April 18, 2019

Medical Societies honor multiple Vanderbilt faculty

Several Vanderbilt faculty members were recently honored during the joint annual meeting of the Association of American Physicians (AAP) and American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

New AAP and ASCI members

Four faculty members of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine have been elected to membership in one of the nation’s oldest and most respected honor societies — the Association of American Physicians (AAP).

They are:

Italo Biaggioni, MD, David Robertson, MD, Professor of Autonomic Disorders and professor of Medicine and Pharmacology;

Alp Ikizler, MD, Catherine McLaughlin Hakim Professor of Vascular Biology, professor of Medicine and director of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension;

Lynne Stevenson, MD, Lisa M. Jacobson Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and professor of Medicine; and

Lorraine Ware, MD, professor of Medicine and professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

In addition, Anna Hemnes, MD, associate professor of Medicine, was elected to membership in the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), an elite honor society of nearly 3,000 physician-scientists. Fifty Vanderbilt physician-scientists are members of the ASCI.

The five physicians were inducted into the AAP and ASCI earlier this month during the societies’ joint annual meeting with the American Physician Scientist Association in Chicago.

Biaggioni studies the regulation by the autonomic nervous system of heart rate and blood pressure, and its role in hypertension and obesity.

He directs the Autonomic Dysfunction Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, one of a handful of centers dedicated to diagnosis and management of patients with autonomic disorders.

Ikizler, an internationally known clinical investigator, focuses on the care of patients with chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease on maintenance dialysis and acute kidney injury. He is past president of the International Society of Renal Nutrition and Metabolism.

Stevenson directs the Cardiomyopathy Program and Heart Failure/Transplant Fellowship at VUMC.

She elucidated fundamental physiologic principles incorporated worldwide into textbooks and guidelines for advanced heart failure care and helped establish an international registry and profiling system tracking over 22,000 patients receiving circulatory support devices.

Ware is widely recognized for her studies of the role of the alveolar epithelium in acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome. She contributed to the landmark Lung Transplant Outcomes Group and directs the Vanderbilt Medical Scholars Program.

Hemnes is an expert in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) — high blood pressure in the lung. She is also interested in the non-invasive diagnosis and evaluation of pulmonary vascular disease including pulmonary embolism — blood clots in the lung.

Three receive ASCI awards

Three clinical investigators at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have received 2019 Young Physician-Scientist Awards from the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI).

They were among 35 recipients honored earlier this month during the society’s joint annual meeting with the Association of American Physicians and the American Physician Scientist Association in Chicago.

The awardees are:

Jim Cassat, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Pediatrics and of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine, and assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Engineering;

Douglas Johnson, MD, MSCI, assistant professor of Medicine and clinical director of the Melanoma Research Program at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center; and

Jonathan Kropski, MD, assistant professor of Medicine and of Cell and Developmental Biology, and recipient of a 2018 Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

The Young Physician-Scientist Awards program was established by ASCI in 2013 to recognize young investigators supported by National Institutes of Health funding who are early in their first faculty appointment and have made “notable achievements” in their research.

Cassat, a pediatric infectious disease specialist who joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2014, is studying host-pathogen interactions during osteomyelitis (bone infection).

He recently collaborated with the laboratory of Eric Skaar, PhD, to develop an integrated molecular imaging platform for studying tissue heterogeneity during staphylococcal infection.

He won a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award for Medical Scientists in 2014 to help support his research and currently serves as an assistant director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation (VI4).

Johnson joined the faculty in 2014 after receiving his MSCI from Vanderbilt. He is conducting clinical and molecular profiling of immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI)-induced neurotoxicity (nerve damage).

Kropski earned his medical degree at Vanderbilt and joined the faculty in 2015.

He is using single-cell genomic technologies to study pulmonary fibrosis, a chronic lung disease characterized by progressive scarring of lung tissue.

Previous recipients of the ASCI Young Physician-Scientist Award from Vanderbilt include Jorge Gamboa, MD, PhD, research assistant professor of Medicine; Meena Madhur, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine and of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics; and Evan Brittain, MD, MSCI, assistant professor of Medicine.