December 13, 2002

Dermody chosen to lead training program

Featured Image

Dermody chosen to lead training program

Dr. Terence S. Dermody, professor of Pediatrics and Microbiology and Immunology and director of the Elizabeth B. Lamb Center for Pediatric Research, has been named associate director of the Vanderbilt Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP).

Dermody will become director of the MSTP next spring when Dr. David Robertson, Elton Yates Professor of Autonomic Disorders and director of the Clinical Research Center, and present director of the program, steps down.

The MSTP provides students with training in both medicine and science. Successful completion of the program leads to both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees.

“The program is designed to train physicians committed to careers in research and education,” said Dermody. “The key goal of the program is to train leaders in academic medicine, which means having a solid background in science.

“The students are spectacular, and I look forward to working with them in this new capacity. I am thrilled to be asked to play a leadership role in the MSTP.”

Dermody said the program has a solid foundation. Established at Vanderbilt in 1956, the program has received funding from the National Institutes of Health for the past 24 years. Students typically complete the first two years of medical school, pursue graduate studies for three to four years and then return to medical school to complete the final two years of clinical training.

The Vanderbilt program enrolls 10 new students each year and currently includes 65 students.

“Our Medical Scientist Training Program has had extremely strong leadership over the years with Daryl Granner, David Robertson and Roger Chalkley. Dr. Dermody follows in that tradition, an accomplished scientist who is dedicated to the development of our next generation of physician-investigators,” said Dr. Steven G. Gabbe, dean of the School of Medicine.

Former MSTP directors have played a significant role in the success of the program, Dermody said.

“Drs. Daryl Graner, professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and director of the Diabetes Research and Training Center, and Robertson have done a superb job in making the Vanderbilt MSTP one of the nation’s best,” he said. “The program builds on strong medical and research experiences and equips our students with the skills to succeed as academic investigators.”

Robertson, who served the program for 10 years, has seen more than 100 students enter the training program.

“Serving as MSTP director has been a tremendous opportunity to foster the careers of bright young physician-scientists,” he said. “We are very lucky indeed to have persuaded someone with the enthusiasm and charisma of Terry Dermody to become director at this time and take the program to new heights.”

Dermody is looking forward to developing new programs within the MSTP to foster acquisition of teaching and leadership skills.

“These aspects of academic life are of crucial importance, but we don’t have many formal programs in which they are taught,” Dermody said. “I plan to work hard with the MSTP students and faculty to develop such programs.”

Dermody came to Vanderbilt in 1990 after completing a residency in internal medicine at Presbyterian Hospital in New York and fellowships in infectious diseases and virology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. A physician-scientist, Dermody’s clinical interests are in pediatric infectious diseases, while his research interests are in viral pathogenesis. He is an active teacher and trainer and currently holds a Vanderbilt University Chair of Teaching Excellence.