Nashville Biosciences is a clinical big data, genomics & medical imaging
company accelerating the R&D activity of partners in the
biopharmaceutical, diagnostics, and AI industries.


Our History

Genomics is 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 provide unparalleled clinical insight, resources, and expertise to a wide range of R&D challenges.


Meet the Team

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

Leeland Ekstrom, Ph.D.

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Elizabeth Ann Stringer, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

James Stover, Ph.D.

Chief Business Officer

Judsen Schneider, Ph.D.

Karen Nanney

Secretary, Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer

John Moran

Chief Marketing Officer

Steven Held, MD

Medical Director & VP, Clinical Affairs

Curt Allen, MBA

Director of Sales, Imaging

Seth Belcher

Business Development - East Coast

Holly Cline, MSN

Assistant Medical Director

Joshua Cook

Data Engineer

Crystal Coolbaugh, PhD, PMP

Scientific Project and Program Manager

Justin Critchlow, PhD

Business Development and Analytics Manager

Dan Gauthier

HR Advisor

Marissa Halfin, MD, MBA

Clinical and Scientific Affairs

Coleman Harris, PhD

Data Engineer

Gemma Hughes

European Sales Director

Joanne Johnson

Office Manager

Phil LoCascio, Ph.D.

Senior Computational Biologist

Christopher Lord, PhD

Scientific Project & Program Manager

Tristan McKinnon

Data Engineer

Wacey Richards, BSE

Director of Engineering

Jack Rowland, MS

Biostatistics Project and Program Manager

Shanon Simons, CPA

Director of Finance and Controller

Kai Smith

Application Developer

Erin Sundaram, Ph.D.

Director, Pipeline Management

Ed Uberbacher, Ph.D.

Director of Bioinformatics

Amber Watson, PharmD

Assistant Medical Director

Jamie Wenke, Ph.D.

Director, Scientific Project Management

Jon Duane, M.B.A.

Executive Chairman Senior Partner Emeritus, McKinsey & Company

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

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

Jennifer Pietenpol, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific and Strategy Officer - Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Mace Rothenberg, M.D.

Former Professor of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Former Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer

John F. Stein, B.S., M.B.A

Former State President for Bank of America and and former National Healthcare Industry Executive for Bank of America Vice-Chairman of the Board of Vanderbilt University Medical Center Council member of the W.O. Smith Music SchoolBoard member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt Member of the executive council of American Securities LLC


Nancy J. Cox, Ph.D.

Mary Phillips Edmonds Gray Professor of Genetics Professor of Medicine Director, Vanderbilt Genetics Institute Director, Division of Genetic Medicine Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dan M. Roden, M.D.C.M.

Director, Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics Assistant Vice Chancellor for Personalized Medicine Sam Clark Professor of Experimental Therapeutics Professor of Medicine & Pharmacology Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Yu Shyr, Ph.D

Harold L. Moses Chair in Cancer Research Chair, Department of Biostatistics Director, Vanderbilt Center for Quantitative Sciences Director, Vanderbilt Technologies for Advanced Genomics Analysis and Research Design Professor of Biostatistics, Biomedical Informatics, and Health Policy Vanderbilt University Medical Center


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.

The NashBio™ Technology

Introduction to BioVU®

An Unparalleled Resource for Improving Human Health

BioVU® is a bio-bank of de-identified longitudinal medical records and DNA extracted from discarded blood samples collected during routine clinical care designed to enable exploration of the relationships among genetic variation, disease susceptibility and variable drug responses.

The NashBio™ Technology

Introduction to PheWAS™

Creating News Means of Diagnosing, Treating and Preventing Disease

Drug discovery traditionally has been approached by attempting to identify the genes or targets underlying the disease of interest and then identifying a molecule that interacts with that target. With this approach, we don’t always understand the disease process or how the drug target is implicated in the disease. The pursuit of new targets is also difficult.

The pheWAS™ approach increases the probability of R&D success by leveraging natural genetic ‘experiments’ within human DNA. We use small mutations naturally present in each and every human genome, and correlate those mutations to the full disease landscape. This ‘target-first’ approach allows us to map out diseases that may be treated by a new drug or potential sides effects that may occur.