April 25, 2008

Balser to serve as interim Med School dean

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Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D.

Balser to serve as interim Med School dean

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research, has been named interim dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Balser will assume this new role in mid-May. Dean Steven Gabbe, M.D., will assist in the transition through June 30, then will become senior vice president for Health Sciences and chief executive officer at Ohio State University Medical Center on July 1.

“Our School of Medicine has outstanding faculty, world-class research and highly respected educational programs at all levels,” said Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs. “Jeff Balser embodies this excellence. He is the ideal person to lead the school during this transition period.”

“I'm proud to be entrusted with this honor,” Balser said. “As an alumnus of our Medical Scientist Training Program, I know what exceptional faculty, students and residents we have here. My goal is to ensure and advance the School's continued success.”

After receiving his M.D. and Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Vanderbilt in 1990, Balser trained as a resident and fellow in anesthesiology and critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins, where he joined the faculty in 1995. He returned to Vanderbilt in 1998 as associate dean for Physician Scientists. In 2001 he was appointed the James Tayloe Gwathmey Professor and Chair of Anesthesiology. In 2004 he became associate vice chancellor for Research.

Balser is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, the AAMC Advisory Panel on Research, and chairs the NIH Director's Pioneer Award Committee. His studies in Nature, PNAS and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology have established new paradigms for cardiac excitation-contraction coupling, and are yielding new targets for arrhythmia control.

A committee led by R. Daniel Beauchamp, M.D., chair of the Department of Surgical Sciences, will lead a nationwide search for a permanent dean.