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New awards honor contributions to translational research at VUMC

Nov. 5, 2015, 10:14 AM

Tina Hartert, M.D., MPH, left, and Gordon Bernard, M.D., here with Katherine Hartmann, M.D., Ph.D., were honored with new awards for their dedication to the advancement of translational research at Vanderbilt. (photo by Anne Rayner)

Two physician-scientist leaders at Vanderbilt University Medical Center were honored last week with newly created awards for helping to build and nurture Vanderbilt’s vibrant culture of clinical and translational research.

Gordon Bernard, M.D., associate vice chancellor for Research (clinical) and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR), received the first Distinguished Service to Translational Scientists Award.

Tina Hartert, M.D., MPH, assistant vice chancellor for Translational Science and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Asthma and Environmental Health Research, is the first recipient of the Excellence in Mentoring Translational Scientists Award.

The awards were presented Oct. 30 at the Vanderbilt Student Life Center during the annual Vanderbilt Translational Research Forum, a celebration and showcase of research that brings the fruits of lab bench science to the patient’s bedside.

The forum was sponsored by the Elliot Newman Society, a professional organization for Vanderbilt physician-scientists and Ph.D. scientists on mentored career development awards, the Translational Bridge, which supports investigators who are completing training and establishing their careers, the Master of Public Health (MPH) Program and the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation (MSCI) Program.

In presenting the Distinguished Service award, Lawrence Marnett, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research (basic science), read a long list of Bernard’s visionary achievements that are now key elements of Vanderbilt’s robust research infrastructure.

They include StarBRITE, an interactive, Web-based system that provides one-stop shopping for research needs, pilot funding for early research projects provided through VICTR, BioVU, Vanderbilt’s massive DNA databank, and ResearchMatch, which matches clinical research volunteers with investigators across the country.

Bernard, the Melinda Owen Bass Professor of Medicine, said he was surprised by the honor.

“It’s a pleasure of mine to actually serve you as trainees,” he told the audience. “It’s something I greatly enjoy and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Bernard, in turn, presented the Excellence in Mentoring Award, and noted Hartert’s longtime commitment to mentoring. She formerly directed the Medical Scholars Program and the Office of Medical Student Research.

Hartert, the Lulu H. Owen Professor of Medicine, said the award was “one of the greatest honors someone could ever get in research … Mentoring the next generation is probably one of the most fun parts of a life in science.”

The awardees received hand-blown glass lamps made by Tennessee artist Curtiss Block to capture the “magic” of light meeting glass.

The lamps “symbolize the magic that happens between creative ideas and practical translation, which is what we think research is,” said Katherine Hartmann, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean of Clinical and Translational Scientist Development.

Hartmann, who introduced the program, is the Lucius E. Burch Professor of Reproductive Physiology and Family Planning, director of Women’s Health Research and deputy director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Medicine and Public Health.

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