February 26, 1999

Daniel named to lead new VUMC Center for Vascular Biology

Daniel named to lead new VUMC Center for Vascular Biology

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Dr. Thomas Daniel

Dr. Thomas O. Daniel has been named Catherine McLaughlin Hakim Professor of Medicine and director of the new Vanderbilt Center for Vascular Biology.

The new center is expected to extend Vanderbilt's efforts to stimulate broad-based interdisciplinary research in vascular diseases.

"The goal of the new Center for Vascular Biology is to recruit and develop outstanding scientific investigators in the area of vascular biology, and to catalyze the application of their basic scientific discoveries into therapies for patients," Daniel said. "I view this as a tremendous opportunity to amplify our collaborative environment here at Vanderbilt, much as the Cancer, Diabetes, Skin Diseases, Toxicology, and other Centers have.

"I am deeply greatful for the recognition and opportunities that the Catherine McLaughlin Hakim chair will provide to support our work. She was a close friend whose untimely death lives in my memory as a constant reminder of the importance of the work we are trying to accomplish," Daniel said.

Daniel appreciates the possibilities for fundamental discoveries in vascular biology to find applications in the treatment of a wide range of diseases. His own research has focused on molecular regulation of angiogenesis, the assembly of blood vessels.

"The truth is that blood vessels are willing collaborators in many disease processes, not only in cancer and cardiovascular diseases, but also in diabetes, skin diseases, ophthalmological, rheumatological, renal and other diseases. As our capacity to regulate their participation evolves, blood vessels promise to offer new therapeutic targets. The recent excitement about anti-cancer drugs derived from natural regulators of angiogenesis is only one example."

The new center will also develop a Human Vascular Applications Laboratory.

"The applications laboratory will permit us to develop and recruit clinical trials for vasculature-directed therapies at Vanderbilt," Daniel said. "I look forward to the opportunity to interface these efforts with those of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Cancer, Diabetes, and Skin Diseases Centers."

As director, Daniel plans to heighten awareness among patients and investigators of the potential for vasculature-directed therapies to treat disease.

"I am grateful for the opportunity for this vision to play out in this particular community of scientists, clinicians, students, and trainees. VUMC is unique in its capacity for collaborative involvement in important missions."

Daniel received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1978. He completed an internal medicine internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital. He then returned to UT Southwestern for a clinical nephrology fellowship followed by a postdoctoral research fellowship in the department of Molecular Genetics with Nobel laureates Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein.

He was an instructor and then assistant professor of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, where he was also an assistant investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His involvement in the Cardiovascular Research Institute at UCSF encouraged Daniel's interest in the microvascular endothelium and diseases that target it.

Daniel joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1987 and is now professor of Medicine and Cell Biology.

He is the program director of the Host-Tumor Interactions Program at the Vanderbilt Cancer Center and the associate director of the Medical Scientist Training Program. He also serves as the chair of the VUMC Conflict of Interest Committee.

Daniel has served on an NIH study section and is a consultant to biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms developing vascular therapies. Daniel is active in national committees of the American Society of Nephrology, serving on the Program Committee in 1995 and on the Basic Science Committee since 1996. He has recently organized a national meeting sponsored by the American Society of Nephrology on "Horizons in Vascular Biology and Therapeutics," to be held in November.