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Medical societies honor VUMC’s Cover, Williams

Jun. 11, 2015, 9:12 AM

Two physicians from Vanderbilt University have been elected to membership in two of the nation’s oldest and most respected medical honor societies — the Association of American Physicians (AAP) and the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

Timothy Cover, M.D.

Timothy Cover, M.D., professor of Medicine and Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, was inducted into the AAP, and Christopher Williams, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology, was inducted into the ASCI at the joint annual meeting of the two societies.

“I am very appreciative of this honor,” Cover said. “I believe this recognition reflects the outstanding research environment here at Vanderbilt.”

Cover and his colleagues study how pathogenic bacteria cause disease, with a particular focus on Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori colonizes the stomach, causing chronic inflammation and increasing risk of peptic ulcers and stomach cancer. It is the only bacterial pathogen that commonly causes cancer in humans.

Christopher Williams, M.D., Ph.D.

Cover earned his M.D. from Duke University and joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1990.

Williams and his colleagues study how the intestinal epithelium — the layer of cells lining the intestines — responds to injury and how the injury responses relate to the development of colorectal cancer. In one set of studies, they are focusing on how inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) increases the risk of colitis-associated carcinoma.

“I’m absolutely thrilled and humbled to be inducted into the ASCI,” Williams said. “My election, in no small way, is an indicator of the tremendous support that Vanderbilt provides for physician-scientist mentoring and development, and I think reflects the caliber of the institution as a whole.”

Williams earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Vanderbilt and joined the faculty in 2007. He is the director of the Physician-Scientist Training Program in the Department of Medicine.

The AAP was founded in 1885 for “the advancement of scientific and practical medicine.” The AAP includes more than 1,300 active members and approximately 600 emeritus and honorary members. Cover joins 40 current and emeritus Vanderbilt faculty members who are members of the AAP.

The ASCI, established in 1908, has more than 3,000 physician-scientists from all medical specialties who were elected for “outstanding records of scholarly achievement in biomedical research” early in their careers. Williams joins 48 current and emeritus Vanderbilt faculty members who are members of ASCI.

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