May 26, 2015

VUMC Academic Enterprise Faculty Award winners announced

The 2015 Vanderbilt University Medical Center Academic Enterprise Faculty Awards, which were presented during the May 19 Spring Faculty meeting, included awards for Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Contributions to Research.

The 2015 Vanderbilt University Medical Center Academic Enterprise Faculty Awards, which were presented during the May 19 Spring Faculty meeting, included awards for Excellence in Teaching and Outstanding Contributions to Research. Award recipients were nominated by their faculty colleagues and chosen by the Academic Enterprise Faculty Awards Selection Committee.


Frank H. Boehm Award for Contributions to Continuing Medical Education

E. Wesley Ely, M.D., MPH, professor of Medicine

Ely earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1985 (No. 1 in class, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa), and his M.D. and MPH in 1989 – all from Tulane University in New Orleans. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine and a postdoctoral fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Wake Forest University, followed by a chief residency post fellowship before joining the faculty there in 1996. After training in lung transplantation at Barnes Jewish in St. Louis, in 1998 Ely was recruited to Vanderbilt In 1998 Dr. Ely was recruited to Vanderbilt as assistant professor of Medicine and co-medical director of the lung transplantation program. He was promoted to full professor in 2007. Ely is also a practicing intensivist with a focus on Geriatric ICU Care, and serves as associate director for Research for the Tennessee Valley Veterans Affairs (VA) Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC).

Ely’s research has focused on improving the care and outcomes of critically ill patients with ICU-acquired brain disease (manifested acutely as delirium and chronically as long-term cognitive impairment). He and his colleagues at Vanderbilt and the VA have developed methods that, by reducing the risk of delirium and dementia, can reduce the length of stay in the ICU and the risk of mortality. Ely is principal investigator of the multi-center MIND-USA (Modifying the Impact of ICU-Induced Neurological Dysfunction-USA) Study, which is studying the role of antipsychotics in the management of delirium in vulnerable critically ill patients. He has over 250 peer-reviewed publications and over 50 published book chapters and editorials. He has received numerous honors for his research, including, in 2012, Vanderbilt’s Grant W. Liddle Award for Outstanding Contributions in Clinical Research.

Through the ICU Delirium and Cognitive Impairment Study Group and its ICU Delirium website (, which he founded, he and his colleagues at Vanderbilt and the VA have identified acute brain dysfunction (delirium) as one of the most critical problems facing ICU patients. Their studies have linked delirium with an increased risk of long-term cognitive impairment (acquired dementia) and mortality, prolonged ICU and hospital lengths of stay and significantly higher medical costs. They have developed and validated a clinical measurement tool, the Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU), which has been translated into more than 25 languages and is recommended as a standard of care by the Society for Critical Care Medicine (SCCM) for all patients on mechanical ventilation. This tool has been adapted for use in the Emergency Department (bCAM) and in pediatric critically ill patients (pCAM-0ICU).

Ely and his colleagues also helped develop the newly revised “ABCDEF bundle” of protocols and guidelines, which interprofessional care teams can implement in partnership with patients and families to ensure a safe and comfortable ICU environment. He is co-chair of the SCCM’s “ICU Liberation” task force and is heading up its ABCDEF Improvement Collaborative, which aims to help hospitals nationwide implement the bundle. In September 2015, Vanderbilt will host a two-day conference sponsored by the SCCM to encourage adoption of the guidelines. For his innovative and inspiring approach to continuing medical education, Ely is this year’s recipient of the Frank H. Boehm Award for Excellence in Teaching.


Gerald S. Gotterer Award for Innovation in Educational Programming That Has Proven Effective

Joey Barnett, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology, Medicine, Pediatrics and of Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology; acting chair, Department of Pharmacology; assistant dean, Physician-Researcher Training

Barnett completed his undergraduate training at the University of Southern Indiana prior to obtaining a Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University in 1986. He then served as a research fellow and instructor in Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Barnett returned to Vanderbilt as an assistant professor of Medicine in 1992 and received promotion with tenure in 1999. In 2000, he moved his primary appointment to Pharmacology to direct the Ph.D. training program. Currently Barnett is acting chair of the Department of Pharmacology and professor of Pharmacology, Medicine, Pediatrics and Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology. His research efforts are focused on growth factor receptor signaling in development and homeostasis of the cardiovascular system. His research efforts are focused on growth factor receptor signaling in development and homeostasis of the cardiovascular system. These efforts have revealed unique roles for the Type III TGFβ receptor in valve and coronary vessel formation.

Barnett has a longstanding interest in the training and career development of graduate and medical students. He served as director of Graduate Studies in Pharmacology from 2000 until July 2011, and developed and led several graduate courses. Barnett successfully renewed the National Institutes of Health (NIH) training grant three times, which provided 15 years of funding for the Ph.D. program. He assisted in the organization of alumni development efforts, and spearheaded efforts to form the Pharm.D./ Ph.D. degree partnership with Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy. He also directed a National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) postdoctoral training program in Cardiovascular Pharmacology from 2004 to 2010. More recently, he helped shape and co-direct the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) -funded Training Program in Molecular Medicine.

For 20 years he has taught in graduate courses, mentored students, and participated in several evaluations of both the Pharmacology Training Program and the broader biomedical Ph.D. training programs at Vanderbilt. His efforts have been recognized by the receipt of the Departmental Teaching Award four times, the Elaine Sanders-Bush Award for Mentoring Graduate and Medical Students, and election to the Vanderbilt Academy for Excellence in Teaching. He served as an advisor and reviewer for the Medical Scholars Program and in 2014 was appointed Director of the Office of Medical Student Research and Assistant Dean of Physician-Researcher Training.

Barnett has supported graduate training on the national international levels as past President of the American Heart Association’s Greater Southeast Affiliate, as a member and Chair of the Graduate Education Committee of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET), as  a member of the training committee of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), and as the only U.S. participant in the Organisation for Ph.D. Education in Biomedicine and Health Sciences in the European System (OrPhEuS). For his contributions to graduate education on both the local and national levels, Barnett is the 2015 recipient of the Gerald S. Gotterer Teaching Award.


F. Peter Guengerich Award for Mentoring Postdoctoral Fellows or Residents in the Research Setting

Kathryn Edwards, M.D., Sarah H. Sell and Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair, professor of Pediatrics and director, Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program

Edwards received her M.D. degree from the University of Iowa. After completing a pediatric residency and an infectious disease fellowship at Northwestern University, she was a postdoctoral fellow in Immunology at Rush Medical School. Edwards joined the Vanderbilt faculty as an assistant professor in 1980 and was appointed professor of Pediatrics in 1991. She served as vice-chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Pediatrics from 2001 to 2008. In 1991, she received the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine Distinguished Alumna Award, and in 2008 she was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.

Early in her career, Edwards focused on development of vaccines to prevent Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), at the time a leading cause of sepsis and meningitis in young children. She and others discovered that protein conjugate vaccines generated vigorous immune responses and stimulated long-term immunologic memory, even in the youngest children. Today, protein conjugate Hib and pneumococcal vaccines have virtually eliminated Hib and pneumococcal disease in this country and other parts of the world where these vaccines are used routinely. Her group’s demonstration of the safety and effectiveness of both live and inactivated influenza vaccines in adults and children helped lead to recommendations that all children under 2 years of age should be immunized against flu each year. Edwards and her colleagues also demonstrated the safety and effectiveness acellular pertussis vaccines and published pivotal papers on rotavirus, malaria and other important vaccines.

With more than 400 scientific publications, Edwards’ research prowess is considerable. Yet it is matched, and perhaps exceeded by her long-standing commitment to mentoring. Numerous medical students have worked in her research program; 28 have published manuscripts and 21 have been listed as first author. Similarly, Edwards has served as research mentor to countless resident physicians and postdoctoral fellows. One of her former residents, Dr. Buddy Creech, is now a Vanderbilt faculty member and associate director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program. Her postdoctoral fellows have co-authored more than 190 publications and been listed as first author on 128 papers. One of them, Dr. Thomas Talbot, is the Chief Hospital Epidemiologist at Vanderbilt. Among the many junior faculty members she has mentored, 30 are now in research positions in leading institutions throughout the world.

Edwards has received numerous honors for her research, including, in 2003, the Vanderbilt faculty’s William J. Darby Award. She also has been honored for her commitment to mentoring by the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Society for Pediatric Research as well as Vanderbilt medical students and residents. For her substantial contributions to the next generation of leaders in pediatric and vaccine research, Edwards is this year’s recipient of the F. Peter Guengerich Award for Excellence in Teaching.


John S. Sergent Award for Teaching Medical or Graduate Students in the Small Group Setting

William Cutrer, M.D., M.Ed., assistant professor, Pediatrics and Anesthesiology

Cutrer received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, in 1999, and his M.D. with high distinction from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in 2003. He completed his Pediatrics residency, chief residency and Pediatric Critical Care fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, and received a Master of Education degree from the University of Cincinnati. In 2010, Cutrer joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as an assistant professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

In addition to his clinical practice in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Cutrer has demonstrated a consistent interest in medical education. He served as assistant pediatric clerkship director from 2011 to 2014, and is widely regarded as a gifted small group teacher, mentor, and key contributor to the success of the School of Medicine’s Curriculum 2.0, an innovative medical education model that was implemented in 2013. As advisory college mentor for Batson College, one of four advisory “colleges” within the School of Medicine, Cutrer is responsible for providing wellness guidance, career advising and professional development for more than 100 medical students. He has taught several courses, ranging from the first-year Foundations of the Medical Profession to critical care medicine for fourth-year students.

Cutrer directs the Learning Communities, a professional development component of Curriculum 2.0 and the advisory colleges. He has been responsible for curriculum development and expansion of the Learning Communities from a one-year course to a four-year series, and for their successful integration with concurrent foundational science and clinical activities. He is an evaluator for the third-year Vanderbilt Core for Clinical Curriculum (VC3) standardized year-end assessment, and co-directs the Immersion Phase of Curriculum 2.0, a two-year, post-clerkship phase that advances fundamental knowledge in the context of clinical settings. For his exceptional skills as teacher and mentor, Cutrer was elected in 2012 to the School of Medicine’s Academy of Excellence in Teaching.

Cutrer is very interested in understanding how students learn in the workplace and how to help them more effectively.  He has published and presented widely on these topics. He leads a local working group exploring these issues and participates in the American Medical Association’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative. Cutrer also is a member of a core team from Vanderbilt that participates in the Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency (CEPAER), a guide developed by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to better prepare students for their roles as clinicians. For his leadership and outstanding contributions to advancing medical education, particularly in the small group setting, Cutrer is this year’s recipient of the John S. Sergent Award for Excellence in Teaching.



William J. Darby Award for Translational Research that has Changed the Practice of Medicine Worldwide

Wayne Ray, Ph.D., M.S., professor of Health Policy

Ray received his undergraduate degree with honors from the University of Washington, and completed his graduate studies in biostatistics (M.S., 1974) and computer science (Ph.D., 1981) at Vanderbilt University. His initial faculty appointments on the research track of what formerly was the Vanderbilt Department of Preventive Medicine were followed by appointments as assistant professor in 1984, associate professor in 1985 and professor in 1991. He directed the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology from 1984 to 2013, and served as associate director for Health Services Research at the Veterans’ Administration Tennessee Valley Healthcare System in Nashville from 2001 to 2008. Ray founded the Vanderbilt Master of Public Health program in 1996, and served as its director until 2010. In recognition of his leadership of that program, he received a Vanderbilt Faculty Excellence in Teaching award in 2004.

Ray is one of the founders of the field of pharmacoepidemiology. He pioneered methodology for using large automated databases, particularly the Tennessee Medicaid program, and demonstrated that very large administrative databases containing millions of physician-patient interactions could be used to assess the safety of licensed drugs and biologics. This groundbreaking innovation permitted the study of prescribing practices as well as detection of serious adverse drug effects that were unlikely to be picked up in pre-marketing clinical trials. For example, in 1977 Ray and colleagues reported inappropriate prescribing of liquid tetracyclines to young children which ultimately contributed to the withdrawal of these preparations from the market.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Ray and his colleagues documented, in a series of widely cited papers, the adverse effects of psychotropic use in the elderly, including an increased risk of falls and hip fractures. His group’s work informed guidelines used by the American Geriatrics Society and his team created a safety manual that is used in nursing homes across the country. They were among the first to identify the significant risk of gastrointestinal bleeding associated with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They identified the potential cardiovascular adverse effects of selective COX-2 inhibitors two years before drugs in this class were taken off the market.

In recent years, Ray and his group have been at the forefront of population-based studies identifying increased risk of sudden cardiac death for a variety of medications, including the widely used macrolide antibiotics erythromycin and azithromycin. Ray has achieved an international reputation and is often invited to present his studies to national and international groups. He has published more than 200 papers and is a fellow of the International Society of Pharmacoepidemiology. His 2003 paper on evaluating medication effects outside of clinical trials has been cited more than 600 times and is now part of basic education in pharmacoepidemiology. Because his work has had such a profound effect on the practice of medicine, the regulation of drugs and health care services, Ray is this year’s recipient of the William J. Darby Faculty Research Award.


Sidney P. Colowick Award for Research that Serves as a Platform for Discovery in Diverse Areas

Ethan Lee, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, Cell & Developmental Biology and Pharmacology

Lee received his B.A. in Biochemistry from Rice University and entered the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. He performed a rotation in the lab of Drs. Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine recipients, 1985) that led to his first publication. His thesis work in the lab of Dr. Alfred Gilman (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine recipient, 1994) focused on the structural basis of G protein activation and provided a mechanistic understanding of how G proteins hydrolyze GTP. Lee received the Alfred Gilman Award for Excellence in Pharmacology for his thesis work.

After completing his Ph.D. studies, Lee performed a brief postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Johann Deisenhofer (Nobel Prize in Chemistry recipient, 1988) to learn X-ray crystallography prior to completing his medical degree. After receiving his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in 1997, Lee joined the lab of Dr. Marc Kirschner at Harvard Medical School as a postdoctoral fellow. He was supported by a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship and was a Special Fellow of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America. Using Xenopus laevis egg extract, Dr. Lee developed the first biochemical system to study the Wnt pathway, which plays critical roles in animal development and in human tumorigenesis. He used this system to develop the first mathematical model of the Wnt pathway (known as the “Lee–Heinrich model”). This model provided the intellectual underpinning that explained how a class of Wnt inhibitors, Tankyrase inhibitors, blocks signaling even in the context of activating mutations in the pathway.

In the fall of 2003, Dr. Lee joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. He was promoted to Associate Professor in 2010, and appointed Associate Professor of Pharmacology in 2013. Since his arrival at Vanderbilt, Dr. Lee has continued to dissect the mechanism of Wnt signal transduction during development and in cancer. In one line of investigation, his lab identified a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved compound that inhibited Wnt signaling. Recently this compound received Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA for the treatment of a precancerous human syndrome. In another line of investigation, Lee’s lab uncovered new mechanisms of Wnt pathway activation at the level of the receptor.

As an independent investigator, Lee’s work has been funded by multiple R01 grants from the National Institutes of Health, a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society, and numerous internal and private foundation grants. Dr. Lee is the recipient of a Pew Scholars Award for Biomedical Research and a GI SPORE Career Development Award. He has played an active role in training many graduate students. He is the Cell & Developmental Biology representative of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program and is the organizer of the Cancer and Embryonic Development course. Lee is a member of the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, the Vanderbilt Institute for Chemical Biology, the American Society for Cell Biology and the American Association for Cancer Research. For his innovation in elucidating the molecular mechanism of Wnt signaling, Lee is the recipient of this year’s Sidney P. Colowick Award for Outstanding Contributions to Research.


Ernest W. Goodpasture Award for Groundbreaking Research that Addresses the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease or Important Biological Problems in Immunity

D. Borden Lacy, Ph.D.

Associate professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology and of Biochemistry

Lacy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, where she elucidated the first crystal structure of botulinum neurotoxin in the laboratory of Professor Ray Stevens. This study provided a new platform for inhibitor design, optimization of neutralizing antibodies and new hypothesis-driven investigations into the mechanism of the neurotoxin entry into cells. She then spent six years as a postdoctoral fellow in Professor John Collier’s group at Harvard Medical School.  While there, she made contributions toward the understanding of anthrax toxin cellular entry through studies aimed at receptor-binding, pore formation, and enzymatic protein delivery.

In 2006, Lacy joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine as assistant professor of the Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, and of Biochemistry, and as an investigator in the Vanderbilt Center for Structural Biology. She was promoted to full professor in 2012. Since joining Vanderbilt, Lacy has developed three programs to further investigate the structure and function of bacterial protein toxins: a study of botulinum neurotoxin–receptor interactions; an investigation of the receptor-binding and pore forming properties of the Helicobacter pylori vacuolating toxin, VacA; and an effort to understand the structures and distinct virulence properties of toxins released by Clostridium difficile, the leading cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea in the United States.

In 2007, she achieved the groundbreaking crystal structure of the p55 protein that mediates VacA binding to cells. In 2012 and 2013, her lab reported the actual mechanism by which one of the Clostridium toxins, TcdB, kills cells and showed that N-acetylcysteine, a molecule already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, protected human colonic explants from TcdB-induced damage. She has published and given lectures on all three systems under study in her lab, and in 2008 was selected as a Burroughs Wellcome Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease. Other honors include the Collier Award for Outstanding Presentation at a 2004 Gordon Research Conference and, in 2014, the Margaret C. Etter Early Career Award from the American Crystallographic Association in recognition of her expertise in X-ray crystallography.

Lacy is an active participant in the recruitment and training of graduate students at Vanderbilt, and serves on the Molecular Biophysics and Microbiology and Immunology Graduate Education Committees. From 2014 to 2018, she was a member of the Host Interaction with Bacterial Pathogens Study Section of the National Institutes of Health. She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Microbiology. Because of Lacy’s transformative contributions to elucidating the mechanism of action of bacterial toxins and her impressive demonstration of scientific leadership at both the national and international levels, she is the 2015 recipient of the Ernest W. Goodpasture Award.


Leadership of a Multi-investigator Team Award for Faculty Working Collaboratively or in a Multidisciplinary Manner to Address Important Biological Processes and/or Diseases

Richard Caprioli, Ph.D., Stanford Moore Chair in Biochemistry; professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Chemistry; and director, Mass Spectrometry Research Center

Caprioli received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1965 from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1969, also from Columbia, with Professor David Rittenberg. After a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at Purdue University with Professor John H. Beynon, he was appointed assistant professor of Biochemistry at Purdue in 1970. Caprioli moved to the University of Texas Medical School in Houston in 1975 where he was professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Director of the Analytical Chemistry Center. He moved to Vanderbilt University in 1998 where, in addition to his academic and administrative positions, he is Principal Investigator of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Imaging Mass Spectrometry National Resource.

Caprioli is internationally known for his pioneering innovations in the field of mass spectrometry. His contributions include development of a patented micro-electrospray technology that enables techniques such as multi-dimensional liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) and which is now used worldwide for protein identification. He developed ultra-high sensitivity methods for analysis of neuropeptides, and pioneered molecular analysis in living animals. In the late 1990s, Caprioli’s lab developed a technique called imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI). Essentially a “molecular microscope,” the technique measures the distribution, spatial rearrangement and alteration in expression levels of proteins, lipids and other biological molecules in cells and tissues. It has particular relevance to cancer and has informed the study of human glioblastomas as well as tumors of the breast, colon, prostate and lung. More recently, the Caprioli team reported the first “image fusion” of mass spectrometry and microscopy, a technological tour de force that allows scientists to see the molecular make-up of tissues in high resolution.

Just as profound as his technological acumen are Caprioli’s leadership skills. Over the years, he has collaborated effectively with colleagues at Vanderbilt to identify proteomic patterns that can predict the natural history of lung nodules and cancers, and pharmacogenetic factors affecting response to drugs used to treat hypertension. Last year, Vanderbilt was awarded a five-year, $16.5 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Army Research Office to develop ultrafast mass spectrometry methods that can identify, within 30 days, biochemical pathways in human cells affected by potentially toxic agents of any kind. Caprioli has assembled a Vanderbilt “dream team” of experts from Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, and Physics. Their goal, to rapidly identify biological threats, is the molecular equivalent of the first moon landing.

Dr. Caprioli’s contributions to the field of mass spectrometry are legion. He has published more than 300 scientific papers and holds 12 U.S. patents, served a term as president of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Mass Spectrometry, and is on the board of the international Human Proteome Organization (HUPO). He has received numerous awards for his contributions to mass spectrometry, and in 2012 was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. But it is his ability to assemble and lead highly effective units of well-established, renowned scientists to solve significant biological problems that earns him this year’s Leadership of a Multi-Investigator Team Award.


Research Enhancement Award for Development, Implementation, and/or Creation of Technology that Elevates the Research and Science of Multiple Investigators

Bradley Malin, Ph.D., associate professor and vice chair for research, Department of Biomedical Informatics; associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and founder and director, Vanderbilt Health Information Privacy Laboratory

Malin earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences, a Master of Science degree in Computer Science, a Master of Philosophy degree in Public Policy and Management, and a Ph.D. in Computer Science, all from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. After receiving his doctorate in 2006, he joined the Vanderbilt University faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and a research assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, School of Engineering. In 2011, Dr. Malin was promoted to associate professor, and since 2013 he has been part of the affiliated faculty of the Vanderbilt University Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society.

During his first two years at Vanderbilt, Malin helped develop the synthetic derivative de-identified medical record, which is linked to DNA samples in the BioVU DNA databank. With DNA samples from more than 200,000 subjects linked to their de-identified medical records, BioVU is now the world’s largest biorepository housed at a single academic medical center. He is the founder and current director of the Health Information Privacy Laboratory (HIPLab), which conducts research in technologies that enable privacy in the context of real world organizational, political, and health information architectures. Since 2007, Malin also has been a key Vanderbilt participant in the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Electronic Medical Records and Genomics Network, for which he leads its “privacy and re-identification science” efforts.

Malin has received national and international attention and acclaim for his contributions to electronic health record privacy research. In 2008 he was a Stahlman Faculty Scholar at the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, and two years later he received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from the White House, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government to scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. Malin also is an inducted fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics. From 2010 to 2013, he advised the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the drafting and issuing of de-identification guidelines. He led development of an efficient private record linkage tool that can link patient information from different health care providers without disclosing sensitive patient information. The paper describing this tool earned the Homer R. Warner Award for best paper at the 2014 American Medical Informatics Association annual symposium.

Malin is a highly regarded teacher, and in 2011 received the inaugural Outstanding Educator Award from the Department of Biomedical Informatics. Many of his students at all levels – graduate, post-graduate and even high school – have pursued further training and careers as software engineers, technical program managers and health knowledge architects. For his transformative impact on the field of health information privacy science at the local, national and international levels, Malin is the 2015 recipient of the Research Enhancement Award.