March 24, 2006

Personalized health focus of new post

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Dan Roden, M.D.

Personalized health focus of new post

Dan Roden, M.D., has been appointed assistant vice chancellor for Personalized Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The newly created position will support one of the major emphases in the Medical Center's strategic plan to strengthen its research enterprise — personalized health and health care.

“I've spent my entire career devoted in one way or another to the idea of what makes individuals vary in their response to drugs,” said Roden, who directs the John A. Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics. “With the advent of new capabilities in technologies like genomics and informatics, we should be in a position to start to deliver some of this new information to clinicians and health care organizations to help in decision-making,” he said.

Roden, a former director of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, said a priority of his new position will be to work with the Medical Center administration to “move the whole enterprise in the most efficient and fastest way.”

One of the centerpieces of this effort will be the DNA Database Resource, an anonymous databank to be launched this year that will link genetic and clinical information in a way that can help answer questions about drug effects and disease.

Roden, who is principal investigator of the databank, said the project would never have happened without the commitment of Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs, and his administration.

Vanderbilt is uniquely positioned “to execute on the vision” of personalized medicine, Roden said, because of its internationally recognized strengths in pharmacology and medical informatics, and because of “a commitment by the leadership of the Medical Center to move forward on this concept.”

Internationally known for his studies of arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), Roden said his new role is highly complementary to his current activities.

“I have every intention of continuing and expanding my own scientific activities,” he said, “and I am energized by the prospect of bringing this science and patient care to a new level.”

— Roden is the William Stokes Professor of Experimental Therapeutics