August 14, 1998

Cherrington to chair Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

Cherrington to chair Molecular Physiology and Biophysics

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Alan Cherrington, Ph.D., has been named chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. (Photo by Donna Jones Bailey).

Alan D. Cherrington, Ph.D., Charles H. Best Professor of Diabetes Research, has been named chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

A 24-year member of the VUMC faculty, Cherrington has for the past 14 years served as vice chair of the department. He succeeds Dr. Daryl K. Granner, Joe C. Davis Professor of Biomedical Sciences and leader of the department for the past 14 years, who stepped down recently to focus full-time on directing and growing the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center.

Cherrington inherits a department that, under Granner's guidance, rose to become one of the premier investigational physiology programs in the nation. In recent years, it has become the top-ranked department in the country in terms of attracting NIH funding.

Maintaining that level of excellence will be a daunting challenge, but it's one that Cherrington is well prepared for, said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs.

"Alan is a gifted investigator and has proven, as vice chairman of the department, to be a highly effective leader and administrator. His appointment made sense, and we expect him to carry on the department's tradition of achievement," Jacobson said.

Cherrington himself relishes the challenge of leading the department into the next century.

"This is one of the premiere Molecular Physiology and Biophysics departments in the country, and because of that, it is a great honor to be chosen to lead it," he said. "Leadership in the past has taken this department to new levels, and it is a challenge to continue that tradition. In many ways the best leaders are the ones that can create a symbiosis between themselves and their faculty members that serves to not only grow the department, but allow the individual researchers room to grow themselves.

"Often in order to make a department better you have to first take it apart. With our department, there is no need to take anything apart because we already have a strong faculty. In our case, we simply need to add new faculty members and we have been given the resources to do so," Cherrington said.

Granner said he leaves the helm of the department knowing it is in capable hands.

"Alan is a world-class scientist and a leader in the field of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. He is an outstanding educator in the classroom and in the laboratory, with people skills that serve him well. His tenure as vice chairman and as a researcher has prepared him well for his role as chairman," Granner said.

Cherrington received his Ph.D. in Endocrinology from the University of Toronto and joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1974. He is a member of the American Diabetes Association, the American Physiology Society, the European Diabetes Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, the American Institute of Nutrition and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International.

Cherrington's primary area of research is diabetes and he is the author of nearly 200 published papers. Last year he was honored with the coveted Fredrick Banting Award, given yearly by the American Diabetes Association for outstanding achievement in the area of diabetes and metabolism research.