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Winder named associate director of MSTP program

Nov. 21, 2013, 9:12 AM

Danny Winder, Ph.D., professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, has been appointed associate director of the Vanderbilt Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), which enables future leaders in academic medicine to earn both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees.

Danny Winder, Ph.D.

Effective Dec. 1, Winder will succeed Larry Swift, Ph.D., who has been named to a newly created position, vice chair for Faculty Affairs in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology (PMI).

“Dr. Winder will be a superb MSTP associate director,” said Terence Dermody, M.D., the Dorothy Overall Wells Professor of Pediatrics and MSTP director since 2003.

Winder is a former director of graduate studies for the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, and he has substantial experience training Ph.D. and MSTP students, Dermody said.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with such a terrific group of students and program faculty and to carry on and extend Larry’s great work with the program,” said Winder, a neuroscientist whose research focuses on addiction biology and synaptic plasticity.

Larry Swift, Ph.D.

Vanderbilt has had an M.D./Ph.D. program since 1964, which was formally recognized as the MSTP in 1977. The program has graduated 211 physician-scientists and includes many alumni who have attained leadership positions in academic medicine.

Currently there are 100 students in the program, mentored by 68 faculty members.

The associate director focuses on student recruitment, mentor selection, development and implementation of the MSTP curriculum, student mentoring and administrative support for all aspects of the program.

“I can’t thank Dr. Swift enough for his many contributions to the Vanderbilt MSTP,” said Dermody, who also is director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

Swift developed the Responsible Conduct of Research curriculum for the program, coordinated the planning of five MSTP retreats, helped revise the Advising College administrative structure and guided laboratory rotation and mentor selection for MSTP students.

“We have a terrific MSTP in large part because of his creativity, wisdom and dedication to physician-scientist training,” Dermody said.

An expert on lipid transport and the assembly and secretion of lipoproteins, Swift served as associate director of the MSTP since 2008.

As vice chair for Faculty Affairs in PMI, he will manage the department’s appointments and promotions process, oversee the mentoring programs for all junior faculty members and support the continued career development of faculty at all ranks.

“I am tremendously excited that Larry Swift has accepted this important new leadership role in our department,” said department chair Samuel Santoro, M.D., Ph.D., the Dorothy B. and Theodore R. Austin Professor of Pathology. “Our faculty will be the beneficiaries of his vast knowledge and commitment to their success.”

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