December 12, 2008

Sawyer named chief of Cardiovascular Medicine

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Douglas Sawyer, M.D., Ph.D.

Sawyer named chief of Cardiovascular Medicine

Douglas Sawyer, M.D., Ph.D., has been named physician-in-chief of the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute (VHVI), and chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Department of Medicine as the Lisa R. Jacobson Associate Professor of Medicine.

“I want to thank the search committee for their important work leading to Dr. Sawyer's selection as well as the faculty of the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute for their commitment and focus during this process,” said Eric Neilson, M.D., chair of the Department of Medicine.

“With Dr. Sawyer at the helm, the division is in a superb position to move forward as one of the outstanding cardiology programs in the country.”

Sawyer has been serving as interim chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine since May.

As division chief, Sawyer will oversee enhancing interdisciplinary scientific relationships, expanding VHVI's research portfolio and cultivating a widening and important clinical influence on the Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute.

“I am thrilled that Doug has been named chief of the division,” said John Byrne, M.D., chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery.

“He has all the basic science, academic and scholarly qualifications, but also a deep appreciation for our clinical mission, which is to build the highest quality, highest volume cardiac center in the southeast.

“He is the ideal choice for the collaborative culture we have created,” Byrne said.

Sawyer received his B.S. degree from Cornell University, his Ph.D. from Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Science, and his M.D. from the Cornell University Medical College.

After internal medicine and cardiology training at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, he became an assistant professor of Medicine and Molecular Medicine in the Cardiology Section of the Boston University Medical Center working on important problems in myocyte biology.

In 2006 he came to Vanderbilt as the Bailey Associate Professor of Cardiology in the Department of Medicine.

“We are all at VHVI very excited that Doug was named division chief,” said Keith Churchwell, M.D., executive medical director of VHVI.

“Throughout the interim, he has shown a great capacity to understand the needs of a bustling clinical program as we continue to work to meet the goals of a great academic cardiology division.

“He is a great choice for all of us.”

As a specialist in myocyte biology, Sawyer’s work focuses on the cell biology and signaling of cardiac myocytes, the pathophysiology of heart failure, and the mechanisms of myocyte stress following exposure to chemotherapy drugs. He is the author of eighty-five publications and holds a patent regarding methods for treating heart failure involving polypeptides encoded by a neuregulin gene.