Meet Your Professors

Jeff Balser

What is your hometown?

Evansville, Indiana


Where did you go to college?

Tulane University


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

In 1980 — I was offered a position in the MSTP, and I loved the atmosphere during my interviews. I went away for further training, then came back because I was convinced that Vanderbilt was the best place for my professional growth and that Nashville would be a great place for my family.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Without a doubt, it’s the people— Vanderbilt’s collegiality is palpable.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

My work is mostly on the administrative side, helping our faculty and staff achieve their goals in teaching, research, and patient care. I spend a lot of time making sure we have the resources we need, and helping our leadership craft the long-term strategies for where we want to be 5-10 years from now.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

The combination of friendly people, great weather, and the generally high quality of life.


Favorite lecture to give?

Personalized Medicine


Favorite weekend activity?

Time with my family


Favorite vacation spot?

Skiing in Colorado


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Find mentors — and it’s okay to have more than one. Then listen to them.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Jewelry for my wife, of course!

Bonnie Miller

What is your hometown?

Dover, DE


Where did you go to college?

Colorado College


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

In 1980, for surgery residency


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The people I work with


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Help with the ongoing development and improvement of our medical education programs


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Friendly people, safe environment


Favorite lecture to give?

Varies from year to year


Favorite weekend activity?

Hiking in Monteagle, TN


Favorite vacation spot?

Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, Canada


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Breathe.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

World peace.

John Zic

What is your hometown?

Oak Lawn, Illinois


Where did you go to college?

University of Notre Dame


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

In 1987 as a med student, then in 1995 as a junior faculty member. I came back because of my great mentoring as a medical student and the collegial atmosphere here at VUSM.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The intellectually engaging and enthusiastic students


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I oversee the admissions process and see patients with skin disease.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Spring


Favorite lecture to give?

“Using Words to Paint Pictures”


Favorite weekend activity?

Cycling on the Natchez Trace Parkway


Favorite vacation spot?

Banff National Park, Canada


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Create tables to consolidate the information.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

A new bike

Chris Aiken

What is your hometown?

Wilson, North Carolina


Where did you go to college?

University of California, Santa Barbara


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

November 1995. I was attracted by the scientific caliber of the faculty and the collegial environment.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The scientific excellence and the collegial environment.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

HIV molecular biology research and mentoring graduate students


Favorite thing about Nashville?

The trees and flowers, especially in the Spring


Favorite lecture to give?

A talk on my lab’s latest research


Favorite weekend activity?

Attending church with my family then going out to eat


Favorite vacation spot?

San Diego, California


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Spend regular time at a creative hobby.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

A new minivan for my wife

Ban Mishu Allos

What is your hometown?

Nashville, Tennessee


Where did you go to college?

Emory University


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I came here to do an Infectious Disease fellowship and then stayed on as a faculty member.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The students, of course!


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Clinic, ID consults, and bunch of administrative things


Favorite thing about Nashville?

It has four seasons.


Favorite lecture to give?

Outbreak of Hepatitis A


Favorite weekend activity?

My kids’ sports events


Favorite vacation spot?

Highlands, North Carolina


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

You can never get away from the hard reality that eventually you just have to sit and memorize some things.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

I’d have my yard beautifully landscaped.

David Bader

What is your hometown?

I grew up on a farm in Western Minnesota. My hometown is Slayton, Minnesota.


Where did you go to college?

I went to Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

In 1995 from Cornell University where I was a professor. I came here for three reasons: 1. It was a great school. 2. I have a great job – they gave me an endowed chair in cardiovascular research. 3. I wanted to be at a university, not a medical school separated from a university.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

It is just an outstanding school. The good students and colleagues make it much easier to succeed as a scientist and educator.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

My lab and I study the molecular regulation of heart development.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

It’s an easy place to live. After our kids left home, my wife and I moved into town. We have a great time “cruising” the city.


Favorite lecture to give?

Blood vessels — I know the topic and I really think I do have insight into the important and fun things about how they work.


Favorite weekend activity?

It has to be two things: 1. Vandy sports. 2. Going to our lake home where there’s golf, a boat, my woodworking shop, and cold beer.


Favorite vacation spot?

The Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota — just beautiful, especially in the spring


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Be steady. While it seems that there are endless details/factoids to put in your head, know that the important things will work out.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Nothing. There’s really no “thing” I want.

Charles Cobb

What is your hometown?

I was born in Ferndale, Michigan.


Where did you go to college?

Michigan Technological University


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I came to Vanderbilt in 1981 to go to graduate school.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The people and the collegial atmosphere


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I teach nursing and graduate students, help in the administration of the graduate program in my department, and do research.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Great diversity in available activities


Favorite lecture to give?

Vision


Favorite weekend activity?

Woodworking on rainy days (I build furniture as a hobby), fishing on nice days


Favorite vacation spot?

Tough one! A fishing trip anywhere, and the Colorado Rockies


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Slow down and take a deep breath once in a while!


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

The 3000 acre timber company land tract behind my farm in Hickman County

Art Dalley

What is your hometown?

Rupert, Idaho (pop. 5,000)


Where did you go to college?

Whitman College (Walla Walla, Washington) and University of Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah)


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

In 1998. I was recruited from Creighton University (Omaha) to replace Dr. Paula Hoos, who was entering the ministry./p>

What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Dynamic students, institutional support of education


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Author anatomy textbooks, anatomical atlases, and anatomical software, and edit the Stedman’s group of medical dictionaries; provide anatomy reviews for residents (e.g., orthopedics, anesthesiology) and third year ob-gyn rotation; direct Vanderbilt Anatomical Donations Program, and facilitate and assist cadaver-based clinical research and training; active member of anatomy associations.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Spring and fall, beauty of countryside, vitality of city


Favorite lecture to give?

Brachial Plexus, Autonomic Nervous System


Favorite weekend activity?

Broadway plays at TPAC, country drives (e.g., to Bell Buckle)


Favorite vacation spot?

Sun Valley, South Africa, Athens


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Study groups and partners: revealing deficiencies/misunderstandings in a “safe” environment provides opportunities to build long-term knowledge through peer teaching; every mistake is an opportunity for deeper learning.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

A second anatomy facility for clinical training and research, enabling fresh tissue study - comparable in quality to our new gross anatomy lab for medical students.

Mark Denison

What is your hometown?

I was born in Kansas City, Missouri. I was an Army brat and grew up around the world.


Where did you go to college?

University of Kansas (1977) — BA Chemistry, BA English; University of Kansas School of Medicine (1980)


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

Recruited by Drs. Dermody, Edwards, and Wright in 1991 from Thomas Jefferson University. I came to Vanderbilt because of a fabulous pediatric infectious disease program, great research, great colleagues, and a great institution.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Students (medical and graduate) — very accomplished, curious and nice


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I do research on coronaviruses (SARS, MHV — replication, cell biology and evolution), and see patients in pediatric infectious diseases.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

My wife


Favorite lecture to give?

All of them — I enjoy interactions in all ways with students


Favorite weekend activity?

Road bike, pennywhistle, photography, working on the house, reading (science fiction)


Favorite vacation spot?

My family is peripatetic (or is it itinerant?) — anyway, we love to see the next thing. We have been to almost every national park in the US.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Mentally relax (you are smart). Physically give it all you have in the first year so you will see how very much you are capable of.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Is this a trick question? You can’t buy anything with a blank check! (See, I am paying attention!)

Terry Dermody

What is your hometown?

I was born in Dallas, Texas, and grew up in Ithaca, New York.


Where did you go to college?

Cornell University


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

1990 — terrific job opportunity in pediatric infectious diseases


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Passionate students who enjoy working with and for others


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I lead a large research team studying viral diseases and work in the hospital 4-6 weeks each year. I also direct the Medical Scientist Training Program and the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Music and the Predators


Favorite lecture to give?

I enjoy giving all of them. (All the viruses are best!)


Favorite weekend activity?

Reading and food and wine


Favorite vacation spot?

Any island in the Caribbean


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Don’t fall behind and take at least one half-day each week to enrich your life (art, music, sports, literature).

Quentin Eichbaum

What is your hometown?

I was born in Windhoek in the wilds of Africa, in Namibia - a country larger than Texas but with a population, at the time, of less than a million (may explain a lot!)


Where did you go to college?

Initially studied law at the University of Cape Town (hoping to free Mandela!), then did science, medicine, and public health at Harvard Medical School.


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

About a year-and-half ago, to warm up after being in Boston for too many years!


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

“Quercus alba” - the “white oak” leaf emblem (plus acorn) of Vandy because my name ‘Eichbaum’ means ‘oak tree’ - so I feel honored by the emblem!


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Global health (mostly in Africa) and transfusion medicine (attending on service, projects, teaching).


Favorite thing about Nashville?

-Schermerhorn Symphony when it plays a Gustav Mahler symphony (I’m a Mahler fanatic)

-The Blue Bird cafe for the fabulous songwriters singing their own music

-Roberts (downtown) for the best of old country music


Favorite lecture to give?

Not sure I have a favorite....


Favorite weekend activity?

Watercolor painting, writing, reading.


Favorite vacation spot?

I’ve traveled to well over 100 countries and enjoy each for its uniqueness - but my soul still lurks in the dark bushes of Africa.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Learn how to use your brain most effectively as a life-long learner rather than cramming factoids for the Boards!


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

I would immediately donate it to poor people who need it more than I do; or to build a clinic in Africa.

Michael Fowler

What is your hometown?

Richlands, Virginia


Where did you go to college?

I attended first grade through chief residency at ETSU, where my father was a professor. I studied abroad at El Colegio Mayor de Madrid, Spain.


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I came to Vanderbilt in 2000 to participate in pancreatic islet transplantation research and for fellowship in Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism. Aside from being one of the world’s most advanced diabetes research centers, Vanderbilt saved my life when I was six years old by repairing a rare congenital heart defect.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

My favorite thing about Vanderbilt is that the faculty and students aren’t afraid to question and investigate in order to advance science and to make the world a better place. The diversity of colleagues, ideas, and students is superb.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I treat patients with diabetes mellitus and thyroid disorders here at Vanderbilt. I participate in several research projects. I also volunteer in the community to treat people without health insurance and those in the Hispanic community. Sometimes I struggle to learn to play the guitar (after all, we’re in Nashville).


Favorite thing about Nashville?

My favorite things about Nashville are that it’s the perfect size (not too big, not too small), the wide spectrum of musical experiences, and of course Vandy.


Favorite lecture to give?

Pituitary pathophysiology — we get to discuss acromegaly, gigantism and several other rare disorders.


Favorite weekend activity?

Gardening and construction—my wife and I bought a restored Victorian house in East Nashville and something’s always broken. I’m a connoisseur of home-grown tomatoes and my family has bred our own lineage of yellow tomatoes which I grow every year.


Favorite vacation spot?

My backyard.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Truly focus on a good understanding of the basic sciences. Such a foundation will always be beneficial.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

I’d buy health insurance for everyone.

Al George

What is your hometown?

I was born in Batavia, New York, but I consider Brentwood, Tennessee, my home now.


Where did you go to college?

College of Wooster, Ohio


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

1982 for my internal medicine residency, then back in 1992 to join the faculty. Been here ever since.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Collegiality among faculty; and the great medical students of course!


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

NIH-funded research about 85% of my time; Chief, Division of Genetic Medicine; Director of the Physician-Scientist Training Program in Internal Medicine


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Quality of life


Favorite lecture to give?

Clinical Correlation for muscle physiology


Favorite weekend activity?

Cycling


Favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere in Italy


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Learn as much as you can — not just for tests, but for your future patients.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Tuition for all med students at Vanderbilt

John Halle

What is your hometown?

San Diego, California


Where did you go to college?

University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon) — BS, MS

Baylor University, San Antonio, Texas — MPT

University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa — PhD


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I started working with the medical school in 2001 — I had the opportunity to join the anatomy team and learn from anatomists like Dr. Dalley, Dr. Nanney and Dr. Pettepher.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The students — they are intelligent, interested in learning, and demonstrate an “energy” that positively fuels the process of teaching and learning. The faculty that work as a team create an extremely collaborative environment and it is a privilege to be part of that team. Vanderbilt also helps with the DPT students at Belmont, which strengthens the physical therapy program at that institution.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

My real job is as the Chair and Associate Dean of the School of Physical Therapy at Belmont University. I also have a clinical practice at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital, treating military members and families at Fort Campbell, KY.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Reasonable golfing weather 10 months out of the year


Favorite lecture to give?

Anatomy of the foot —able to provide associations between the upper extremity and similarities in the lower extremity


Favorite weekend activity?

Golfing


Favorite vacation spot?

Pinehurst, North Carolina


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Find time to exercise and keep the process of professional school in its proper perspective.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

This suggests infinite funds, in which case I would want to find a way to share those funds in some meaningful way – thus, give a portion of it away. If I had to spend it on myself or my family, then a cabin on a lake.

David L. Hachey

What is your hometown?

Detroit, Michigan


Where did you go to college?

Oakland University, Rochester, MI (B.S.) —BS

Univ. California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA (Ph.D.)—PhD


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

1998. To work with some of the finest faculty and students in academia.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The collegiality of the faculty, the resources provided by the Vanderbilt administration and the innate curiosity of the students and fellows.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Director of Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry in the Mass Spectrometry Research Center.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

A good blend of small town friendliness and metropolitan sophistication.


Favorite lecture to give?

Two lectures: (1) lipoprotein transport and cardiovascular disease and (2) drugs affecting lipid metabolism.


Favorite weekend activity?

Watching “House Hunters International” on HGTV, but don’t tell anyone.


Favorite vacation spot?

Almost anywhere on Planet Earth. Too many places to explore and not enough time.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Take off your blinders and be prepared to follow your curiosity.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

First and foremost, a great education for my grandchildren. If there was anything left over, then I would endow scholarships for students at various academic levels.

Jay Jerome

What is your hometown?

Arlington, Virginia


Where did you go to college?

Undergraduate: Duke University, University of Hawaii, St. Andrews College (I have a tough time settling down to any one thing). Ph.D.: University of Virginia


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I joined the Vanderbilt faculty in 2001. Vandy recruited me to expand atherosclerosis research and to build an Electron Microscopy Core.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The camaraderie and collaborative nature of my awesome colleagues and students


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I do research on cellular lipid metabolism, teach in the graduate school curriculum, and direct the electron microscopy core resource which is part of the Cell Imaging Shared Resource.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Great music (all kinds) and food.


Favorite lecture to give?

Male and female reproductive system — the students pay particularly close attention


Favorite weekend activity?

Hiking or swimming


Favorite vacation spot?

Any beach, anytime — but perhaps Eastern Australia has a bit of an edge


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Don’t panic and don’t get behind.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

An island

Robert Miller

What is your hometown?

Tulsa, Oklahoma


Where did you go to college?

Colorado College


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

The collegiality


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The collegiality


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

My day job, then hiking, splitting wood


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Spring flora


Favorite lecture to give?

Anything related to universal healthcare or the uninsured


Favorite weekend activity?

Working outside


Favorite vacation spot?

Muskoka, Ontario


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Work hard, enjoy your classmates, come to Shade Tree.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

A diamond ring for Dean Miller

Lillian Nanney

What is your hometown?

Clarksville, Tennessee


Where did you go to college?

Vanderbilt University


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

In 1980 I accepted a faculty position in the Plastic Surgery Department. It gave me access to skin tissues (burn center, skin diseases, wounds) and the chance to do basic and translational research in these areas.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The collegiality and the great stimulating intellectual environment


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I direct a research lab that studies ways to make skin regenerate and heal better. I direct Vanderbilt’s Immunohistochemistry Core and serve as the Director of the Academy for Excellence in Teaching.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

The outdoors — lush green trees and flowers


Favorite lecture to give?

The Skin


Favorite weekend activity?

Time with family, shopping


Favorite vacation spot?

The beach at Destin, Florida, or the backwoods trails in the Smoky Mountains


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Recapture your innate child-like curiosity and strive to always be a 360 degree life-long learner.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Right now it would be a house at the lake

John Newman

What is your hometown?

Nashville, Tennessee


Where did you go to college?

Harvard College


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

After fellowship I got a great job offer here at Vanderbilt, and it was home.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Vanderbilt is the friendliest great medical school in the USA.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I am a pulmonary and critical care doctor. I teach, do research in pulmonary disease, and take care of patients.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Nashville has all 4 seasons, it is beautiful in the fall and spring, and it is an easy place to live.


Favorite lecture to give?

Doing Pulmonary Jeopardy


Favorite weekend activity?

I play golf but I also build furniture and work in the yard.


Favorite vacation spot?

We go to New Hampshire in the summer where we have a house in the country on a small lake.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Illigitimum non carborundum


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

An old pickup truck

Thomas Oeltmann

What is your hometown?

I was born in Covington, Kentucky, and was raised in Georgia, but I have been in Nashville for 30 years now.


Where did you go to college?

University of Georgia…Go Dawgs!


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

30 years ago — they offered me a great position


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Without a doubt, the terrific students and faculty!


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Up until a few years ago I had a research lab and worked on the glycobiology of T. cruzi. Now I am in the BRET office and run several minority programs for entering graduate students and summer undergraduate research.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Vanderbilt


Favorite lecture to give?

Pentose Pathway…students hate it!


Favorite weekend activity?

Golf and cooking


Favorite vacation spot?

Samoset, Maine, and St. Andrews, Scotland


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

If you study really, really hard, it is really easy to make a “P”.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Scotland

Neil Osheroff

What is your hometown?

I was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Langley Park and White Oak.


Where did you go to college?

I went to Hobart College in Geneva, NY for my undergraduate education, followed by graduate school at Northwestern and a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford.


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I came to Vanderbilt as an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry the summer of 1983. The school offered me everything that I wanted in a faculty position and I was impressed and amazed with how nice everyone was.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

I love the fact that Vanderbilt is so congenial and has such great students. The faculty, administration, and students get along better here than at any other medical school I have seen. Finally, when I came to Vanderbilt, it was a really good school. Three decades later, it is a great school. I believe that that speaks volumes about the foresight of the leadership and how well we all work together.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Outside of 202 Light Hall, I run a full time research laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry. My laboratory has always been student centered and we work on DNA topoisomerases and their functions as targets for anticancer and antibacterial drugs. I am also heavily involved in the development of the new medical curriculum.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

It is an easy place to live and the people are very nice.


Favorite lecture to give?

DNA Topology, Topoisomerases, and Cancer


Favorite weekend activity?

When my son was younger, most weekends were spent on the baseball diamond. Since he moved on to college, I mostly spend time with my wife, enjoying a few quite days and honing my culinary skills.


Favorite vacation spot?

London, Rome, Florence, or Paris (the ones in Europe, not the Southeast!)


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Work hard and play hard and trust us (we really are on your side!).


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

If I had a truly blank check, I would establish a research foundation. If I could not go that big, I would take an around the world trip.

Cathy Pettepher

What is your hometown?

Birmingham, Alabama


Where did you go to college?

University of South Alabama in Mobile


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

In 1990 for a post-doctoral fellowship in Diabetes


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Caring, compassion and collegiality that is present amongst all professionals on campus. Individuals are always willing to support you in any project that you are willing to undertake. Opportunities abound to become a leader.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

First-Year Director of the Student Assistance Program, education research, curriculum reform


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Friendliness of the people that live here


Favorite lecture to give?

Rotation of the Midgut and Heart lectures


Favorite weekend activity?

Camping and boating


Favorite vacation spot?

The beach


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Find and maintain a balance in your life. Make an effort to give the best of yourself each and every day. If you do, then no one can find fault with your actions and you (and everyone else) should be satisfied with what you have accomplished when the sun sets at the end of the day.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

An education for those that can’t afford one

Tyler Reimschisel

What is your hometown?

Bluffton, Indiana


Where did you go to college?

The University of Chicago


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I joined the faculty in July 2008. I was recruited by the Chairman of Pediatrics, to be the Director of the Division of Developmental Medicine and the Center for Child Development.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Being part of a wonderful community of medical educators and students


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I see children with neurodevelopmental disorders and metabolic diseases in my Neurogenetics and Metabolism Clinic. In addition to being the Director of the Division of Developmental Medicine, I am the Associate Director of the Pediatric Residency Program. I co-direct the Leadership in Education for Neurodevelopmental Disabilities grant, a program on leadership skills and interdisciplinary teamwork for students in a variety of healthcare professions.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

The most beautiful place I have ever lived.


Favorite lecture to give?

I prefer teaching in small groups, but my favorite lecture is the 3-hour session I do in Brain and Behavior on the pediatric neurologic examination, typical child development and developmental disabilities.


Favorite weekend activity?

Being with my family – going on lunch dates with one of my five children, playing wiffle ball or tennis, reading a story out loud after dinner, or watching a movie with lots of popcorn.


Favorite vacation spot?

A warm sandy beach, playing on the beach with my children, and a good book


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

It’s all worth it because it is not about us, it’s about our patients and their families.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

In an attempt to move closer to a single payer health care system in which everyone has equal access to medical care…all the health insurance companies in this country.

Derek Riebau

What is your hometown?

Madison, Wisconsin


Where did you go to college?

UW-Madison


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

For residency in neurology (good residency program)


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The students, of course.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Vascular neurology


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Nice people, nice place


Favorite lecture to give?

Stroke


Favorite weekend activity?

Free time with my daughter


Favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere away from the pager


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Read lectures ahead of class

Chuck Sanders

What is your hometown?

Columbus, Ohio


Where did you go to college?

Undergrad at Milligan College in Eastern Tennessee, Ph.D. back home at Ohio State University, postdoc at Yale


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I came here 7 years ago after 11 years on the faculty at another school. I came because Vanderbilt was and remains upwardly bound. There is great energy, savvy leadership, and a spirit of collegiality here that is hard to find at most other major research universities.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Teaching medical students, of course. :-)


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I run a lab of about 12 grad students, postdocs, and staff that focuses on unraveling the molecular mechanisms of diseases that are related to membrane protein misfolding and dysfunction.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

That it is folksy, friendly, and hip


Favorite lecture to give?

Protein Misfolding and Disease


Favorite weekend activity?

Catching a movie with my wife Becky.


Favorite vacation spot?

Victoria, Australia


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Everything is going to be all right.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

I wish it could be bought that everyone could be as blessed and lucky as I am.

Luc Van Kaer

What is your hometown?

Hamme, Belgium


Where did you go to college?

Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I came to Vanderbilt on November 4, 1993. As a new Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt provided me with the most attractive startup package among similarly ranked schools. I was also impressed with the collegial nature of the faculty.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Sushi in the Courtyard Café


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I read the literature in my field and related areas, write papers and grants, review papers and grants, do editorial stuff for a few journals, teach graduate students, attend seminars and research lab meetings, serve on various committees, and do some work-related travel.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

People are friendly.


Favorite lecture to give?

Transplantation


Favorite weekend activity?

Visiting one of the local parks


Favorite vacation spot?

Fall Creek Falls State Park (Pikeville, Tennessee)


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Work hard.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

I would renovate my family’s old farm in Belgium (the old farmhouse where I grew up was built in 1645).

Lynn Webb

What is your hometown?

Waggoner, Illinois (population 200)


Where did you go to college?

Illinois State University—BS, MS

University of Illinois—MBA

Southern Illinois University—PhD


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

In 1993 to become Director of the Vanderbilt Clinic


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The collegial environment among faculty, staff, and students


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Physician coach in communication skills with patients and colleagues


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Telling visitors that you can run into a famous country music star anytime (even though I have never actually seen one)


Favorite lecture to give?

Physician-Patient Communication Skills


Favorite weekend activity?

Time with my family and grandchildren, playing trombone


Favorite vacation spot?

Monterey, CA


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Don’t lose your compassion for patient centeredness


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

A new trombone (the one I play is 44 years old!)

Agnes Fogo

What is your hometown?

Oslo, Norway


Where did you go to college?

University of Oslo and UT Chattanooga


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I came to Vanderbilt for medical school and have stayed ever since. I chose Vanderbilt because I was so impressed by my fellow applicants and the professors I met during a special interview weekend for a scholarship.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Vanderbilt wants to make it possible for everyone to reach their potential.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I diagnose kidney diseases by examining kidney biopsies, and do research on mechanisms of progressive kidney scarring and its potential reversal.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Nashville is a friendly town working on being a city, with great environs and friendly helpful people.


Favorite lecture to give?

Clinical correlation sessions with Dr. Heidi Schaefer—We work through real patient cases and have the class participate to come to an understanding of the disease process and its consequences for the patient.


Favorite weekend activity?

Family time!


Favorite vacation spot?

The beach- Perdido key or Hawaii.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Remember to keep on doing some of the marvelous extracurricular activities that make you such exceptional young people! Have some fun along with all the studying.

James Atkinson

What is your hometown?

Decatur, AL


Where did you go to college?

Vanderbilt University


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

1969 for undergraduate; quality of education and diversity which far exceeded the schools in my state.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Collegiality of the faculty and caliber and enthusiasm of the medical students.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Clinical service (Surgical Pathology, Diagnostic Electron Microscopy); Resident education, research (primarily cardiovascular diseases); administrative (Chair and Vice Chair of IRBs at the VA and Vanderbilt); leadership role at national level in cardiovascular pathology, Pathology Resident education, and medical student education (including membership on the Step 1 Test Writing Committee).


Favorite thing about Nashville?

It has been interesting to watch Nashville grow from just a country music place when I first arrived, to an "up-and-coming" city with countless and diverse opportunities.


Favorite lecture to give?

Not a lecture; teaching congenital heart disease in the pathology laboratory using preserved specimens in a one-on-one setting where we can discuss anatomy, pathology, pathophysiology, clinical manifestation, diagnosis and treatment all at one time.


Favorite weekend activity?

Running.


Favorite vacation spot?

Perdido, Florida.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Don't lose sight of why you are here- to help people who are sick- and stop learning to be at the top of the class, but learn because it will allow you to help others.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Probably a new car to replace the 21 year-old one that I now drive.

James Sheller

What is your hometown?

Lafayette, LA


Where did you go to college?

University of the South


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

1970, many friends here.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Collaborative atmosphere and high-powered science.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Sleep medicine, critical care.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Music.


Favorite lecture to give?

Sleep.


Favorite weekend activity?

Horses.


Favorite vacation spot?

Scotland.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Take it one step at a time. There is so much to be learned that it is easy to feel overwhelmed.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Houses for my kids.

Joseph Awad

What is your hometown?

Ada, Ohio


Where did you go to college?

Vanderbilt University


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I returned in 1988 because I liked it the first time.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Collegiality.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Take care of patients with liver and GI disease.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

Music City!


Favorite lecture to give?

How to avoid killing patients.


Favorite weekend activity?

Playing Trombone in various jazz and classical groups.


Favorite vacation spot?

Anywhere with extended family.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Don’t get behind.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

A recording studio.

Alice Coogan

What is your hometown?

Washington, D.C.


Where did you go to college?

Stanford University


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I came to Vanderbilt in 1984 as a medical student. I left for 9 years for residency, fellowship, faculty position and returned to join the faculty at Vanderbilt in 1997.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

I really love getting to teach and work with the medical students and residents.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I am the medical director of the Cytopathology laboratory and the program director of the cytopathology fellowship. I have a very busy and exciting practice where I look at specimens from all body sites. I also co-chair the medical school admissions committee.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

I love the parks. It is also a fabulous place to raise kids.


Favorite lecture to give?

Small group “organ recital.”


Favorite weekend activity?

Playing tennis and hiking in the park with friends.


Favorite vacation spot?

The beach (Florida)


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Find a good work/life balance and get to know your classmates. They are amazing people and can be a great support system.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Pay the college tuition for my five kids.

Katherine Murray

What is your hometown?

Lexington, KY


Where did you go to college?

Duke


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

1980 for internal medicine residency.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

James Franklin and my colleagues.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Basic research, clinical research, patient care (member of the cardiac arrhythmia service).


Favorite thing about Nashville?

The wonderful nearby countryside that is in such close proximity to this fantastic city


Favorite lecture to give?

Syncope.


Favorite weekend activity?

Horseback riding and visiting our new foal Waldo.


Favorite vacation spot?

Martha's Vineyard.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Relax, enjoy school (we are indeed privileged!), and exercise regularly


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

A home for all the homeless people and animals

Joyce Johnson

What is your hometown?

Nashville, TN


Where did you go to college?

Rice University


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

1982, to start medical school. Somehow I've been here ever since. I didn't plan that, it just happened.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The diverse, dedicated, and highly motivated people who work here.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I do diagnostic surgical pathology, which involves a lot of time at the microscope and in communications with other docs.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

There is a lot of green space close in, so that you can have a variety of great meals out, hear any sort of live music, or see films at the Belcourt, yet still be able to get to a beautiful place in a very short time. Radnor Lake and Warner Parks are gifts to all of us.


Favorite lecture to give?

The first lecture of the DDT course. It is an overview of how we have come to understand disease, and reminds me to consider the larger framework in which we are currently practicing, and training people for the future.


Favorite weekend activity?

Cello lessons with my 11 yr old daughter every Saturday. I'm in Suzuki Book 3, with various admixed other pieces selected by my wonderful teacher. Progress is slow when you start learning at 50, having never read music.


Favorite vacation spot?

The beach, ideally the Outer Banks in North Carolina, or Cape Cod, but really any beach.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Bring all of yourself to the learning and practice of medicine, including all of the flaws, as well as the part that makes music or paints or whatever non-medical interests you enjoy. Patients come to us as human beings, and we ought to come to them as such, also.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Free, safe, equal, universal access to high-quality education for all.

Howard Fuchs

What is your hometown?

Eaton, CO


Where did you go to college?

Colorado School of Mines


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

In 1977 to go to medical school.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Collegial atmosphere, great students, pleasant city.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

I’m Director of the Rheumatology Training Program, Chief of Rheumatology at the VA hospital, and I see patients at Vanderbilt as well.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

It’s green (I grew up in a desert).


Favorite lecture to give?

Introduction to Rheumatology—our diseases are incredibly interesting


Favorite weekend activity?

Hiking with my wife in city parks (Radnor Lake and Percy Warner, in particular)


Favorite vacation spot?

Mountain West in the summer.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Select outside activities that will engage your curiosity, help you meet new people, and broaden your horizons.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Tuition to pay for my child’s school.

Charles Rush

What is your hometown?

Cleveland, OH


Where did you go to college?

Northwestern


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I came for residency training in 1984.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

Collegiality.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Practicing OB/GYN.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

I love the people, the restaurants, and the music.


Favorite lecture to give?

Swimming, biking, or running.


Favorite weekend activity?

I love to explore new places.


Favorite vacation spot?

Remember, this is information you will need, so don’t cram and dump.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Remember, this is information you will need, so don’t cram and dump.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

I would probably buy something for my two girls.

David Taber

What is your hometown?

Evansville, Indiana


Where did you go to college?

Vanderbilt.


When did you come to Vanderbilt, and why?

I had been in private practice in Nashville for about 18 years, and wanted to do something different and new. So I came to Vanderbilt and took a fellowship (I had not taken one right after my residency) and when it was over I stayed on the faculty.


What is your favorite thing about Vanderbilt?

The time I spend teaching and working with our residents, who are top-notch.


What do you do in your job outside of teaching medical students?

Mainly read musculoskeletal radiology cases and oversee and instruct our residents and fellows.


Favorite thing about Nashville?

I have always been fortunate enough to live pretty close to my workplace.


Favorite lecture to give?

Difficult to say. My personal favorite generally seems to be the one in the planning stage.


Favorite weekend activity?

That would be golf or grilling.


Favorite vacation spot?

Probably Mackinac Island, Michigan.


One piece of advice for first-year medical students:

Remember that it's a marathon, not a sprint. Conserve your energy and plan plenty of opportunities to rest and unwind.


If you were given a blank check, what would be the first thing you’d buy

Two tickets to Italy.

Other Important People To Know

Michael Pilla

Robinson College Mentor

Lindy Fenlason

Robinson College Mentor

Beth Ann Sastre

Chapman College Mentor

Walter Clair

Chapman College Mentor

Bill Cutrer

Batson College Mentor

Andrew Pfeffer

Batson College Mentor

Ban Mishu Allo

Gabbe College Mentor

Matthew Miller

Gabbe College Mentor

Judy Allen

Office for Diversity in Medical Education

Liz Berry

Student Financial Services

Lindsey Bowles

Office of Teaching & Learning in Medicine

Ella Butler

Office for Diversity in Medical Education

Vicky Cagle

Student Financial Services

Lynne Caples

Office of Teaching & Learning in Medicine

Roger Chalkley

Office for Biomedical Research Education & Training

Andre Churchwell

Office for Diversity in Medical Education

Heather Davidson

Office of Teaching & Learning in Medicine

Josie French

Office of Undergraduate Medical Education

Paula Gray

Office of Undergraduate Medical Education

Tina Hartert

Medical Scholars Program

Katherine Hartmann

Office for Clinical and Translational Scientist Development

Aidan Hoyal

Office of Teaching & Learning in Medicine

Martha Hutchinson

Office of Teaching & Learning in Medicine

Marcia Kelley

Office of Student Events

Susan Lewis

Office of Undergraduate Medical Education

Kimberly D. Lomis

Office of Undergraduate Medical Education

Christina Marasco

Office of Teaching & Learning in Medicine

John Shatzer

Center for Experiential Learning & Assessment

Sherry Stuart

Student Financial Services

Sten H. Vermund

Institute for Global Health

Sarah Woodall

Office of Student Events