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Roden’s circulatory diseases research honored

Jun. 21, 2018, 8:38 AM

Vanderbilt University’s Dan Roden, MD, internationally known for his contributions to understanding how genetic variation affects drug response, has been named a recipient of the 2018 Louis and Artur Lucian Award for Research in Circulatory Diseases by McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Dan Roden, MD

Roden, Senior Vice President for Personalized Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and holder of the endowed Sam L. Clark, MD, PhD Chair in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, shares the award with Nabil G. Seidah, PhD, of the University of Montreal.

The award, which was established in 1978, honors outstanding research in circulatory diseases. Roden was recognized for his leadership in developing tools for personalized medicine as well as for his studies of the genetic and molecular basis of abnormal heart rhythms.

“This is a huge honor for me and for the work that many have done here to propel us into a national leadership position in personalized medicine,” said Roden, professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Biomedical Informatics and director of the Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics. “It is especially wonderful because McGill is my alma mater.”

“This is a magnificent recognition of Dan’s seminal contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms of arrhythmias and to the realization of personalized therapies,” added Nancy Brown, MD, the Hugh J. Morgan Professor of Medicine and chair of the Department, who nominated him.

A native of Canada, Roden earned his Bachelor of Science and medical degrees from McGill. After completing residency training in Montreal, he arrived at Vanderbilt 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 — and especially the role genetic variations play in adverse drug reactions such as drug-induced arrhythmias.

Roden directed the Division of Clinical Pharmacology from 1992 to until 2004, when he became founding director of the Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Roden is the author of more than 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.

Previous Lucian Award winners include three Nobel laureates — Robert Lefkowitz, MD, Brian Kobilka, MD, and Robert Furchgott, PhD — and a Vanderbilt scientist, Barbara Meyrick-Clarry, PhD, professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, emerita, who made seminal contributions to understanding the pathology of lung diseases including primary idiopathic pulmonary hypertension.

Roden and Seidah will share a prize of $60,000 Canadian dollars (about $46,300 US dollars) and spend one or two weeks at McGill giving talks and interacting with scientists there.

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