Emory University has named David S. Stephens, MD, as Vice President for Research in the Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC). In this newly established position, Dr. Stephens will oversee the WHSC research enterprise and lead planning activities that enhance research programs and collaborations throughout the WHSC and Emory University.
As a key member of the leadership team for the Health Sciences Center and Emory University, Dr. Stephens will report to Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD, Emory executive vice president for health affairs, CEO of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center and chairman of Emory Healthcare. Previously, Dr. Stephens was the executive associate dean for research in Emory University School of Medicine. He directs the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine.
As Vice President for Research, Dr. Stephens will focus on growth of multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research across the WHSC and at Emory; development of bold, innovative research initiatives; enhancement of strategic themes within the WHSC, with the other units of the University, and among local, regional, national and international partners; international research collaborations and opportunities; intellectual property and technology transfer; infrastructure and systems support; innovative research training and career development.
"This new research position is a critical part of our strategy to achieve the WHSC vision of transforming health and healing," says Dr. Sanfilippo. "Dr. Stephens has been a remarkably productive member of the WHSC research and administrative teams. His numerous and notable successes in garnering major research grants, his proven ability to collaborate within the University and with external research partners, his groundbreaking research discoveries, and his local, regional and national leadership make him the ideal person to hold this key new position."
Dr. Stephens joined the Department of Medicine faculty in Emory University School of Medicine in 1982 and was named director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in 1992. He has led the development of successful programs in infectious diseases and microbial pathogenesis and has been a major contributor to the creation and development of the Emory Vaccine Center and the Emory Center for AIDS Research. He is principal investigator for Atlanta's Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), a multi-institutional research and clinical trials partnership funded this year by a five-year, $31 million NIH grant.
Along with his faculty appointment in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Stephens is professor of microbiology and immunology in the School of Medicine and professor of epidemiology at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health. He is chair of the Research Advisory Council in the WHSC and a member of the Agenda Committee on the WHSC Leadership Team.
After receiving his MD degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Dr. Stephens conducted research at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He completed his clinical training in internal medicine and infectious diseases and a research fellowship in microbial pathogenesis at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
His laboratory is an international leader in efforts to define the molecular basis for virulence and vaccines to prevent bacterial meningitis. He has contributed more than 225 publications in infectious diseases, molecular pathogenesis, epidemiology and immunology.
Dr. Stephens is a Fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and has served on NIH, Veterans Affairs, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review panels. He was chair of the FDA National Vaccine Advisory Committee and a liaison member of the Health and Human Services National Vaccine Advisory Committee and a Senior Scientific Consultant to the Meningitis and Special Pathogens Branch at CDC.
In 1988 Dr. Stephens co-founded the Atlanta Active Surveillance Project (now the Georgia Emerging Infections Programs), a population-based surveillance and clinical research program. In 2001 he led CDC's clinical emergency response team in defining clinical issues in prophylaxis, diagnosis and treatment of B. anthracis infections.
Dr. Stephens has served as the site principal investigator for the NIH-sponsored Southeastern Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense, the CDC-supported Southeastern Center for Emerging Biologic Threats, and the NIH-funded Exploratory Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Vaccinology. He founded and directed the Emory University NIH K30 Clinical Research Curriculum Award and served as the interim chair and executive vice chair of the Department of Medicine in Emory School of Medicine.
The infectious diseases program he directs has graduated more than 100 fellows, and his laboratory has trained more than 50 infectious diseases fellows, postdoctoral fellows, medical students and undergraduates in bacterial pathogenesis. He has served as the thesis advisor for five PhD or MS degree candidates and has served on 17 PhD graduate committees in microbiology and molecular genetics.