October 21, 2014

Vanderbilt’s Brown, Crowe elected to IOM


Nancy Brown, M.D.

Vanderbilt University’s Nancy J. Brown, M.D., chair and physician-in-chief of the Department of Medicine, and James E. Crowe Jr., M.D., director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, are among 70 new members elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the organization announced this week.

With more than 1,900 active members and foreign associates, the IOM is the health arm of the National Academies, serving as an adviser to the nation to improve health and promote health-related research. Election to the IOM recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.

James Crowe Jr., M.D.

The National Academies, which also includes the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and National Research Council, are private nonprofit institutions that provide advice on some of the most pressing challenges facing the nation and the world.

Vanderbilt University now has 29 current faculty members who have been elected by their peers to the National Academies in recognition of excellence in their fields. Twenty-one are members of the IOM; eight others are members of the NAS or NAE.

“I want to congratulate Drs. Brown and Crowe for their election into the Institute of Medicine. Both are exemplary physician scientists who have already made profoundly important contributions to their respective fields and will no doubt continue along this trajectory,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “The number of Vanderbilt faculty who are now members of the National Academies has never been greater and is reflective of the University’s increasing influence in medicine and science.”

Both an honorific membership organization and an advisory organization, the IOM was established in 1970 by the National Academies and is recognized as a national resource for independent, scientifically informed analysis, providing recommendations on a broad range of health issues.

Brown, the Hugh Jackson Morgan Professor of Medicine and professor of Pharmacology, has made major contributions to the fields of vascular biology and hypertension, and to the training of physician-scientists at Vanderbilt.

“Like many at Vanderbilt, I have benefited from tremendous mentorship and collaboration over the years,” said Brown, who has chaired the Department of Medicine since 2010. “We have much to share and the IOM provides an important forum.”

A specialist in vascular biology and hypertension, Brown earned her A.B. degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and her M.D. with honors from Harvard University.

She completed medicine and clinical pharmacology training at Vanderbilt, where she was the Hugh J. Morgan Chief Resident in 1992, then joined the faculty that same year. She was named chief of Clinical Pharmacology in January 2009.

With Thomas Hazinski, M.D., who died in 2006, she founded the Vanderbilt Master of Science in Clinical Investigation program in 2000 to train investigators in the techniques and processes utilized in patient-oriented research. As associate dean for Clinical and Translational Scientist Development, she established the Elliot Newman Society to nurture physician-scientists.

Brown’s research has focused on the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, one of the body’s blood pressure-regulating systems. Her discoveries have had major implications for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease

She is the recipient of numerous awards for her contributions to clinical research and mentoring. She and Crowe are members of the Association of American Physicians and American Society for Clinical Investigation and fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Crowe, the Ann Scott Carell Professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, has made significant contributions to the understanding of the development of adult and childhood defenses against viral diseases. He currently is developing an immunotherapy against Ebola infection.

“I am humbled to be included (in the IOM), and excited that the work of so many researchers at Vanderbilt in the field of vaccine and immunology research is recognized is this way,” he said. Vanderbilt “is one of the very top venues for impacting national and international vaccine policy.”

Crowe earned his bachelor’s degree from Davidson College in North Carolina and his medical degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he completed his pediatric residency.

He was a medical staff fellow and senior research investigator in the Laboratory of Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health, where he worked on vaccines against respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the most common cause of respiratory illness in infants and young children.

After completing a clinical fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt, he joined the faculty in 1995. In addition to pediatric infections, his group has helped clarify the response of adults to vaccines related to biodefense, such as the smallpox vaccine, avian influenza and other emerging infections.