August 18, 2022

Abramson, Eng, Johnson named to new VICC roles

Three physician researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center are assuming additional leadership roles.

Three physician researchers at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC) are assuming additional leadership roles.

Douglas Johnson, MD, MSCI

Ben Ho Park, MD, PhD, the Cornelius Abernathy Craig Professor of Medicine, and director of VICC, announced the new leadership roles.

  • Douglas Johnson, MD, MSCI, holder of the Susan and Luke Simons Directorship, has been named director for Precision Oncology.
  • Vandana Abramson, MD, the Donna S. Hall Professor of Breast Cancer, has been named interim co-leader for the Breast Cancer Research Program.
  • Cathy Eng, MD, the David H. Johnson Professor of Surgical and Medical Oncology, has been named director for Strategic Relations.

Johnson, associate professor of Medicine, is co-leader of the Translational Research and Interventional Oncology Research Program and clinical director of Melanoma.

Vandana Abramson, MD

“Dr. Johnson is an internationally known expert in the field of immunotherapy and targeted therapy outcomes,” Park said. “His research program focuses on identifying clinical and molecular signatures of response to immunotherapy, clinical and molecular characterization of immunotherapy toxicities, and the long-term impact of novel cancer therapies on patient health.

“Dr. Johnson has served admirably as the associate director for Precision Oncology during the past year. In his new role, he will lead VICC’s ongoing efforts in precision oncology including local and international molecular tumor boards, ongoing research, and clinical workflows for next-generation sequencing, as well as provider messaging for precision therapy. While VICC is already established as a national leader in precision oncology and immunotherapies, I have every confidence in his ability to take VICC Precision Oncology to even greater heights and impact for patient care through the development of new approaches for matching patients with treatments.”

Cathy Eng, MD

Abramson, professor of Medicine, leads the VICC Breast Cancer Disease Team and its clinical trials portfolio, as well as serving as a clinical co-lead on the VICC Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) in Breast Cancer NCI grant.

“Dr. Abramson is an international leader in breast cancer clinical research with expertise in the analysis of breast cancer clinical outcomes and integration of these data with the results of molecular and genomic correlatives,” Park said.

“As interim co-leader for the Breast Cancer Research Program, Dr. Abramson will partner with Justin Balko, PharmD, PhD, co-leader of the Breast Cancer Research Program, to further the aims of the program and continue to play an integral role in translating discoveries made in basic and population science-based programs into meaningful outcomes for patients, ensuring a seamless and ongoing pipeline of translation into the clinic. Dr. Abramson will be actively involved in the mentorship of breast cancer clinicians and trainees, engaging future generations of outstanding breast cancer researchers and clinicians that will ultimately lead to cures.”

Eng, professor of Medicine, the co-leader of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Research Program, and director of VICC Young Adult Cancers Program, will also serve as director for Strategic Relations at VICC.

“Dr. Eng is a nationally and internationally renowned leader in gastrointestinal oncology, specifically anorectal cancer, whose research focuses on phase 1-3 clinical trial development using novel therapeutics and approaches for biomarker discovery and enhanced drug utilization in gastrointestinal cancers,” Park said. “Dr. Eng recently completed the prestigious Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women at Drexel University College of Medicine. As part of her ELAM program leadership project, Dr. Eng identified substantive opportunities to increase our visibility and leverage digital technologies to enhance VICC’s position as an international leader in research, education/mentorship, patient care and inclusion.

“She also developed a strategic relations communication plan to strengthen VICC’s presence amongst our peers. In this new role, Dr. Eng will oversee efforts to expand cancer center communications both within VICC and across Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) as well as those external to institution. She will partner with VUMC faculty and staff and VICC leadership to implement tactics for enhancing communications across a multitude of platforms including social media and website content, ensure continuity of communication across VICC’s main campus and offsite locations, and identify further opportunities for strengthening VICC relationships locally, regionally and nationally,” Park said.