Clinical trials are scientific studies in which new treatments – drugs, diagnostic procedures, therapies, or preventive measures – are tested in patients to determine if they are safe and effective. Running successful clinical trials requires highly ethical, organized and experienced personnel. One such professional recently joined the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) in a newly created position.
David Stern, MD, executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine, and Lawrence Pfeffer, PhD, interim vice chancellor for Research at UTHSC, have announced Ari VanderWalde, MD, MPH, MBioeth, as the new associate vice chancellor of Research – Clinical Trials. The position was created to support, augment and expand clinical trials at UTHSC, which has been engaged in federally funded clinical trials for more than 60 years. Dr. VanderWalde assumed his new responsibilities in January, reporting to the UTHSC vice chancellor for Research and the chief of Hematology/Oncology.
“Among his many duties, Dr. VanderWalde will be responsible for aligning processes in our various UTHSC colleges related to pharmaceutical studies, recruiting staff to support strategic research initiatives, plus organizing and utilizing the infrastructure to support UTHSC clinical research,” said Dr. Pfeffer, who is also Muirhead Professor, vice chair of the Department of Pathology, and director of the UTHSC Center for Cancer Research. “We anticipate he will raise awareness with external sponsors about the clinical trial capabilities at UTHSC, explore affiliation opportunities with our health care partners, and facilitate drug development and translation from UT scientists to pharmaceutical partners and biotech start-up companies.”
After obtaining an undergraduate degree at Harvard University, Dr. VanderWalde completed medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, where he also earned a Master’s in Bioethics, while simultaneously obtaining a Master’s of Public Health from Harvard School of Public Health. An internship and residency in internal medicine at UCLA followed. Next, he completed a fellowship in hematology/oncology from City of Hope Cancer Center/Harbor-UCLA in Los Angeles. Most recently, Dr. VanderWalde worked for the biopharmaceutical company Amgen, where he served as a Medical Director in Global Development as well as the U.S. Medical Lead for a pipeline product.
Dr. VanderWalde has extensive experience in clinical research, including the design and conduct of clinical trials, results reporting, regulatory filing, and interactions between investigators and the pharmaceutical industry. He has published extensively in the field of cancer, as well as in research ethics. Responsibilities at UTHSC include aligning processes regarding pharmaceutical studies from sponsors and various colleges in UTHSC. Dr. VanderWalde also joins the Department of
Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, and holds the positions of Director of Research with the West Clinic and Medical Director at ACORN Research LLC.