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Jeffrey R. Balser is the Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He is a 1990 graduate of the Vanderbilt MD/PhD program in pharmacology and subsequently completed residency training in anesthesiology and fellowship training in critical care medicine at Johns Hopkins.
Balser graduated from Tulane University in 1984, where he majored in engineering, prior to attending Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. 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. Balser moved 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 research program has been aimed at the pharmacogenomics of cardiac arrhythmias. His studies in Nature, PNAS, and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology have established new paradigms for cardiac excitation-contraction coupling, and are yielding new targets for arrhythmia control.
In 2001, Balser was appointed the James Tayloe Gwathmey Professor and Chair of Anesthesiology, and was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Under his leadership, Vanderbilt anesthesiology scientific programs diversified to include NIH-funded programs in health services research and perioperative genomics, and the department advanced into the top 10 in NIH funding.
In 2001, Balser was appointed chair of the department of anesthesiology. Under his leadership, Vanderbilt anesthesiology clinical, educational, and scientific programs diversified and expanded, becoming a premier department nationally. In 2004 he became Associate Vice Chancellor for Research for the Vanderbilt Medical Center, overseeing in enterprise-wide strategy, infrastructure, and investments in research during an expansion period where Vanderbilt moved into the top 10 in NIH funding. In October 2008, he was named Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Dean of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. He has chaired the NIH Director's Pioneer Awards, is a member of American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, and was recently elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In April 2009, Harry Jacobson announced his retirement as Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, and Balser was named as his successor.
Dean Balser's research program has been aimed at the pharmacogenomics of cardiac arrhythmias. His studies in Nature, PNAS, and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology have established new paradigms for cardiac excitation-contraction coupling, and are yielding new targets for arrhythmia control.
- Petersen, Christina I.; McFarland, Toni R.; Stepanovic, Svetlana Z.; Yang, Ping; Reiner, David J.; Hayashi, Kenshi; George, Alfred L.; Roden, Dan M. et al. (2004). "In vivo identification of genes that modify ether-a-go-go-related gene activity in Caenorhabditis elegans may also affect human cardiac arrhythmia". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101 (32): 11773–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.0306005101. PMC 511051. PMID 15280551.
- Tan, Hanno L.; Kupershmidt, Sabina; Zhang, Rong; Stepanovic, Svetlana; Roden, Dan M.; Wilde, Arthur A. M.; Anderson, Mark E.; Balser, Jeffrey R. (2002). "A calcium sensor in the sodium channel modulates cardiac excitability". Nature 415 (6870): 442–7. doi:10.1038/415442a. PMID 11807557.
- Schwinn, Debra A.; Balser, Jeffrey R. (2006). "Anesthesiology physician scientists in academic medicine: a wake-up call". Anesthesiology 104 (1): 170–8. doi:10.1097/00000542-200601000-00023. PMC 2322866. PMID 16394703.
- Wingo, Tammy L; Shah, Vikas N; Anderson, Mark E; Lybrand, Terry P; Chazin, Walter J; Balser, Jeffrey R (2004). "An EF-hand in the sodium channel couples intracellular calcium to cardiac excitability". Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 11 (3): 219–25. doi:10.1038/nsmb737. PMID 14981509.
- Balser, Jeffrey R.; Baruchin, Andrea (2008). "Science at the Interstices: An Evolution in the Academy". Academic Medicine 83 (9): 827–31. doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e318181d1ed. PMID 18728436.
- VUSM vaults into NIH funding top 10, Vanderbilt Reporter
- Balser named School of Medicine dean, Vanderbilt Reporter
- Jacobson to retire as Med Center chief; Balser named as successor, Vanderbilt Reporter