The scientific mission of the Division is to understand the mechanisms of drug action in humans in order to improve therapeutics.  The research of the Division members bridges the basic and clinical sciences.

One of the oldest and largest of its kind in the world, the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt was founded in 1963 by Allen Bass, M.D., Chair of Pharmacology in the 1960s, and John A. Oates, M.D., the first director of the Division.   The Division continues to experience robust growth.  In the last year we have added 3 new faculty members in the areas of pharmacogenomics, autonomic function in obesity, and cancer biology. We currently have 35 faculty and 150+ support staff.   At present, direct NIH dollars awarded to the Division exceed $30 million.

Faculty in the Division publish extensively, with over 100 peer-reviewed articles published last year in such prestigious journals as Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., and the Journal of Clinical Investigation, among others.  Six members of the Division are members of the Association of American Physicians. In addition to conducting state-of-the-art research, members of the Division also lead many institutional and national efforts to train clinical and translational investigators and to support infrastructure for translational research.

Dr. David G. Harrison receives American Heart Association award

The Vanderbilt Division of Clinical Pharmacology has traditionally pursued translational research, attempting to understand how basic molecular, biochemical and cellular processes are altered in various pathological conditions and seeking to identify novel therapeutic interventions for human diseases.  The recent development of the National Institutes of Health National Center for the Advancement of Translational Sciences (NCATS) reflects a new and evolving national emphasis on translational research.  Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt is poised to train translational scientists and to lead this evolving research direction.

We have the opportunity to add faculty in the areas of drug metabolism, lipid mediators, vascular biology, and pharmacogenetics to build on existing strengths in these areas.  The Division is poised to contribute to achieving several of the goals of the Vanderbilt Research Enterprise Strategic Plan, including those of Personalized Health as well as Healthcare and Therapeutic Discovery and Translation.  In this mission, Clinical Pharmacology collaborates with the Oates Institute, the Bone Center, the Toxicology Center, and the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology as well as with many individual investigators throughout Vanderbilt.

Harrison_David G_0.jpg

The Division of Clinical Pharmacology has a dynamic fellowship program designed to train rigorously individuals interested in a career in clinical pharmacology and translational research. With more than 27 fellows currently in the program, Vanderbilt ranks as a leader in the training of clinical pharmacologists for academia, industry, and government.  Since our founding in 1963, we have trained more fellows (>350) than any other division of its kind in the world. Dr. Mike Stein, Dan May Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology and Associate Division Chief, serves as Director of our Fellowship Training Program and has developed significant resources for the training of our fellows. Prospective applicants interested in the fellowship program should visit the fellowship training page on this website.

Should you have further questions about the Division, please contact Dr. Harrison's office at (615) 875-3049 or email him at

Dr. David Harrison

If you would like to read an Oral History of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, please click in the box below.

Oral History: Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt


To the Clinical Pharmacology Fund

Your contribution will support ongoing education and training in Clinical Pharmacology.