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McGill University honors Roden’s research career

Oct. 19, 2017, 9:35 AM

Dan Roden, M.D., Senior Vice President for Personalized Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), was named to receive the 2017 Medicine Alumni Global Lifetime Achievement Award by the Faculty of Medicine of his alma mater, McGill University.

Dan Roden, M.D.

Six Medicine Alumni Global Awards were presented during Homecoming Weekend on the McGill University campus in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

“I have received awards from national organizations and given named lectures in dozens of places,” Roden told McGill’s Medicine Focus magazine, “But being asked to come back to your home territory to accept an honor like this is very special and I am very grateful.”

Roden holds the Sam L. Clark, M.D., Ph.D. Endowed Chair, is professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Biomedical Informatics, and directs the John A. Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics.

Born and raised in Montreal, he earned both his Bachelor of Science degree (1970) and his medical degree (MDCM, 1974) from McGill.

After residency training in Montreal, Roden arrived at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1978 as a research fellow in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology and later as a fellow in Cardiology.

Since joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 1981, Roden has become internationally recognized for his studies of the mechanisms and treatment of abnormal heart rhythms and variability in drug response. One major interest has been pharmacogenomics — the role genetic variations play in drug-induced arrhythmias.

Roden directed the Division of Clinical Pharmacology from 1992 to until 2004, when he became founding director of the Oates Institute. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Roden is the author of nearly 700 peer-reviewed original and invited scientific papers.

He is a leader in Vanderbilt’s PREDICT project (Pharmacogenomic Resource for Enhanced Decisions in Care and Treatment), which since 2010 has applied genomic testing to drug prescribing in an effort to avoid adverse drug reactions.

Roden co-directs the Improving Prediction of Drug Action program, part of the Pharmacogenetics Research Network funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He also is co-principal investigator for the Vanderbilt site of the NIH Electronic Medical Records and Genomics Network and is principal investigator for Vanderbilt’s DNA databank, BioVU.

With nearly a quarter of a million DNA and other biological samples from different individuals, BioVU is now the largest single-site bio bank in the world. It has become a resource for studies around the world aimed at understanding the genetic contributions to disease.

“It has really turned into a tool for discovery in ways we did not anticipate,” Roden told Medicine Focus. “And that is one of the things that make it fun.”

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