January 30, 2009

Pair to focus on Pediatrics research, academics

Pair to focus on Pediatrics research, academics

Vanderbilt's Department of Pediatrics has created two new vice chair positions focusing on research and academics.

Zena Leah Harris, M.D., has been named vice chair of Academic Affairs, and Louis Muglia, M.D., Ph.D., has been named vice chair of Research Affairs.

Zena Leah Harris, M.D.

Zena Leah Harris, M.D.

• Muglia comes from Washington University and St. Louis Children's Hospital, where he was an alumni endowed professor of Pediatrics.

He received his medical degree and doctorate in molecular genetics and cell biology from the University of Chicago.

Louis Muglia, M.D., Ph.D.

Louis Muglia, M.D., Ph.D.

He completed an internship and residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Boston.

In his new role, Muglia is charged with the development of physician scientists.

“My goal is to develop the global infrastructure for scientific accomplishment in child health. I will identify key areas for growth to be able to facilitate the scientific mission and productivity of our investigators and help them compete successfully for external funding,” he said.

Muglia said he came to Vanderbilt for its “endless possibilities for discovery.”
“There is great opportunity to use platforms across the Medical Center, like the DNA Databank, bioinformatics and chemical biology, and expertise across the University, such as anthropology, law and social sciences,” he said.

“The ability to apply these fields to key areas of child health is exciting. Whatever question we're asking about child health, the resources are enormous.”

"We are very excited to get someone of Lou's caliber,” said Scott Baldwin, M.D., chief of the Division of Pediatric Cardiology. “He was heavily recruited by major centers all over the country and his leadership will be a significant catalyst to further develop our research programs.

“He is uniquely suited to help coordinate scientific activity in pediatrics as well as to facilitate integration of pediatric research with outstanding ongoing research efforts throughout the Vanderbilt community,” Baldwin said.

• Harris has a strong background in medical education with an emphasis on clinical care. She is charged with directing the medical education components within the department.

“The beauty of the job is I can assist and help build the pediatric program from the educational side. While I will be working on the academic mission of students, I will also be helping to oversee and build grant-based clinical programs for the department. I would like to help make Vanderbilt the premier residency in the country in 10 years, and in five, I hope we are much closer to that,” Harris said.

“We are delighted to have someone of her caliber join us at Vanderbilt,” said Kathryn Edwards, M.D., professor of Pediatrics.

“She is a leader in education, patient care and research and the department will be very much enhanced by her presence. We always want to make sure we are training young people so they will be ready for careers both in patient care and research. She will assist in both of these very important areas.”

Harris served as the director of the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine Molecular Biology Core Lab at Johns Hopkins University.

She also directed the Pediatric Critical Care Fellowship program there and was a member of the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Harris received her medical training at the University of Chicago, completing both her residency and her critical care fellowship at Wyler Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago.

“With these two bright people serving the department, we will be able to continue to leverage the enormous strengths of our faculty to maintain our enduring legacy of greatness at Vanderbilt and far beyond,” said Jonathan Gitlin, M.D., chair of Pediatrics.