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Who we are

Our History

Genetic and genomics are one of the fastest developing research areas in the world today. Due to rapid advancements, in-depth genetic analysis has become essential in R&D and clinical practice.

With drug development costs forecast to double every nine years, we need more than ever to improve R&D productivity and uncover new ways to diagnose and care for diseases more efficiently. In order to increase the speed-to-market for life sciences companies, it’s imperative that we fully recognize and capture the potential of human genetics in drug and diagnostics R&D.

Understanding the Complex Relationship Between Genes and Disease

At Nashville Biosciences, we are gaining valuable genetic insights through BioVU®, a biobank of millions of longitudinal medical records spanning over 10 years with hundreds of thousands of matched genetic samples. Created at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Vanderbilt University, BioVU® is a biorepository of DNA extracted from discarded blood collected during routine clinical testing. Through the use of Nashville Biosciences’ advanced technology and novel algorithms, the team is discovering important genetic associations and identifying genes that contribute to help advance the R&D efforts of our partners.

Transforming the DNA of Life Science Research and Development

As a subsidiary of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville Biosciences is partnering with the healthcare industry to leverage the power of BioVU® and unparalleled clinical insight, resources, expertise and consulting services to a wide range of R&D challenges. If you’re interested in discussing partnership opportunities, please contact

Our People

Meet the Team

The Nashville Biosciences team is comprised of industry veterans and scientists dedicated to serving our clients.

Jon Duane, M.B.A.

Executive Chairman
Senior Partner Emeritus, McKinsey & Company

Gordon R. Bernard, M.D.

Melinda Owen Bass Professor of Medicine, EVP for Research and Director of Vanderbilt Insittute for Clincial and Translational Research, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Sam Lynch, D.M.D., D.M.Sc.

President and CEO, Lynch Biologics; Immediate Past Chairman, Life Sciences Tennessee

John F. Manning, Jr., Ph.D., M.B.A.

Chief Operating Officer and Corporate Chief of Staff, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Susan R. Wente, Ph.D.

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Acacemic Affairs, Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University

Leeland Ekstrom, Ph.D.

Founder & Chief Operating Officer

James Stover, Ph.D.

Chief Business Officer

Judsen Schneider, Ph.D.

VP & Head of Data Science

Steven Held, MD

Associate Medical Director

Julian Raffoul, MD, Ph.D.

Medical Director

Kai Smith

Application Developer

Erin Sundaram, Ph.D.

Genomics Scientist

Jamie Wenke, Ph.D.

Genomics Scientist

Yiyang Wu, MD, Ph.D.

Genomics Scientist

Lakshmi Sundararajan, PhD

Scientific Intern

Joanne Johnson

Office Manager

Karen Nanney

Secretary, Treasurer & Head of Finance

Shanon Simons, CPA, CIA

Director of Finance and Controller

Hero Wu, Canine Ph.D.

Office Mascot

Our Promise

Unwavering Commitment to Patient Privacy

Patient welfare is a top priority for Nashville Biosciences and as such, we are committed to transparency in our practices and ensuring the protection of patient data.

Prior to any blood test, patients are provided with information about BioVU®, its research and goals. After learning about the program, patients are presented with a consent form in which they can either choose to donate their leftover blood sample or decline to participate. If a patient does not want to donate any leftover samples to BioVU®, they simply do not sign the form. If a patient consents to share his or her leftover samples with BioVU® and is a match for current research programs, BioVU® removes all personally identifiable information from the sample and medical record, then stores it in a safe and secure location. Additionally, if a patient changes their mind after signing the BioVU® consent form, they can call a BioVU® helpline to withdraw their participation from any future research.

Nashville Biosciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and BioVU® regularly engage experts in ethics, science and research, operations, data security, and patient advocacy, among others, to ensure the accessibility and transparency of our information and to inform engagement with all stakeholders, including patients.



Jerome et al., 2017. Using human ‘experiments of nature’ to predict drug safety issues: an example with PCSK9 inhibitors. Drug Safety.
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Pulley et al., 2017. Accelerating Precision Drug Development and Drug Repurposing by Leveraging Human Genetics. ASSAY and Drug Development Technologies. 15(3): 113-119
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Wei et al., 2017. Evaluating phecodes, clinical classification software, and ICD-9-CM codes for phenome-wide association studies in the electronic health record. PLoS One. 12(7): e0175508
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Bowton et al., 2015. Phenotype-Driven Plasma Biobanking Strategies and Methods. Journal of Personalized Medicine. 5: 140-152
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Gamazon et al., 2015. A gene-based association method for mapping traits using reference transcriptome data. Nature Genetics. 47(9): 1091-1098
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Bowton et al., 2014. Biobanks and electronic medical records: enabling cost-effective research. Science Translational Medicine. 6(234): 234cm3
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Denny et al., 2013. Systematic comparison of phenome-wide association study of electronic medical record data and genome-wide association study data. Nature Biotechnology. 31(12): 1102-1110
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Pulley et al., 2010. Principles of Human Subjects Protections Applied in an Opt-Out, De-identified Biobank. Clinical and Translational Science. 3:42-48
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Denny et al., 2010. PheWAS: demonstrating the feasibility of a phenome-to genome wide scan to discover gene-disease associations. Bioinformatics. 26(9): 1205-1210
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Pulley et al., 2008. Attitudes and perceptions of patients towards methods of establishing a DNA biobank. Cell Tissue Banking. 9:55-65
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Roden et al., 2008. Development of a Large-Scale De-Identified DNA Biobank to Enable Personalized Medicine. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 84(30): 362-9
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Nashville Biosciences Enters into Agreement with BC Platforms’ Global Biobank Platform
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GENEWIZ and Nashville Biosciences Announce Collaboration to Combine Biobank DNA Samples and Next Generation Sequencing
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center Launches Nashville Biosciences: New Subsidiary Will Harness Power of Extensive Genomic and Bioinformatics Resources
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Goldfinch Bio Announces Collaborations with Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Vanderbilt University Medical Center to Augment World’s Largest Genomic Registry of Patients with Kidney Disease
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VUMC and Celgene Corporation enter into research agreement to accelerate development of next-generation therapeutics
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