October 27, 2022

Terker selected as VUMC Discovery Scholar in Health and Medicine

Andrew Terker, MD, PhD

Andrew Terker, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, has been selected as the 2022 VUMC Discovery Scholar in Health and Medicine.

The Discovery Scholars program was launched in 2020 with funding from the Brock Family Directorship in Career Development Endowment to support the recruitment and development of talented early-career basic scientists.

Discovery Scholars receive a research award supplement to their start-up package, collaboration with a data scientist and full salary coverage for up to four years or until the Discovery Scholar obtains external research funding.

Terker, who joined the Vanderbilt faculty earlier this year after completing residency training and conducting postdoctoral work at VUMC, has attracted national recognition and support for his research elaborating the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of both acute and chronic kidney disease.

Jennifer Pietenpol, PhD, VUMC Chief Scientific and Strategy Officer and holder of the Brock Family Directorship in Career Development, initiated the Discovery Scholars program with Eric Skaar, PhD, MPH, the Ernest W. Goodpasture Professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

“Dr. Terker is an excellent choice to join the VUMC Discovery Scholars Program,” said Skaar, who directs the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation (VI4).

“He has made impactful contributions to our understanding of kidney disease, and this award speaks to the tremendous potential of his research group to continue on this impressive trajectory,” he said. “His selection as a Discovery Scholar builds upon the outstanding cohort of faculty in this program.

“Dr. Terker’s attributes exemplify a true physician-scientist who is dedicated to innovative and impactful research that will translate into better care of patients with kidney disease,” said Alp Ikizler, MD, professor of Medicine, director of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, and Catherine McLaughlin Hakim Professor of Vascular Biology.

“His selection for this this prestigious award is not a surprise and is an indication for his future success,” Ikizler said.

A 2017 graduate of the MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training Program at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, Terker came to VUMC for his residency training and was Chief Harrison Fellow in the Department of Medicine’s Physician Scientist Training Program and Harrison Society.

In April, he and Juan Pablo Arroyo, MD, PhD, also an assistant professor in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, received Emerging Generation Awards from the American Society for Clinical Investigation in recognition of their excellence as physician-scientists engaged in immersive research early in their careers.

Terker also is the recipient of a 2022 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Early Independence Award, announced by the NIH earlier this month. He is the third Vanderbilt faculty member to receive the award, which provides $250,000 in direct research costs annually for up to five years.

Terker trained in the laboratory of Raymond Harris, MD, the Ann and Roscoe R. Robinson Professor of Nephrology, and is currently establishing his lab in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension. Since coming to VUMC, he has contributed to 18 scientific publications.

“I want to thank the Brock Family, Drs. Skaar and Pietenpol, and the Department of Medicine for this incredible honor,” Terker said. “It will be so helpful in establishing my research program here at Vanderbilt.”

Each year, the Discovery Scholars program will recognize and support one or two outstanding faculty candidates in basic science research across all VUMC departments. Each department may nominate up to two candidates per year.

Nominees should be tenure-track assistant professors hired within the previous 18 months. They should be less than three years from their last training experience (typically postdoctoral fellowships), and they must be pursuing basic science research in a VUMC department.

Alexander Bick, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Genetic Medicine, was selected as the inaugural 2020 Discovery Scholar. Benjamin Bratton, PhD, assistant professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, was last year’s recipient.

For more information about the nomination process, contact Amy Martinez, PhD, Scientific Program Officer, Office of Research, at amy.f.martinez@vumc.org.