May 27, 2005

Heart Rhythm Society honors VUMC’s Roden

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Dan Roden, M.D.

Heart Rhythm Society honors VUMC’s Roden

Dan M. Roden, M.D., William Stokes Professor of Experimental Therapeutics, received the 2005 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Heart Rhythm Society at its annual meeting earlier this month in New Orleans.

The award honors an individual who has made major contributions to the advancement of scientific knowledge in the field of cardiac pacing and/or cardiac electrophysiology, according to the Heart Rhythm Society.

“I am honored to be recognized by the premier society for heart rhythm management,” said Roden, who is also director of the John A. Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics.

“The Heart Rhythm Society has always had the philosophy that understanding arrhythmia mechanisms is a key part of delivering better therapies to the patient. We've focused a lot of our attention on understanding those basic mechanisms, especially the role of genetics in rare congenital syndromes and in modulating variability in how patients respond to drugs.”

“Dan helped pioneer the concept that variability in response to antiarrhythmic drugs is due to genetically determined differences in ion channels and drug-metabolizing enzymes,” said Mark E. Anderson, M.D., Jack and Betty Bailey Professor of Cardiology, and one of the colleagues who nominated Roden for the award. “He has made very significant scientific contributions spanning and linking clinical and basic science aspects of arrhythmias.”

Roden leads Vanderbilt's participation in the Pharmacogenetics Research Network, a National Institutes of Health-funded initiative to understand how genetic variation contributes to individual differences in drug responses. The Vanderbilt program focuses on arrhythmias — especially discovering the genetic variants that affect electrical activity in the heart and understanding how those variants influence responses to drug therapy.

He is also principal investigator in a new collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration to build a collection of DNA samples from patients who have suffered drug-induced heart rhythm abnormalities.

It is the first example of the FDA facilitating efforts to understand the genetics underlying rare adverse drug effects, Roden said.

Roden was director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology from 1992-2004. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians.