May 21, 2004

New emeritus faculty honored

Featured Image

Jin Chen, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine, Cancer Biology, and Cell and Developmental Biology, foreground, led a study identifying a new factor that controls the formation of new blood vessels. Her research team included, left to right, Donna Hicks, Chen lab manager; Dana Brantley-Sieders, Ph.D., research instructor in the Chen lab; and collaborator Ambra Pozzi, Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology. Photo by Dana Johnson

Eight Vanderbilt University School of Medicine faculty members who are retiring from Vanderbilt this year were honored during the Commencement ceremony when the University honors their years of service and bestows upon them the title of emeritus faculty.

Frank E. Carroll Jr., M.D.

professor of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, emeritus

Carroll came to Vanderbilt’s department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences in 1983.

He is known for his research in a wide variety of pulmonary disciplines, and his groundbreaking work with the free-electron laser project has yielded significant advances in the imaging of breast cancer and enabled multi-disciplinary research in other areas such as bond breaking at surfaces, neurosurgical applications, and the development of a unique type of pulsed, tunable, monochromatic X-ray machine that will open new doors in the fields of human diagnostic imaging and cancer therapy.

During his time at Vanderbilt, he served as director of the Laboratory for Radiologic Research, director of the division of Diagnostic Radiology and chief of the section of Thoracic Radiology. In addition, he has been responsible for the day-to-day teaching of radiology residents and medical students rotating through diagnostic radiology.

Benjamin J. Danzo, Ph.D.

professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, emeritus, and research professor of Biochemistry, emeritus

Danzo will retire this July from Vanderbilt’s department of Obstetrics and Gynecology after 33 years of service on the faculty of the School of Medicine.

His research has focused on male reproductive biology and made significant contributions to the body of knowledge in the areas of hormonal regulation of epididymal function, androgen-binding proteins (ABP) and the effects of xenobiotics on reproductive health. He was a discoverer of androgen-binding proteins, which are produced by the Sertoli cells of the testes and influence epididymal function and sperm maturation.

More recently, he has investigated the influence of environmental hormones on reproductive function and the mechanisms by which these effects are mediated through steroid receptor and/or steroid-binding protein pathways.

John M. Flexner, M.D.

professor of Medicine, emeritus

Flexner arrived in Nashville in June 1954 to begin an internship in internal medicine at Vanderbilt Hospital. At the time, the hospital was located in what is now Medical Center North, and physicians rotated through Nashville General Hospital and saw patients at the VA in consultation.

He joined the Vanderbilt School of Medicine faculty in 1959, and the University, he says, has become a part of his life and blood. Of his many accomplishments over the 45 years of service he has given to Vanderbilt and to the community, he is proudest of three. He was elected an American Cancer Society Professor of Oncology in 1981 for 10 years. At the time of his election, there were only 17 professors in the country so honored.

He was a co-founder of Alive Hospice, which serves Nashville and its surrounding counties and is a dynamic part of health care in the region. And he was one of the early physicians interested in pain management, becoming one of the first to use PCA pain pumps and encourage his surgical confreres to use them.

J. Donald M. Gass, M.D.

professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, emeritus

Gass is the premier medical retina specialist in the world. A native of Prince Edward Island, Canada, he received both his undergraduate (1950) and medical (1957) degrees from Vanderbilt.

He joined the faculty of the newly formed Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1963. He semi-retired in 1995, but returned to Vanderbilt as an active member of the faculty of the department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. Gass’ contributions to ophthalmology have been extensive.

His text, Stereoscopic Atlas of Macular Diseases: Diagnosis and Treatment, is considered the authoritative work in this area and is currently in its fourth edition.

Sanford B. Krantz, M.D.

professor of Medicine, emeritus

Krantz joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1970 as an associate professor of Medicine and chief of the hematology section at the Veterans Administration Hospital.

He was director of the hematology division at Vanderbilt for 24 years, during which time he built and rebuilt the division to give Vanderbilt international recognition in the area of hematology.

His work — the description of the pathogenesis of pure red cell aplasia as an autoimmune disease and its successful treatment with immunosuppressive drugs; the successful trials of erythropoietin in renal disease and the anemia of chronic disease-rheumatoid arthritis; and the description of the anemia of chronic disease as an immune disease due to reaction to foreign proteins with the liberation of inhibitory cytokines — is recognized the world over.

Bradley E. Smith, M.D.

professor of Anesthesiology, emeritus

Smith came to Vanderbilt in 1969 as chair of the department of Anesthesiology.

At the time he left the post in 1993, he was the longest-serving anesthesiology chair at a United States medical school. Smith’s research includes some of the initial work in the arena of obstetric anesthesiology and the teratogenic effects of anesthetic agents. During his tenure, he presided over the expansion of Vanderbilt’s Department of Anesthesiology from seven to 42 full-time faculty.

Smith’s national service includes appointments to committees of the National Research Council and the Food and Drug Administration and three terms on the National Anesthesiology Residency Review Committee. He served as chairman of the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Committee on Scientific Affairs.

Raphael F. Smith, M.D.

professor of Medicine, emeritus

Smith received his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt, and after serving in the U.S. Navy, where he rose to the rank of chief of the Medical Sciences Division at the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute, he joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 1969.

His initial responsibilities included directing Vanderbilt’s Coronary Care Unit and Heart Station. In 1975, he was named chief of the cardiology section at the Nashville Veterans Medical Center, a post he held for 23 years.

During his career at Vanderbilt, Smith led an investigative team that performed the first quantitative electrocardiography during extended space flight of the SKYLAB missions. He collaborated on multiple studies designed to define the safety and efficacy of anti-arrhythmic agents in humans. More recently, he has focused his attention on the prevention of congestive heart failure and has led a very active clinical research group at the Nashville VA, which has been pivotal in the completion of important multi-center trials, including the V-Heft studies.

Robert T. Wertz, Ph.D.

professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences, emeritus

Wertz has been a professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at Vanderbilt since 1992 and a senior rehabilitation research career scientist in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Tennessee Valley health care system since 2000.

His seminal work in the area of functional health status has had a significant impact on adults with communication disorders.

His research has focused on the appraisal, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of a variety of neurogenic communication disorders and included the direction of two Department of Veterans Affairs cooperative studies that evaluated the efficacy of treatment for aphasia, the impairment of the ability to use or comprehend words, usually as a result of a stroke or brain injury.