March 29, 2024

Anna Hemnes named director of the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

Anna Hemnes, MD, has been named director of the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, physician-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Lung Institute and director of the Center for Lung Research.

Anna Hemnes, MD Anna Hemnes, MD

Anna Hemnes, MD, professor of Medicine, has been named director of the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, physician-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Lung Institute and director of the Center for Lung Research.

The division is at the forefront of essential research in the field of respiratory diseases and provides robust clinical and research training. Division faculty members provide high-quality clinical care across a wide spectrum of diseases, helping patients manage conditions ranging from mild allergies to chronic lung disease.

Faculty practice in a number of clinical care settings within the Vanderbilt Lung Institute, founded in 2020 with the goal of seamlessly interconnecting patient care delivery in Pulmonary Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, and Thoracic Surgery. Since opening, the VLI has greatly expanded clinical services throughout the region and has delivered integrated and personalized state-of-the-art care and research with a focus on lung transplantation and advanced lung diseases.

Hemnes succeeds Timothy Blackwell, MD, who left Vanderbilt University Medical Center in March to chair the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan.

Since 2007 the division has grown from 37 to 118 faculty members and advanced practice providers with more than $50 million annually of research funding.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Hemnes to this new role. She has a vision for excellence in education, research and clinical care. Her appointment heralds a new chapter in the division, promising continued growth and innovation under her expert guidance,” said Jane Freedman, MD, professor of Medicine, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, interim chair for the Department of Medicine and physician-in-chief for VUMC.

Hemnes, who holds the Elsa S. Hanigan Chair in Pulmonary Medicine, is a translational physician-scientist with a research focus on the role of altered metabolism in pulmonary vascular disease. Her basic research is on the effect of BMPR2 mutation on insulin-mediated intracellular signaling in the pulmonary vasculature and the right ventricle.

Her clinical research interests include the role of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome in human pulmonary vascular disease with a focus on genetic susceptibility to these conditions, and deep molecular phenotyping of pulmonary vascular disease. Her lab is currently investigating novel blood-based ‘omic’ predictive strategies for FDA-approved therapies for pulmonary arterial hypertension.

“I am thrilled to be the next director of the Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Division where I have been for nearly 18 years first as research fellow and later as a faculty member,” Hemnes said. “Our division is tremendously strong in all aspects of academic medicine — research, education and patient care —and I look forward to working with the leadership of the Medical Center, the Department of Medicine and our division members to grow and evolve in all three missions.”

Hemnes received her undergraduate degree in biology and anthropology from Columbia University in New York and her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After her internship, residency and fellowship at Johns Hopkins, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine at VUMC before joining the faculty.

Hemnes was elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2019 and is co-chair of the ASCI Physician-Scientist Development Committee, which monitors, creates and supports programming for early-career physician-scientists. She was named to the Association of American Physicians this year.

Last year she was one of four faculty members from VUMC selected to participate in the highly competitive 2023-2024 Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine program. Her selection places her among the very best and brightest women leaders in academic medicine across the country.

Hemnes serves on the board of directors and is president of the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute, is chair of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s Scientific Leadership Council and is co-editor in chief of the journal Pulmonary Circulation.