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Hu named to direct Office for Medical Student Research

Feb. 2, 2022, 2:19 PM

Patrick Hu, MD, PhD, has been named assistant dean for Physician-Researcher Training and director of the Office for Medical Student Research.
Patrick Hu, MD, PhD, has been named assistant dean for Physician-Researcher Training and director of the Office for Medical Student Research. (photo by Susan Urmy)

by Kathy Whitney

Patrick Hu, MD PhD, associate professor of Medicine and Cell and Developmental Biology, has been named assistant dean for Physician-Researcher Training and director of the Office for Medical Student Research.

Hu will assume the directorship on July 1 from Joey Barnett, PhD, professor of Pharmacology, who has held the position since 2014. Hu has spent the past several years as the director of the Physician-Scientist Training Program/-Harrison Society in the Department of Medicine.

“Dr. Barnett has taken our medical student research program to tremendous heights, and we are grateful for the many hours that he has spent mentoring, guiding and teaching students. We could not have asked for a better person to lead this area for the last several years,” said Donald Brady, MD, senior associate dean for Health Sciences Education.

Hu will oversee all of the activities of the office, which include a four-year research curriculum for medical students who are not enrolled in the MD/PhD program.

“I am delighted that Dr. Hu will be assuming this very important role,” Brady said.

Hu has an AB in biology from Harvard and earned his MD/PhD from New York University. He served his residency in internal medicine from Johns Hopkins, his fellowship in adult oncology from Dana Farber/Partners Cancer Care, and a post-doc in genetics from Massachusetts General Hospital.

“As one senior leader told me, ‘If there is anyone at Vanderbilt who can make research and discovery fun and exciting for anyone, it is Patrick,’” Brady said.

“While one of his own areas of research interest is in deciphering the genetic basis of human health, Dr. Hu is really excited about working with medical students, learning their research interests, and helping guide them down the paths that excite them and facilitate their research education and experiences here in the School of Medicine and at VUMC.”

During the first and second years of medical school, students learn about the principles of research in preparation for a three- to six-month mentored research experience in their third or fourth years.

Hu will oversee the pairing of students with their projects and mentors and will also provide important training to faculty members who serve in research mentoring roles.

Students have the opportunity to undertake projects in a wide variety of research areas, including Epidemiology and Informatics; Ethics, Policy & Society; Global, Community & Health Services Research; and Molecular & Cellular Medical Research.

Hu will also oversee the Medical Scholars Program, which provides support for eight students annually to dedicate a full year to a mentored research project.

“Vanderbilt has a longstanding reputation as one of the top institutions in the country for physician-scientist training. I am excited about this unique opportunity to help further integrate research training into the medical school curriculum and expand the physician-scientist development pipeline here at Vanderbilt,” Hu said.

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