Emory University School of Medicine has appointed David S. Stephens, MD, as Executive Associate Dean for Research, effective Dec. 1, 2005. Dr. Stephens currently is the Stephen W. Schwarzmann Distinguished Professor of Medicine, executive vice chair of medicine, and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in Emory School of Medicine. He was appointed following a national search to fill the position vacated by Robert Rich, MD, who became dean of the University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Medicine.
Dr. Stephens' immediate focus will be on the School of Medicine strategic plan for research, the expanding research enterprise at Emory, and the increasing opportunities and challenges for collaborative and interdisciplinary research within Emory, Atlanta and in the region.
"I am delighted to announce Dr. Stephens' appointment," said Thomas J. Lawley, MD, dean, Emory University School of Medicine. "His scientific accomplishments, including his own research discoveries and his international leadership in the field of infectious diseases, are numerous and distinguished. In addition, he has many years of experience in patient care, administration, service to Emory and affiliated health systems, collaborations with local and regional institutions, and mentoring and training numerous junior faculty members in research. Dr. Stephens has a sound knowledge of the requirements for success in an academic healthcare setting and a clear understanding of the clinical, educational and research arenas in which our faculty and students contribute."
Along with his faculty appointments in the Department of Medicine, Dr. Stephens is professor of microbiology and immunology in the School of Medicine and professor of epidemiology in the Rollins School of Public Health. He received his MD from Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University. After research experiences at Walter Reed Hospital and the National Institutes of Health, he completed his clinical training in internal medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, where he was a research fellow in bacterial pathogenesis.
He came to Emory in 1982 and was named Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine in 1992. His research program has been continuously funded by competitive federal grants since 1981 and has focused on the basis for pathogenesis of the major agents of bacterial meningitis as well as on bacterial vaccines and vaccine strategies.
Dr. Stephens' laboratory is an international leader in efforts to define the molecular basis for virulence of Neisseria meningitidis (the meningococcus), the cause of epidemic bacterial meningitis. He has helped lead efforts to define the molecular basis and role in molecular pathogenesis of the meningococcal capsular polysaccharides, the genetic and structural basis of meningococcal endotoxin, and the human cellular activation by endotoxin through the innate immune system.
In 1988, Dr. Stephens helped found the Atlanta Active Surveillance Project (now the Georgia Emerging Infections Program), a population-based laboratory surveillance and clinical research program focused on bacterial pathogens, especially the agents of meningitis. In 2001, he led the CDC's clinical emergency response team in defining clinical issues in prophylaxis, diagnosis and treatment of B. anthracis infections.
He now serves as principal investigator for the CDC-supported Southeastern Center for Emerging Biological Threats (SECEBT); the NIH-sponsored Southeastern Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense (SERCEB) housed at Emory; and the NIH new pathway P20 award, Exploratory Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Vaccinology of the Emory Vaccine Center.
He has contributed to the creation and development of the Emory Vaccine Center and the Emory Center for AIDS Research (CFAR).