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Joel G. Hardman Student-Invited Pharmacology Forum

As the pace at which we acquire new knowledge in scientific disciplines is ever accelerating, students quickly understand that material covered in coursework in their first two years of training cannot include an introduction to all areas of biomedical research. Thus, our training program gives students the opportunity to pursue areas in which they would like further instruction.  For the Joel G. Hardman Student-Invited Pharmacology Forum students identify emerging areas of research that they think are important for understanding as trainees in pharmacological sciences and invite three nationally or internationally recognized scientists to participate in the annual symposium. The graduate students in the Department of Pharmacology named their annual forum the Joel G. Hardman Student-Invited Pharmacology Forum in recognition of Dr. Hardman’s sustained interest in the training of young scientists.

2021 Student Forum


At the advent of a new decade, in the midst of a global pandemic, the limitations and challenges of modern medicine have never been more important — or more discussed in the public sector. While traditional small molecules boast success in the treatment of some diseases, the treatment of other illnesses requires more creativity, outside-the-box thinking, and novel technologies. There are pioneers among us working diligently to move modern medicine into the 21st century with therapeutic alternatives to small molecules and monoclonal antibodies. Join the Department of Pharmacology for our annual Joel G. Hardman student forum held virtually on April 8 and hear from three leaders in the biomedical research community dedicated to innovation. Dr. Eva Feldman is a trailblazer in using stem cell transplants to treat neurodegenerative diseases, including the first-ever FDA approved clinical trials of instraspinal stem cell transplants. Dr. Jason McLellan is one of the brains behind Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, that revolutionized the global pandemic and is helping life get back to normal.

Speaking opportunities for student/post-doctoral fellows are available! Following the talks from our 3 keynote speakers, small breakout sessions will allow attendees to dive deep into the ethics, standardization, manufacturing, and production of these novel technologies. The day will close with a social and networking hour with our speakers and department alumni.

Sponsored by Delores Shockley Lectureship and Award in Pharmacology


For questions, contact:

Zoom Links


Student & Keynote Speakers (9:00am- 2:30pm): 


Optional: Toucan Practice Session (11:15am- 12:00pm): 


“Cell Therapy” Breakout Session (2:30pm- 3:30pm): 


“Antibodies and Vaccines” Breakout Session (2:30pm-3:30pm):


Networking Session & Social Hour (3:30pm- 4:30pm):


Download program here!



9:00 – 9:10 AM – Welcome
9:10 – 9:35 AM – Mike Doyle
9:10 – 9:35AM – Benjamin Reisman
10:00 – 10:10 AM – Break
10:10 -11 :15 AM – Dr. Eva Feldman
11:15-12:00 PM – Lunch (offline)
12:00 – 1:05 PM – Celeste Greer
1:05 – 1:15 – Break
1:15 – 2:30 PM – Dr. Jason McLellan
2:30 – 3:30 PM – Breakout panels with focused topics
3:30 – 4:30 PM – Social hour and networking session


Eva Feldman, Dr. Eva L. Feldman received her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan (U-M), completed a neurology residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and returned to U-M for a Neuromuscular fellowship. In addition to her clinical practice and position as the Russell N. DeJong Professor of Neurology at the U-M Medical School, Dr. Feldman is Director of the ALS Center of Excellence. She also runs her own 25-scientist laboratory, the NeuroNetwork for Emerging Therapies, and is the principal investigator of two first-ever FDA approved humanclinical trials of intraspinal stem cell implantation therapy for ALS. Dr. Feldman has published more than 480 original peer-reviewed articles, 70 book chapters, and 4 books and has been continuously funded by NIH for 30 years; currently she is the Principle Investigator (PI) or co-PI of 8 NIH grants and multiple foundation grants. She is Past President of the Peripheral Nerve Society and was President of the American Neurological Association from 2011-2013, the third woman to hold this position in 130 years. Nine students have received their doctoral degree with her while she has trained 50 postdoctoral fellows in her laboratory to become neuroscientists, and 56 neurologists have trained under her to specialize in ALS. Among her numerous awards, she has received both the Early and Distinguished Career Development Awards from U-M and a mentoring award from the Society of Neuroscience. She was elected into the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars, the Association of American Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Jason McLellan earned his B.S. from Wayne State University in Chemistry, followed by his PhD in Dr. Daniel Leahy’s lab at Johns Hopkins University. He completed post-doctoral studies in the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center with Dr. Peter Kwong and has been at UT Austin since January 2018. His research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of host/pathogen interactions, in particular pneumoviruses and coronaviruses. Recently Dr. McLellan worked with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases’ Vaccine Research Center to design a stabilized version of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which biotechnology company Moderna used as the basis for the first COVID-19 vaccine candidate. He was awarded a Golden Goose Award in 2020, which recognizes federally funded scientists who’s research has significantly impacted humanity, from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition of his COVID-19 research.

Previous Topics and Speakers

2019 – The Adventures of Pharmacology: Drug Repurposing and Therapeutic Advantages 
David Aronoff, M.D.
Bruce Bloom, D.D.S., J.D., Moderator
Hal Dietz, M.D.
David Edwards, M.D., Ph.D.,
Jennifer Herington, Ph.D.
Bjorn Knollmann, M.D., Ph.D.
Robert Lavieri, Ph.D.
Scott Weir, Pharm.D., Ph.D.

2018 – America’s Opioid Epidemic
Stephen Loyd, M.D.
Laura Bohn, Ph.D.
Rob Gereau, Ph.D.
Jose Moron-Concepcion, Ph.D.

2017 – Vanderbilt Pharmacology Through the Decades:  Over 80 Years of Impact
Laurent Audoly, Ph.D. (1997)
Theodore Liston, Ph.D. (1985)
Colleen Piersen, Ph.D. (1995)
Raymond Price, Ph.D. (2001), MBA
Amy Wilson-Delfosse, Ph.D. (1991)

2016 – Phorbidden Phruits: The Psychopharmacology of Taboo Drugs
Roland Griffiths, Ph.D.
David Nichols, Ph.D.
Elaine Sanders-Bush, Ph.D.
Franz Vollenweider, M.D.

2015 – Pharmacology in Space
Adrian LeBlanc, Ph.D.
Francis A. (Drew) Gaffney, M.D.
Virginia (Ginger) Wotring, Ph.D.

2014 – Safety Pharmacology
Russell Bialecki, Ph.D.
Bryan F. Cox, Ph.D.
Martin Sanders, Ph.D.

2013 – Neurobiology of Criminals
Nelly Alia-Klein, Ph.D.
David Goldman, M.D.
Michael Koenigs, Ph.D.

2012 – Genetically Modified Foods
Douglas Gurian-Sherman, Ph.D.
Michelle Chang, Ph.D.
Alison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D.

2011 – Directed Cell Differentiation and Tissue Engineering
Kevin A. D’Amour, Ph.D.
Kevin Kit Parker, Ph.D.
Laura E. Niklason, M.D., Ph.D.

2010 – Personalized Medicine
Kyle B. Brothers, M.D.
Marc L. Reitman, MD, PhD
Raymond Woosley, MD, PhD

2009 – Novel Drug Delivery Systems
William Mallet, PhD
Kullervo Hynynen, PhD
Michael J. Cima, PhD

2008 – The Biological Basis of Sleep in Health and Disease
Luis de Lecea, PhD
Beth Malow, MD
Gina R. Poe, PhD

2007 – The Hunt for Nature’s Therapeutics: The Discovery and Use of Natural Products
Jinhui Dou, PhD
William Setzer, PhD
Shirley Pomponi, PhD
Norman Farnsworth, PhD

2006 – A Drug Story: HIV-1 protease inhibitors, from bench to bedside
Ms. Marty St. Clair
Dale J. Kempf, PhD
Martin S. Hirsch, MD
Celia Schiffer, PhD

2005 – Systems Biology
Alan Aderem, PhD
Roger Brent, PhD
Melvin I. Simon, PhD

2004 – Molecular Mechanisms of Aging
Richard J. Hodes, MD
Arlan G. Richardson, Ph.D.
Gordon J. Lithgow, Ph.D.

2003 – Advances in Nanotechnology: Solving Huge Challenges with Tiny Technology
Marcel Bruchez, Ph.D.
Naomi Halas, Ph.D.
James K. Gimzewski, Ph.D.

2002 – Stemming the Possibilities: The Hows, Whys and Oughts of Stem Cell Research
Perry F. Bartlett, BDSc/Ph.D.
Ronald M. Green, Ph.D.
Mark Pittenger, Ph.D.

2001 – Novel Approaches to Drug Delivery
Joseph Kost, D.Sc.
Clifford J. Steer, MD
Evan C. Unger, MD

2000 – From Stem Cells to Tissue Engineering
Ronald D. G. McKay, Ph.D.
Christine E. Schmidt, Ph.D.
Ercem Atiliasoy, MD/FAAD

1999 – Botanical Approaches to Novel Therapeutics
Paul A. Cox, Ph.D.
Carole L. Cramer, Ph.D.
Julian K-C Ma, Ph.D.

1998 – The Biological Basis of Emotion and Mood
James McGaugh, Ph.D.
Rene Hen, Ph.D.
Bruce McEwen, Ph.D.

1997 – The Molecular Basis of Drug Addiction
Jeanne M. Wehner, Ph.D.
Eric J. Nestler, MD/Ph.D.
John A. Dani, Ph.D.

1996 – Frontiers in Drug Design
Jack D. Keene, Ph.D.
Jonathan A. Ellman, Ph.D.
Ira H. Pastan, MD

1995 – Programmed Cell Death in Development and Disease
Stanley J. Korsmeyer, MD
Eileen White, Ph.D.
H. Robert Horvitz, Ph.D.

1994 – Sensory Systems: Insights into Cell-Specific Gene Expression and Signal Transduction
A. J. Hudspeth, MD/Ph.D.
Randall R. Reed, Ph.D.
Charles S. Zuker, Ph.D.

1993 – Molecular Basis for Memory:  Lessons from the Nervous and Immune Systems
Eric R. Kandel, MD
Ronald L. Davis, Ph.D.
Norman R. Klinman, MD/Ph.D.

1992 – Gene Therapy and Gene Therapeutics
Fred Gage, Ph.D.
Inder Verma, Ph.D.
Ronald G. Crystal, MD

Pharmacology Teaching Award

Students also use the occasion of the forum to present the Pharmacology Teaching Award to a faculty mentor of their choosing who, in their estimation, has contributed significantly to their education. The plaque, given each year to a selected faculty member, reads “With special recognition for excellence in lecturing and willing assistance in the design and execution of experiments”.  The students nominate facul­ty, select the annual recipient­, and the results of their vote are revealed in an insti­tu­tion-wide presentation as a pre­lude to the forum.  The past recip­ients for this award have been:

2017 – Dr. Ronald Emeson
2016 – Dr. Sean Davies
2015 – Dr. Joshua Fessel
2014 – Dr. J. Scott Daniels
2013 – Dr. Claus Schneider
2012 – Dr. Sean Davies
2011 – Dr. Vsevolod Gurevich
2010 – Dr. Alfred L. George, Jr.
2009 – Dr. Kevin P.M. Currie
2008 – Dr. Joey Barnett
2007 – Dr. Alan Brash
2006 – Dr. Joey Barnett
2005 – Dr. Vsevolod Gurevich
2004 – Dr. Vsevolod Gurevich
2003 – Dr. Ronald Emeson
2002 – Dr. Alfred L. George, Jr.
2001 – Dr. Brian Wadzinski
2000 – Dr. Joey Barnett
1999 – Dr. Elaine Sanders-Bush
1998 – Dr. Lee E. Limbird
1997 – Dr. Louis J. DeFelice
1996 – Dr. Joey Barnett
1995 – Dr. Ronald Emeson

About Joel G. Hardman, Ph.D.

Joel G. Hardman served as Chair of the Department of Pharmacology from 1975-1990, establishing the department as a premier place for research and training in pharmacology. A major reason for the success of the Training Program in Pharmacological Sciences was Dr. Hardman’s personal involvement in the mentoring of each graduate student.  He expected each student to perform at their best and created an intellectual environment that fostered the scientific growth and critical thought of students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty colleagues.

Joel G. Hardman received his Ph.D. degree in Pharmacology from Emory University in 1964. He came to Vanderbilt to be a postdoctoral fellow with Earl Sutherland. After his early work on cyclic AMP as a second messenger, carried out in Sutherland’s laboratory, Dr. Hardman went on to discover guanylate cyclase, the enzyme responsible for synthesizing cyclic GMP from GTP. This discovery led to the appreciation that cGMP, like cAMP, can serve as an intracellular second messenger. He rose through the ranks to become Professor of Physiology in 1972. His creative and incisive mind, which contributed to his discoveries, also served him well in his role as teacher and mentor. In 1975, he was appointed as Chair of Pharmacology, and in 1991 was named Associate Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs.

Dr. Hardman is internationally recognized as an outstanding scientist, educator and administrator. In 1992, Dr. Hardman became Co-Editor-In-Chief of the major text in Pharmacology, Goodman and Gilman’s The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, which is published in many languages worldwide. He served as President of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics in 1993/1994.