February 11, 2000

Research infrastructure reorganized

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This is an artist’s rendering of what the newly named Frances Williams Preston Building will look like when a 54,000-square-foot expansion is completed later this year.

Research infrastructure reorganized

More than 40 faculty leaders gathered recently for the first "Research Enterprise Meeting," a new series of meetings that offer a forum for addressing research-related topics including infrastructure, core facilities, training, and space.

"We hope that the meetings will provide time for thoughtful reflection about what we need for the research enterprise," said Lee E. Limbird, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research. "These kinds of discussions are essential to meet our goal of increased quality and impact of our research and its funding by extramural sources."

To improve research support infrastructure, the Office of Biomedical Sciences has been completely reorganized and renamed the Office of Research. Dr. Alastair J.J. Wood, professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, has been appointed assistant vice chancellor for Research to oversee the clinical research enterprise. Dr. Mark A. Magnuson, professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics and Medicine, has been appointed assistant vice chancellor for Research and will focus on core facility infrastructure, intramural Discovery Grants, and strategic planning for interdisciplinary basic science initiatives.

"We are working to identify Vanderbilt's needs for an outstanding clinical research program and to take the steps to make it happen," Wood said during the meeting. As a first step, several working groups have tackled issues related to clinical research environment, training and career development, contracting, biostatistics, and the Institutional Review Board.

"After hearing the working group reports at our Clinical Research Enterprise retreat, we will reach consensus on what our directions should be, prioritize, and develop a strategic plan," Wood said.

Magnuson participated in creating the new organization of the Office of Research during his tenure as director of the former Office of Biomedical Sciences.

"For the past year and a half, my efforts have been focused on improving the institutional infrastructure necessary for performing top-tier science," Magnuson said.

Magnuson continues to emphasize the development and enhancement of shared research resources (core facilities). He is recruiting a director of Research Resources, who will provide general fiscal oversight of all core facilities. In addition, he is working to develop a strategic plan for Animal Care, to improve the visibility and function of the Office of Research, and to establish faculty "metrics"–a way to assess productivity, extramural support, and progress toward our institutional goals.

A new effort in the Office of Research will support investigators who wish to develop interdisciplinary research programs. Barbara Meyrick, Ph.D., director of Program Development, will identify opportunities for Vanderbilt investigators and assist in the preparation of multi-disciplinary grants. Meyrick also manages the Intramural Discovery Grants Program, which accepts applications in April and October.

For more information about Office of Research services, visit the website: http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/vumc/biosci/.