Jeffrey R. Balser, a 1984 graduate of Tulane and a 1990 graduate of the Vanderbilt MD/PhD program in pharmacology, undertook residency training in anesthesiology and fellowship training in critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins. He joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins in 1995, initiating a basic research program aimed at the molecular pharmacology of cardiac arrhythmias. His clinical work has primarily involved the care of postoperative cardiac surgery patients in ICU settings.
Dr. Balser returned to Vanderbilt in 1998, and served as Associate Dean for Physician Scientists. He established an intramural mentoring program for junior faculty physician scientists that has been a national model for centralized management of physician scientist career development, and is supported by the NIH. His basic research, published in Nature and funded by the National Institutes of Health, explores the genetic precursors to life-threatening cardiac rhythm disturbances.
In 2001, Dr. Balser was appointed the Gwathmey Professor and Chair of Anesthesiology. Under his leadership, Vanderbilt’s clinical services supporting surgery and intensive care medicine grew by 25%. In 2004, he became the Chief Research Officer for the Vanderbilt Medical Center, heading a period of significant expansion that moved Vanderbilt into 10th place among U.S. medical schools in National Institutes of Health funding. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and has chaired the NIH Director’s Pioneer Awards Committee. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the organization charged with advising the nation on health improvement and health-related research.
In October 2008, he became the 11th dean of the School of Medicine since its founding in 1875, and is Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, overseeing all health-related programs at Vanderbilt University.