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John Kuriyan – Dean of the School of Medicine Basic Sciences

Headshot of John Kuriyan. He is wearing eyeglasses, a blue blazer, and a red-and-blue patterned tie.
Professor John Kuriyan, Dean

John Kuriyan earned his Ph.D. in 1986 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working under the supervision of Gregory A. Petsko and Martin Karplus (Harvard University). After a brief period of postdoctoral training with Petsko and Karplus, Kuriyan was appointed to the faculty of The Rockefeller University in 1987. He was promoted to full professor at The Rockefeller University in 1993. In 2001 Kuriyan moved to The University of California, Berkeley, where he served as a Distinguished Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology and Chemistry and as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, having been appointed in 1990.

Kuriyan’s research concerns the workings of the enzymes and molecular switches that carry out cellular signal transduction and DNA replication. His laboratory determines the three-dimensional structures of proteins, as well as biochemical, biophysical, and cell biological analyses to elucidate how they work. Breakthroughs from his lab have included determining the mechanisms by which several tyrosine kinases, including Src family kinases, the Abl kinase, and the epidermal growth factor receptor, switch on and off. These tyrosine kinases are enzymes that are very important targets of drug development in cancer. Fundamental insights obtained in the Kuriyan lab have been instrumental in understanding how drugs, such as Gleevec (imatinib) and Scemblix (asciminib), both developed by Novartis, are effective in shutting down the leukemia-causing form of the Abl tyrosine kinase. The Kuriyan lab has also provided a fundamental understanding of the structure and regulation of several other signaling proteins, including STATs, the Ras activator SOS, and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase-II. The group has also made fundamental contributions to understanding the structural basis for high-speed DNA replication.

Kuriyan’s achievements in science have been recognized by several honors. He was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2001, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008, a Foreign Member of The Royal Society of London in 2015, and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine in 2018. He was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, by his alma mater, Juniata College, Huntington, PA, in 2014. He has also received several prizes, including the Stein and Moore Award and the DuPont-Merck Award of the Protein Society, in 2017 and 1997, respectively, the Merck Award of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2009, the Richard Lounsbery Award of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2005, the Cornelius Rhoads Memorial Award of the American Association for Cancer Research in 1999, the Eli Lilly Award of the American Chemical Society in 1998, and the Schering-Plough Award of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1994. Kuriyan was a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences from 1989 to1993.

Charles Sanders – Vice Dean of Basic Sciences

Professor Chuck Sanders

Charles “Chuck” Sanders has been on the faculty of the biochemistry department since 2002 and is an active member of the Center for Structural Biology.

Sanders’ research interests focus on the role of membrane proteins, especially those with flexible or unfolded structures, in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular and neurologic disorders. Sanders has won many awards for his research, including the Hans Neurath Award of the Protein Society and the Stanley Cohen Award of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Sanders has been a very active participant on research committees at Vanderbilt (e.g., as co-chair of the TIPs review panel) and has served on multiple NIH study sections. He was associate editor of the journal Biochemistry from 2004 to 2015 and was interim editor-in-chief from 2015 to 2016.

Kathleen Gould – Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Research Education and Training

Professor Kathy Gould

Kathleen Gould is the Louise B. McGavock Chair, and professor of Cell and Developmental Biology. Gould received her A.B. degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in biology from the University of California San Diego.

From 1988–90, she was a fellow of the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research at the University of Oxford with Sir Paul Nurse, who was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2001. After joining the Vanderbilt faculty, Gould received the Boehringer-Ingelheim New Investigator Award, the Searle Scholar Award, and was an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1994–2013. Elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011, Gould is also a member of several national professional societies and journal editorial boards, and serves regularly as reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and the Ford Foundation.

At Vanderbilt, Gould has served in multiple leadership roles, including interim and vice chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, director of the Vanderbilt International Scholar Program, and chair of the institutional biomedical/biological sciences internal review committee for limited submission opportunity applications.

Gould is currently the director of Graduate Student Support and associate dean for biomedical sciences in the School of Medicine and leads Ph.D. trainee career development grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Gould’s laboratory studies the mechanism and regulation of cell division, blending genetic, biochemical, genomic, structural, proteomic, and live-cell imaging approaches to identify and characterize the constituents of the cytokinetic machinery and to discover how post-translational modifications of this machinery ensure the exquisite spatial and temporal control of cell division.

Alyssa Hasty – Associate Dean for Faculty

Professor Alyssa Hasty

Alyssa Hasty has been a member of the faculty in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics since 2003, and has been an investigator of the Tennessee Valley Veteran’s Administration Research Institute since 2014. She is an active member of the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center and the Digestive Diseases Research Center.

Hasty’s research interests are in diabetes and obesity, most recently focusing on the role of macrophages in promoting inflammation and insulin resistance in obesity. Hasty has been very active in mentoring students as director of graduate studies in MPB, and mentoring faculty as director of career development of the DDRC and as chair of the Women on Track steering committee. She is also Faculty Head of House of Murray House. Hasty completed the Hedwingam van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program at Drexel University.

Claudia Paz – Chief Business Officer, Associate Dean for Finance and Administration

Claudia Paz

Claudia Paz serves as the primary business advisor to the dean of Basic Sciences.

Paz joined Vanderbilt University in 2019. She has an engineering degree from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and received a master of science in finance from Florida International University.



Felysha Jenkins – Assistant Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Felysha Jenkins

Felysha Jenkins joined Vanderbilt in 2021. Jenkins received an M.A. in experimental psychology from Wake Forest University and a Ph.D. in psychology from North Carolina State University. She is a trained facilitator with the National Coalition Building Institute, an international leadership organization that provides comprehensive, DEI-focused leadership training. Jenkins is also a graduate of the Equal Opportunity Institute at North Carolina State University, a certificate program that offers enhanced training focused on improving equity and diversity in workplaces and schools.

In her role, Jenkins represents Basic Sciences in interactions with university offices and committees related to DEI and facilitates communication across Basic Sciences. She works with faculty, staff, and students to provide opportunities for training and address their DEI concerns.

As a community psychologist, she is an advocate for social justice and for working with those who wish to create academic and social environments that work for all. Her primary goal is to continue using evidence-based approaches to guide our community as we strive for inclusive excellence.

Amy Major – Faculty Director for Immersion Vanderbilt for the School of Medicine

Amy Major

Amy Major joined Vanderbilt’s faculty in 2002. The broad research focus of the Major laboratory is to understand immunological mechanisms of cardiovascular disease, specifically atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is the number-one cause of mortality in developed countries, and it is known that both lipids and immunity play significant roles. Work performed in her laboratory has significantly impacted our understanding of how the immune system modulates atherosclerosis, as well as how dyslipidemia and the atherosclerotic environment influence normal immune function.


Biochemistry: David Cortez
Chair of the Department of Biochemistry
Richard Armstrong Ph.D. Chair for Innovation in Biochemistry
Ingram Professor of Cancer Research
Professor of biochemistry

Cell and Developmental Biology: Ian Macara
Chair of the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
​Louise B. McGavock Chair
Professor of cell and developmental biology
Co-Leader, Signal Transduction and Chemical Biology/VICC

Molecular Physiology and Biophysics: Nancy Carrasco
Chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
​Joe C. Davis Chair in Biomedical Science
Professor of molecular physiology and biophysics

Pharmacology: Ege Kavalali 
Chair of the Department of Pharmacology
William Stokes Chair in Experimental Therapeutics
Professor of pharmacology
Professor of biological sciences



Brain Institute: Lisa Monteggia
Barlow Family Director of the Vanderbilt Brain Institute
Professor of Pharmacology
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Professor of Psychology

Center for Addiction Research: Danny Winder
Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research
Bixler-Johnson-Mayes Chair in Basic Sciences
Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Professor of Pharmacology

Center for Stem Cell Biology: Mark Magnuson
Director of the Center for Stem Cell Biology
Louise B. McGavock Chair
Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Professor of Medicine

Center for Structural Biology: Borden Lacy
Director of the Center for Structural Biology
Edward and Nancy Fody Chair in Pathology 
Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
Professor of Biochemistry

Center for Extracellular Vesicle Research: Alissa Weaver 
Director of the Vanderbilt Program for Extracellular Vesicle Research
Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair 
Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology
Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology

Mass Spectrometry Research Center: Richard Caprioli
Director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center
Stanford Moore Chair in Biochemistry
Professor of Biochemistry
Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Medicine
Professor of Pharmacology

Program in the Molecular Basis of Genetic Diseases: Hassane Mchaourab
Director of the Program in the Molecular Basis of Genetic Diseases
Louise B. McGavock Chair
Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Professor of Chemistry

Quantitative Systems Biology Center: Vito Quaranta
Director of the Center for Cancer Systems Biology at Vanderbilt
Co-director of the Center for Matrix Biology
Professor of Biochemistry
Professor of Pharmacology

Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology: Gary Sulikowski
Director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology
Stevenson Chair of Chemistry
Professor of Chemistry
Professor of Pharmacology

Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery: Craig Lindsley
Director of the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery at Vanderbilt University
William K. Warren, Jr. Chair in Medicine 
University Professor of Pharmacology
University Professor of Biochemistry
University Professor of Chemistry

  Selene Colon
  Assistant Dean for Research Logistics and Compliance

Aaron Conley headshot  Aaron Conley
  Director of External Communications and Partnerships

Ted Gilbert headshot  Ted Gilbert

  Assistant Dean of Biomedical Research Education and Training

Mary Heath Headshot  Mary Heath
  Senior Assistant Dean of Administrative Pod 2

  Tiffany Lawrence Givens
  Director of Human Resources for Basic Sciences

  Anthony Tharp
  Assistant Dean of Facilities, Infrastructure and Risk Management

  Kimberly Turner
  Assistant Dean of Administrative Pod 3