Tandan and Parsons to lead neurological sciences
In 2011, the University of Vermont Board of Trustees approved the merger of two longstanding departments – neurology and anatomy and neurobiology – in order to create the new Department of Neurological Sciences. The official transition is now underway, and on August 1, 2012, Rodney Parsons, Ph.D., professor and chair of anatomy and neurobiology, and Rup Tandan, M.D., professor and vice chair of clinical affairs in neurology, will share leadership of the new department as the national search for a chair and physician leader continues. Mark Phillippe, M.D., professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, is serving as chair of the search committee. Professor Robert Hamill, M.D., who has served as chair and physician leader of neurology at UVM/Fletcher Allen for the past 19 years, will step down from this role to focus on his commitments to patient care and teaching as he prepares for retirement in 2013.
Tandan, who joined UVM/Fletcher Allen in 1993, has served as vice chair of clinical affairs for neurology since 2001. He has directed the neurology residency program and also currently directs the National ALS Clinical & Research Center, the Muscular Dystrophy Association clinic, the Neuromuscular Disorders Section, and the Neuromuscular Fellowship Program. Tandan earned his medical degree from King George’s Medical College at the University of Lucknow in India, trained in internal medicine in England and is a member of the Royal College of Physicians (UK). A specialist in the management of neuromuscular diseases, including novel therapeutic approaches in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), he completed a neurology residency and electromyography fellowship at the University of Michigan, as well as a neuromuscular fellowship at UVM.
Parsons received his Ph.D. in physiology from Stanford University and completed a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship in physiology at Columbia University. He joined the UVM faculty in 1967 and was appointed chair of anatomy and neurobiology in 1979. His scientific research focuses on the mechanisms that control the excitability of parasympathetic cardiac and sympathetic neurons inside cardiac tissues. Since 2001, Parsons has served as the director of the UVM Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Neuroscience, which over the past 11 years, has expanded interdisciplinary neuroscience research, supported the establishment of the university-wide Neuroscience Graduate Program, and helped promote translational research through basic and clinical neuroscientist collaborations at UVM.
The new Department of Neurological Sciences will be closely aligned with the Neuroscience, Behavior and Health spire, one of three spires of excellence selected in 2010 through the UVM-wide Transdisciplinary Research Initiative.