Juanita Merchant, M.D., Ph.D.


Juanita Merchant, M.D., Ph.D., is the Chief of Gastroenterology and a professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Arizona Cancer Center. Dr. Merchant has made paradigm-shifting contributions to our understanding of the gastric response to chronic inflammation.

Dr. Merchant grew up in Los Angeles and attended Stanford for her B.S. in biology. She then set her sights on medical school and discovered how much she loved working in the laboratory. One of her early mentors offered some life-changing advice by recommending that she get an M.D. and a P.h.D. degree. She did just that by enrolling in Yale University where she received both her M.D. and Ph.D. degrees.  She completed her internal medicine residency and a research fellowship in gastroenterology at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and her clinical fellowship in gastroenterology at UCLA.  She was then recruited to the University of Michigan where she has developed her research in transcriptional control mechanisms in the gastrointestinal tract. She has recently moved to the University of Arizona.

Dr. Merchant is a reviewer for multiple journals and has served on the editorial boards of GastroenterologyAmerican Journal of Physiology—GIJournal of Clinical InvestigationDigestive Disease Sciences and Physiological Reviews. She currently serves on several national advisory boards including the Robert Wood Johnson-sponsored Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, where she was a fellow; the advisory boards for NIH-sponsored P30 Digestive Disease Centers for UCLA/CURE, Washington and Vanderbilt Universities. She was one of the inaugural members of the Council of Councils, which directly advises the current NIH director, Dr. Francis Collins, on future trends for NIH.

In addition, during the course of her education and throughout her faculty tenure, Dr. Merchant has received numerous prestigious awards and honors. She is a member of nine professional associations. She was a 2008 inductee into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. As an associate director of the University of Michigan Medical Scientist Training (MD-PhD) Program, she has developed a clinical preceptorship for MSTP students and a summer pre-MSTP experience for under-represented groups interested in pursuing both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical fields.

Dr. Merchant's primary research interests include transcriptional control mechanisms regulating cell growth and differentiation and microbial-host interactions in the upper GI tract. She has authored or co-authored over 90 peer-reviewed research publications and is the editor or co-editor of two books and several book chapters. Several press releases on her work related to the role of gastritis in the development of ulcers and gastric cancer have been published nationally.


Joshua C. Denny, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.M.I.

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Joshua C. Denny, M.D., M.S., F.A.C.M.I.
Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine Director, Center for Precision Medicine
Vice President for Personalized Medicine Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Biomedical Informatics

Josh Denny is a Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Medicine. He completed an internal medicine residency as a Tinsley Harrison Scholar at Vanderbilt. His research interests include natural language processing, accurate phenotype identification from electronic medical record data, and using the electronic medical record to discover genome‐phenome associations to better understand disease and drug response, including the development of the EMR‐based phenome‐wide association (PheWAS).

At Vanderbilt, Dr. Denny is part of the PREDICT (Pharmacogenomic Resource for Enhanced Decisions in Care and Treatment) program, which prospectively genotypes patients to tailor drug response. He is PI of the Data and Research Center of the All of Us Research Program (previously called the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program), which will eventually enroll at least 1 million Americans in an effort to understand the genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors that influence human health and disease. He is also PI for Vanderbilt sites in the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network, Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN), and the Implementing Genomics Into Practice (IGNITE) Network.

Dr. Denny received the Homer Warner award from the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) in 2008 and 2009. He received the AMIA New Investigator Award in 2012 and was elected into the American College of Medical Informatics in 2013. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, a fellow in the American College of Medical Informatics, and a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine. He serves on several local committees and remains active in teaching medical students and clinical roles.

Lorraine B. Ware, MD


Dr. Lorraine Ware received her undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College in 1988 and her M.D from Johns Hopkins University in 1992. She trained in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1992-1995. She completed a Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellowship at the University of California San Francisco in 1999 and a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the University of California, San Francisco in 2001. She joined the faculty in Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt in 2002. Currently, she is an attending physician on the pulmonary and medical ICU services at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. In addition to her clinical and research responsibilities she enjoys teaching in both the research and clinical settings and has mentored numerous medical students, residents and postdoctoral fellows.

Interview with Lorraine Ware