By Aaron Conley
Alyssa Hasty, Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of molecular physiology and biophysics and associate dean for faculty in the School of Medicine Basic Sciences, has been promoted to senior associate dean for faculty.
“Since 2017, Alyssa’s strong leadership has been invaluable for shaping faculty development, culture, recruitment, and retention,” said John Kuriyan, dean of Basic Sciences. “Alyssa has changed and formalized mentoring and review for all professors, is a co-PI on a notable $17 million grant to diversify faculty and brings unique knowledge and skills to her role. I am excited to see how she continues to build our community for the better.”
Hasty completed a Ph.D. in pathology in 1998 at Vanderbilt University, where she studied how low levels of macrophage-derived apoE, a protein involved in the mammalian metabolism, protect against atherosclerotic lesion formation under mentor Sergio Fazio. From 1998–2000, Hasty completed postdoctoral training at Tokyo University. Her research, in the lab of Hitoshi Shimano, uncovered the impact of obesity on lipoprotein metabolism and atherogenesis.
Hasty returned to Vanderbilt in 2000 to complete a second postdoctoral position with mentor MacRae F. Linton, the Dr. Stephen J. Schillig, Jr., and Mary Schillig Chair in Medicine, studying the recycling of apoE in macrophages and their influence on HDL and apolipoprotein AI. Hasty was hired as a research assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiovascular medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 2001. In 2003, Hasty was promoted to assistant professor of MPB and medicine. She has since been promoted to professor and has been awarded a Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair. She also has held a dual position as a research health scientist at the Veterans Administration at Tennessee Valley Health System since 2014.
Since rejoining Vanderbilt, Hasty has held leadership roles focusing on research, faculty, and students. For undergraduate education, this includes being faculty head of Murray House, a dormitory for first-year undergraduates, from 2016–2022. For graduate students, Hasty was the MPB director of graduate studies as well as an IMPACT mentor.
Her work has been recognized and supported by honors, awards, and grants from the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, Obesity Society, American Cancer Society, NIH, and VA. In 2017, Hasty was named associate dean for faculty in the Basic Sciences and has held this role until her recent promotion to senior associate dean for faculty.
In 2023, Hasty partnered with VUMC to launch FIRST, a $17 million, multiyear transformative program with support from the NIH to accelerate diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the biomedical research faculty community. The initiative, the Vanderbilt Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation Program, will recruit, mentor, promote, and retain exceptionally talented new faculty members.
Faculty development in Basic Sciences
With the formation of Basic Sciences in 2016, there was a need to create thoughtful infrastructure to support faculty. Hasty, as the first associate dean for faculty, took up this charge with the goal of creating policies to best empower all faculty and create a sense of belonging. Highlights of her work include:
- Changing the reporting structure for tenure-track faculty mentoring committees to make sure all early career faculty are receiving the same comprehensive mentoring.
- Implementing annual evaluations for non-tenure track faculty members to ensure that their work is recognized and valued. Since Hasty put this process in place there have been twice as many promotions for non-tenure track faculty on an annual basis.
- Creating more detailed criteria documents for promotion of faculty of all tracks.
- With the help of Kathy Gould, senior associate dean for biomedical research education and training in Basic Sciences, and Maureen Gannon, associate dean for faculty development in the School of Medicine, implementing CIMER training sessions eight times a year for faculty to become better mentors for students and postdocs.
- Personally initiating an annual, one-on-one meeting with all assistant professors and making herself available to discuss their careers at any time.
- Working with PODs and FIRM leaders to create a more robust faculty onboarding system.
“I want to continue and grow ongoing training for faculty so that they feel equipped to be outstanding mentors. I look forward to working collaboratively, through the FIRST grant program, with VUMC and [Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusive Mentoring] Vivian Gama to diversify our faculty population in the many ways we think about diversity. Another priority for me is making sure that there are no barriers to faculty members’ success.” Hasty is also planning on expanding the one-on-one relationships she has with early career faculty so as to be a better resource for them.