Spotlight: Vanderbilt University - IDCRC Site Visit

Spotlight: Vanderbilt University - IDCRC Site Visit
Front Row (left to right): Kathy Neuzil, MD, IDCRC co-PI, David Stephens, MD, IDCRC co-PI; Robert Atmar, MD, IDCRC COU co-director | Second Row (left to right): Buddy Creech, MD, MPH, director, Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program, Edie Carell Johnson, chair and professor, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases; Shannon Walker, MD, assistant professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology; Amy Riddle, clinical trials specialist; Natalia Jimenez, PhD, MSCI, research assistant professor, pediatric infectious diseases, VTEU program coordinator; Nicole Soper, MT, laboratory manager, Thomsen Laboratory; Deborah Myers, manager, Regulatory Division; Susan Johnson, MSN, research nurse and nurse practitioner; Emily Cleveland, RN, research nurse; Stephanie Rolsma, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, pediatric infectious diseases; Shelly McGehee, MBA, administrative officer. | Back Row (left to right): Fiona Oaks, clinical trials specialist; Eric Brady, sr. clinical trials specialist; Sandy Yoder, senior research specialist; Robert Adkisson, RN, research nurse specialist; Cindy Trimmer, clinical research data specialist; Emily Mitchell, program manager.

The IDCRC Leadership Group (LG) continues their Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) site visits. On February 29, 2024, the IDCRC PIs, David Stephens, MD, Kathy Neuzil, MD, and the Clinical Operations Unit (COU) co-director, Robert Atmar, MD, were hosted by Buddy Creech, MD, MPH, director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program, which was formed in 2001 to conduct clinical and translational vaccine research.

“We were thrilled to host David, Kathy, and Robert in Nashville. The VTEU has been a cornerstone of research in the department since the 1970s and we enjoyed being able to showcase our past, our current projects, and what we hope we can accomplish in the future,” says Dr. Creech.

The Vanderbilt site and its subsites have played a major role in the development and upcoming implementation of the DMID 23-0005 and DMID 24-0003 [maternal RSVpreF (ABRYSVO) vs. infant nirsevimab (BEYFORTUS)] protocols and participated in important COVID trials that provided valuable data from maternal and pediatric populations.

During this visit, the IDCRC team had the opportunity to hear excellent scientific presentations including, Shannon Walker, MD, on AI at VUMC: Harnessing Technology to Deliver Safe and Effective Care; Maribeth Nicholson, MD, MPH, Clostridioides difficile Research at VUMC; and Stephanie Rolsma, MD, PhD, on Pharmacokinetics of Beta-Lactam Antibiotics. Dr. Rolsma is a member of the current cohort of the Mentoring and Career Development KFC. While in Nashville, Dr. Neuzil presented during ID grand rounds at Vanderbilt on Salmonella typhi vaccine development and implementation.

The state of the unit and its current portfolio were discussed with Dr. Creech. Topics included the IDCRC’s plans for future studies, the use of alternative single IRBs, changes in leadership at the Vanderbilt subsite at Washington University in St. Louis, and the value of the Lima, Peru subsite. After a tour of the processing and other laboratory facilities and the Clinical Research Center space for inpatient studies, IDCRC leadership discussed the exceptional monoclonal antibody program of James Crowe Jr., MD, director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, and the potential for additional collaborations with the IDCRC.

A variety of constructive feedback was provided during the visit about IDCRC operations. The Vanderbilt VTEU has a strong legacy as a VTEU and will continue to build the next generation of vaccinologists. “Our communication is often limited to brief emails, texts, and multi-site conference calls. It was refreshing to sit in the same room, brainstorming together about science, operations, and what the future holds for the IDCRC,” noted Dr. Creech.