Public Health (Epidemiology) and Doctorate in Public Health (Maternal and Child Health) from UAB. While pursuing her doctorate at UAB, she served as coordinator of the HIV Clinical Trials Program, as epidemiologist in the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and as site manager of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network. In 2010 she joined the faculty at UAB as assistant professor and associate director of Clinical Research in the Department of Neurosurgery.
Shannon came to Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2013 as assistant professor of Neurological Surgery and director of the Vanderbilt Pediatric Neurosurgery Clinical Research Initiative. In 2014, she was appointed founding director of the Surgical Outcomes Center for Kids (SOCKs), a new initiative designed to enhance the clinical outcomes research agenda among the Pediatric Surgical Subspecialties and collaborating departments. Ongoing clinical outcomes studies include patient-centered outcomes in patients diagnosed with neurosurgical disorders, long-term urologic function in spina bifida patients, tracking outcomes in children with complex cardiac defects requiring surgical correction, and social determinants of health impacting overall patient health post-surgical intervention. Under Shannon’s leadership, SOCKs has attracted several federal and foundation grants.
Shannon’s research interests include quality improvement initiatives to reduce surgical site infections, comparative effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and decision analysis research related to surgical intervention, long-term clinical, and quality of life outcomes in children with hydrocephalus, Chiari, spina bifida, and craniosynostosis. She participates as an investigator in the nationally recognized and federally funded Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network and Park Reeves Syringomyelia Consortium. She is the lead investigator in developing the Chiari Health Index for Pediatrics, the first patient-reported, health-related quality of life instrument for pediatric Chiari Type 1 malformation, and co-chairs the quality of life working group for the Park-Reeves Syringomyelia Consortium.
In addition to her gift for organizing and developing clinical research programs, Shannon is deeply passionate about mentoring and educating students. Within SOCKs she led her team in the development and standardization of a curriculum on conducting outcomes research including generating hypotheses, navigating the IRB approval process, data collection, management and analysis, and manuscript development. She implemented and presents an ongoing series of hands-on educational seminars on basic biostatistics, CV/résumé development for trainees, and publishing and presenting clinical research. In this role Shannon has directly mentored more than 50 trainees, many of whom have received national prizes and awards for their research. In recognition of her exceptional skills as a mentor and educator, and her commitment to Vanderbilt’s educational mission, in 2017 she was asked to become a member of the Medical School Admissions Committee and to serve as a co-director for the Medical School Research Immersion program.
In recognition of her devotion to her students and her commitment to scientific integrity, Shannon is the 2018 recipient of the Elaine Sanders-Bush Award for Excellence in Teaching.
EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMANCE OF CLINICAL SERVICE
ANDERSON SPICKARD, JR. AWARD —For Clinical Excellence in a Cognitive Discipline
William Walsh, MD
Professor, Department of Pediatrics
A native of Brooklyn, New York, Walsh earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Life Science from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. In 1972, when his Air Force service began, he entered medical school at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He completed residency training in Pediatrics and a fellowship in Neonatology at the Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center at Lackland Air Force Base outside San Antonio.
Upon completing his training, Walsh served as Chief of Newborn Medicine and director of Inpatient Pediatrics at the Malcolm Grow USAF Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. He later served as director of the Newborn Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the USAF Medical Center Keesler in Mississippi before returning to Wilford Hall as director of Clinical Neonatology. He also was special assistant to the U.S. Surgeon General for neonatology.
After a 20-year career in the Air Force, Walsh retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1992 and came to Vanderbilt as Associate Professor of Pediatrics. He was appointed Chief of Nurseries, a position he would hold for 25 years, and medical director of the NICU. Under his guidance, the NICU has grown from a 42-bed unit covered by five neonatologists and four fellows to a comprehensive, level IV intensive and intermediate care nursery with 96 beds, 28 attending physicians, and 10 fellows.
Walsh is the quintessential master clinician, mentor, investigator, teacher, and colleague. He has been instrumental in developing and implementing numerous clinical practice standards and protocols. He has helped integrate all aspects of patient care at the bedside and through his leadership of multidisciplinary clinical case conferences. As an investigator, Walsh has participated in more than 20 clinical studies. He was instrumental in the successful completion of the landmark Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS), which in 2011 reported a clear benefit for babies who undergo fetal surgery to correct a serious form of spina bifida.
As a teacher, Walsh challenges trainees to go beyond the challenges of caring for the tiniest of infants and consider what might be done to prevent premature delivery. He has won several teaching awards including, in 2007, the R. Michael Rodriguez Award for Teaching Medical Students, Residents and/or Fellows in the Clinical Setting. Walsh also has served on numerous policy-making committees at Vanderbilt and at the state and national levels. As director of the Congenital Heart Disease Task Force for the Tennessee Genetics Advisory Committee, he was the driving force behind establishing statewide newborn screening for congenital heart disease. In 2016, he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Because of the deeply positive and far-ranging impact he has had on the lives of his patients, on his trainees and on society, Walsh is the 2018 recipient of the W. Anderson Spickard, Jr. Award for Extraordinary Performance of Clinical Service.
MILDRED T. STAHLMAN AWARD —For Innovation in Clinical Care
Stuart McGrane, MBChB, MSCI
Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology
McGrane earned his medical degree from the University of Glasgow and was certified in Anesthesiology in the United Kingdom. In 2004 he came to Vanderbilt, where he completed his residency in Anesthesiology, a fellowship in Critical Care Anesthesia, and earned a Master of Science degree in Clinical Investigation. In 2009 McGrane was appointed assistant professor of Anesthesiology in the Division of Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017. He has served as medical director of the Vanderbilt Burn Center and as director of Simulation for the Anesthesiology Residency Program. In 2017 he was appointed medical director of the Vanderbilt University Hospital Adult ECMO Program.
ECMO, which stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, provides temporary mechanical heart and lung support for critically ill patients. It is generally offered as a lifesaving intervention for patients with significant lung or cardiac failure when conventional modes of therapy have been exhausted. Recognizing that many critically ill patients cannot access ECMO because they are far from Vanderbilt and cannot be moved, McGrane and his team in 2017 developed the innovative ECMO Transport/Referral Program. It provides remote consultative services by an attending ECMO intensivist 24/7 to patients in facilities within 500 miles of Nashville. If ECMO is indicated, a team of Vanderbilt specialists including intensivists, cardiac surgeons, and perfusionists is deployed within hours to initiate ECMO “in the field” and, if necessary, to safely transport the patient by plane or ambulance to Vanderbilt.
Implementing this program required a high degree of imagination, collaboration, and determination. A widely diverse team was assembled: not only physicians, nurses, and perfusionists, but pilots, administrators, engineers, and attorneys. A transport cart that could accommodate the patient as well as the heart pump, oxygenator, tubes, and monitors and yet was small enough to fit inside an aircraft was built. Clear criteria for administering ECMO were developed. Transport teams were recruited. “Dry runs” were conducted. And then they did it. First one patient and then another. By the end of 2017, 59 patients had received ECMO through the Vanderbilt ECMO Program. In the first two months of 2018, 19 patients received ECMO through the program. The projected volume this year will reach 80 to 100 patients from every part of Tennessee as well as Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama, and Louisiana.
The ECMO Transport/Referral Program led by McGrane is saving lives threatened by this winter’s virulent influenza epidemic. For others ECMO has provided a bridge to a lung or heart transplant. Vanderbilt is now the busiest ECMO referral center in Tennessee. The program also demonstrates how a network that provides complex and extremely challenging care can be built across hospital systems and long distances. For these reasons, McGrane is the 2018 recipient of the Mildred T. Stahlman Award for Extraordinary Performance of Clinical Service.
JOHN L. TARPLEY AWARD —For Commitment to Care of Underserved Communities
Michael Fowler, MD
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
Robert Miller, MD
Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair in Medicine
Professor of Clinical Medicine
Fowler earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from East Tennessee State University (ETSU) in Johnson City and his MD from ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine, where he also completed his accelerated internship and residency training in Internal Medicine. Fowler served as Chief Resident in Medicine at James H. Quillen VA Medical Center before coming to Vanderbilt in 2000. As a Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, he worked with current Division Chief Alvin C. Powers, MD, in pancreatic islet transplantation and stem cell development. In 2003 Fowler was appointed assistant professor of Medicine, rising to Associate Professor in 2015. He also has served in the Office of Teaching and Learning in Medicine, and as Physical Diagnosis course director and Diabetes Intersession course co-director in the School of Medicine.
Miller earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Colorado College in Colorado Springs, and his MD from Vanderbilt, where he also received his internship and residency training in Medicine. After serving as Chief Resident in Medicine at the Metropolitan Nashville General Hospital, Miller received clinical and research pulmonary fellowship training at the University of Washington in Seattle and Vanderbilt, respectively. He was appointed Clinical assistant professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt in 2001, rising to Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Divisions of General Internal Medicine and Public Health, and Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine. He received the Patricia and Rodes Hart Chair in Medicine in 2017.
Miller is founding medical director of the Shade Tree Clinic in North Nashville, which provides comprehensive and free health care to Middle Tennessee residents with limited resources and hands-on training to the Vanderbilt medical and nursing students who run the clinic. In 2010 Fowler joined the Shade Tree Clinic as Co-medical director. Today more than 350 patients depend on the clinic for their primary and specialty health care, mental health and social work services, health education, and medical-legal needs. Clinic volunteers since 2005 include more than 1,200 medical students.
For their students Drs. Fowler and Miller model a questioning, creative determination to find ways to address the social contributors to poor health, including illiteracy, job insecurity, legal stressors, and lack of access to transportation, adequate housing, and healthy food options. To better fulfill its mission, the clinic has formed partnerships with Neighborhood Health, Legal Aid of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands, Dismas House, and other social and legal service organizations, and with the Vanderbilt University Schools of Law and Nursing and University of Tennessee School of Pharmacy. Several Shade Tree initiatives have been presented at national meetings. Peer-reviewed reports of innovations, such as the clinic’s pharmaceutical management system, and outcomes of clinic-provided diabetes and prenatal care have been published in leading health care journals.
Because of their commitment to the humanistic principles of medicine, their strong sense of service, and their insistence on excellence, Drs. Fowler and Miller are the first recipients of the John L. Tarpley Award for Extraordinary Performance of Clinical Service.
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS TO RESEARCH
STANLEY COHEN AWARD — For Research Bridging Diverse Disciplines, such as Chemistry or Physics, to Solve Biology’s Most Important Fundamental Questions
Hassane Mchaourab, PhD
Louise B. McGavock Chair
Professor, Departments of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and Chemistry
A native of Beirut, Lebanon, Mchaourab earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Physics from American University of Beirut and his PhD in Biophysics from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. After completing a fellowship in Biophysics and Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, Mchaourab accepted a faculty position at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He was recruited to Vanderbilt in 2000 as assistant professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and was promoted to full Professor in 2006.
Mchaourab is widely regarded as a world leader in mechanistic structural biology, particularly in methods for determining how proteins bend, twist or otherwise catalyze a given reaction. Characterizing this “dynamic dimension” of protein structures is essential to understanding multi-drug resistance in infectious diseases and cancer as well as brain disorders linked to the dysregulation of neurotransmitter levels and protein aggregation. To that end, Mchaourab and his colleagues have pioneered the use of spectroscopic approaches, including electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy, to reveal the relationship between structural change and function. His quantitative interpretation of EPR data from spin-labeled proteins, work he did as a postdoctoral fellow, is now a standard approach for probing biomolecular structure, interactions and dynamics. Using EPR data coupled with other structural data, the Mchaourab lab has developed reliable atomic resolution structural models for macromolecular complexes that have previously eluded structural determination.
Using a technique called DEER (Double Electron-Electron Resonance), Mchaourab has followed how a transporter protein in a bacterial membrane changes shape in order to pump antibacterial drugs out of the cell. Transporters use energy stored in ATP or ion gradients to move molecules across membranes. By understanding this process, researchers may be able to block the transporter and prevent multidrug resistance. Mchaourab has been a leader in the use of pulsed EPR DEER measurements to determine distances in biomolecular complexes and to reveal the protein-folding chaperone activity of α-crystallins, proteins in the lens of the eye that are believed to keep the lens transparent by absorbing sick and aging proteins. This work has implications for treating and preventing cataracts. His group’s application of DEER to the mammalian multidrug cancer-resistance transporter, P-glycoprotein, unraveled how this pump uses the energy of ATP to move chemotherapeutic drugs out of the cell.
Mchaourab is fearless in incorporating additional experimental and computational approaches and in forging collaborations with other leading investigators to extend the impact of his work. He recently acquired expertise in zebrafish genetics to better understand the physiological consequences of mutations in the proteins he studies. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he received a Vanderbilt University Chancellor’s Award for Research in 2006 and the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology Highly-Cited Article Award for 2017. In recognition of his ingenious approaches to his science and the high impact of his discoveries, Mchaourab is the 2018 recipient of the Stanley Cohen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research.
JOHN H. EXTON AWARD —For Research Leading to Innovative Biological Concepts
David Wasserman, PhD
Annie Mary Lyle Chair
Professor of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
director, Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center
Wasserman earned his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his PhD in Physiology from the University of Toronto. Upon graduation in 1985, he came to Vanderbilt as a research associate in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and joined the faculty as an assistant professor in 1988. During these years he published a series of eight papers that definitively described the normal control of the metabolic response to exercise. In 1997 he was appointed full Professor and he received an endowed chair 10 years later.
Since its inception in 2001, Wasserman has been director of the Vanderbilt–NIH Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center (MMPC), which is dedicated to the study of mouse models of metabolism. He has served on the executive committee of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center since 2007. He is actively involved in training graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and has been co-director of the MMPC course entitled “Glucose Clamping the Conscious Mouse.” Now in its ninth year, the course attracts registrants worldwide.
Wasserman’s extraordinary body of work includes more than 200 peer-reviewed publications. His discoveries have revolutionized understanding of the molecular and cellular processes that regulate muscle metabolism in vivo. Early studies focused on the regulation of glucose metabolism during exercise, the aim being to understand the interplay between exercise and both glucose production by the liver and glucose uptake by muscle. Glucose clamp techniques are a way of monitoring blood concentrations of glucose and other metabolites by implanting catheters into blood vessels. Working with other Vanderbilt investigators, Wasserman used miniaturized surgical techniques that allow in vivo metabolic studies to be conducted in the mouse.
These studies led to the discovery that “extramyocellular events” were key limiting factors in delivering glucose from blood to myocyte membrane, upending conventional wisdom about insulin’s direct role in stimulating glucose uptake into muscle. Other paradigm-shifting findings revealed a role for the hormone glucagon in the body’s response to exercise – increased glucose production by the liver to match increased glucose uptake by muscle, and how expression of collagen and a major collagen receptor in the extracellular matrix contributes to that hepatic insulin resistance in mice following a high-fat diet.
Wasserman is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Other honors include the Henry Pickering Bowditch and Solomon A. Berson Awards from the American Physiological Society, the Mary Jane Kugel Award from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and an NIH MERIT Award. He previously has won two Vanderbilt Academic Enterprise Faculty Research Awards — the Charles R. Park Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research in 2010, and the Leadership of a Multi-Investigator Team Award (later named the John A. Oates Award) in 2013.
In recognition of his innovative methodological advances and his impactful discoveries that have advanced understanding of the regulation of metabolic control systems in health and diabetes, Wasserman has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the John H. Exton Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research.
GRANT W. LIDDLE AWARD —For Outstanding Contributions in Clinical Research
Lorraine Ware, MD
Professor, Departments of Medicine and of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology
Ware received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California, and her MD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. She received residency training in Internal Medicine at Hopkins and subsequently completed a fellowship in Pulmonary/Critical Care at the University of California, San Francisco. In 2002 Ware was recruited to Vanderbilt as assistant professor of Medicine. She was promoted to full Professor in the departments of Medicine and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology in 2014. Since 2002 she has been an attending physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Ware is an extremely productive academician and scientist, with more than 180 peer-reviewed research articles published in the leading journals in her field. She is internationally known for her use of biomarkers to predict acute kidney injury and mortality in patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). An expert on the effect of epithelial injury in lung transplantation, Ware also played a major role in the landmark Lung Transplant Outcomes Group multicenter studies of clinical and genetic risk factors for primary graft dysfunction after lung transplantation. She was the Principal Investigator of the first large NIH-funded randomized trial in lung disease that tested the effectiveness of an inhaled therapy to clear pulmonary edema in organ donors with the goal of improving donor lung utilization and transplant outcomes.
Recently she has focused on the mechanisms by which acute exposure to high levels of extracellular hemoglobin injures the lung epithelium and vascular endothelium. Ware and her colleagues have identified oxidation of extracellular hemoglobin to the highly reactive ferryl (4+) form in sepsis as one mechanism driving cellular injury. They are working to move novel therapies targeting oxidized hemoglobin from bench to bedside.
For the past 18 years Ware has mentored young investigators in translational research in acute lung injury and sepsis. She co-directs a clinical/translational T32 Training Program in Pulmonary Medicine and directs the Vanderbilt Medical Scholars Program, a year-out research program for medical students at Vanderbilt and Meharry Medical College. She is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, the Society of Critical Care Medicine, and the American College of Chest Physicians. She has received research awards from the American Lung Association of Tennessee and the American Thoracic Society, a Citation for Distinguished Service from the American Physiological Society, and a Judge Sidney H. Reiss Award for Teaching Excellence in Pulmonary Medicine from the Vanderbilt Department of Medicine.
In recognition of her outstanding contributions to clinical and translational investigation aimed at improving outcomes for patients with serious lung diseases as well as her strong commitment to training the next generation of physician-scientists, Ware is the 2018 recipient of the Grant W. Liddle Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research.
CHARLES R. PARK AWARD —For Basic Research Revealing Insights into Physiology or Pathophysiology
Roger Colbran, PhD
Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
A native of the United Kingdom, Colbran received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Bristol and his PhD in Biochemistry from Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. He came to Vanderbilt in 1986 as a Research Associate in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and in 1992 was appointed assistant professor in the Department, rising to full Professor in 2006. Colbran is former vice chair and now Interim Chair of the Department and also serves as director of the Postdoctoral Training Program in Functional Neurogenomics in the Vanderbilt Brain Institute.
Colbran has long-standing interests in Ca2+ -dependent signaling and protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, and the physiological roles of the enzyme Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). His lab was the first to identify and characterize CaMKII-associated proteins and was the first to recognize the importance of protein phosphatases in controlling CaMKII activity. In the heart, his observations of interactions between CaMKII and L-type calcium channels in cardiac tissue provide a molecular model for long QT arrhythmias. A key finding was his discovery of an interaction between CaMKII and the NMDA receptor, a key initiator of synaptic plasticity. The Colbran laboratory currently employs multidisciplinary approaches including molecular biology, electrophysiology, and pharmacology to investigate key biochemical mechanisms that underlie the roles of CaMKII in synaptic plasticity, learning, and memory, which may be inappropriately regulated in neuropsychiatric disorders.
More recently, Colbran and his colleagues described a functional interaction between CaMKII and an endocannabinoid-producing enzyme that depresses synaptic signaling in the brain region that regulates movement and coordination. Endocannabinoids are the natural signaling molecules mimicked by the active ingredients of marijuana. The findings suggest that a disruption in the balance between the two enzymes could play a role in movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Last year the Colbran lab characterized a spontaneously arising mutation in the CaMK2-alpha gene that had been identified in a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and showed in a mouse model that the mutation produced ASD-like behaviors – the first clear association between CaMKII and this highly prevalent disorder.
Colbran is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Society for Neuroscience and the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He has served on the editorial board and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry. He is an investigator in the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, the Vanderbilt Center for Molecular Neuroscience, and the Vanderbilt Diabetes Research and Training Center. In recognition of his creative application of diverse techniques to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of key brain functions and their role in brain disorders such as autism, Colbran is the 2018 recipient of the Charles R. Park Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research.