School of Medicine recruits biomedical sciences chair

Contact: Laura Eller


KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University's School of Medicine has recruited its first basic scientist, Dr. Dale Vandré, to serve as the founding chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, beginning November 2012.

Vandré will come to the WMU medical school from Ohio State University's College of Medicine, where he serves as the vice chair of the physiology and cell biology department, assistant dean for foundational science, and director of the integrated pathway program. The latter is the primary educational track for nearly 400 first- and second-year medical students, and it also involves the contributions of more than 250 faculty members.

Vandré, who has responsibility for overseeing the integration of basic sciences throughout the four years of medical student education, also co-chaired the curriculum design team that developed the new curriculum for the OSU medical school that began this fall. An outstanding medical educator, Vandré received the College of Medicine Distinguished Educator Award in 2008 and the Excellence in Teaching Award for his department in 2012.

A biochemist and cell biologist, Vandré earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He has been an active researcher in the cellular and molecular biology of cancer, with consistent research funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. Over the past 15 years, he has served as the advisor for six doctoral students, and as a doctoral committee member for 30 additional doctoral students.

"We are very excited to have Dr. Vandré join us in this key leadership position," says Dr. Hal Jenson, dean of WMU School of Medicine. "With experience in leading the first two years of the medical student curriculum at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and in designing and implementing their new curriculum, Dr. Vandré brings a wealth of expertise in medical student education in the preclinical sciences. His commitment to educational innovation and team-based learning focused on interdisciplinary experiences is a perfect match for the curriculum that we have designed."

In addition to his educational and research expertise, Vandré also served in key departmental and institutional leadership positions at OSU's College of Medicine, including: member and chair of the university research committee; founder and director of the Davis Heart Lung Research Institute proteomics core research facility; and member, vice chair, and chair of the OSU College of Medicine’s faculty council.

At WMU's School of Medicine, Vandré will initially be responsible for recruiting basic science faculty with significant medical student teaching experience to the new medical school. Vandré and these faculty members will: be responsible for continued refinement of the medical student curriculum: serve as basic science course directors, along with their counterpart clinical course directors; and develop basic and translational research programs at WMU School of Medicine.

About the Western Michigan University School of Medicine

The new Western Michigan University School of Medicine is a collaboration involving Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo’s two teaching hospitals, Borgess Medical Center and Bronson Methodist Hospital.  It has been planned for four years, and fundraising, accreditation work and curriculum development for the school are well underway.  Expected to welcome its first class in fall 2014, the school is a private 501 (c)(3) nonprofit corporation supported by private gifts, clinical revenue, research activity, tuition from students and endowment income.  In March 2011, Western Michigan University received a gift of $100 million for the medical school from anonymous donors.