Cooperative Human Tissue Network - Western Division at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Who We Are

Principal Investigator

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Mary K. Washington, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Washington's research focuses on morphology of gastrointestinal and hepatic diseases. She provides expertise in interpretation of histopathologic changes in a variety of animal models of gastrointestinal diseases to basic scientists at Vanderbilt. She also serves as director for several research tissue banks, as well as CHTN Western Division. Her research focuses on diagnostic aspects of gastrointestinal and hepatic pathology; specific areas of interest include Barrett's esophagus, colorectal neoplasia, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastrointestinal pathology of primary immunodeficiency. She also has an interest in morphology of mouse models of intestinal neoplasia and inflammatory bowel disease.
Research specialty: Histopathology of gastrointestinal and hepatic diseases and mouse models of GI cancer.

Click here to see Dr. Washington's publications.




Kerry R. Wiles
Kerry Wiles is the central coordinator for the CHTN Western Division. Ms. Wiles received her B.S. degree from Pittsburgh State University (Kansas) and has completed 20 hours towards a M.S. degree with an emphasis on genetics-molecular biology and microbiology. She has over 15 years of "wet bench" research experience in genetic mapping, association studies, tissue culture, MALDI-TOF /SNP genotyping and analysis, sequencing, microsatellite library creation and robotics. Ms. Wiles started her scientific career at the University of Iowa working on genetic mapping of chromosome X and 4, association studies of BFLS and FSH.   Ms. Wiles also studied the  role of Beta defensins in normal human lung, diseased lung (Cystic Fibrosis) and skin as well as rats and mice.
Ms. Wiles continued her scientific career at the National Institutes of Health under the direction of Dr. Francis Collins, National Human Genome Research Institute-NHGRI (FUSION) and was involved in NIDDM research using a large Finnish cohort. Ms. Wiles was recruited to CHTN Western Division in August 2002 by Dr. Washington as project manager/coordinator.
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CHTN Staff by Department


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Erik R. Brooks, Pathology Technician II
Erik Brooks is the lead procurement technician and a pathology technician II in the CHTN Western Procurement Lab at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He received his B.S. in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology (BCMB) from the University of Tennessee in December 2003. Before joining CHTN, Erik worked at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center for five years in the emergency department. His current position focuses on the collection and procurement of remnant human tissue, with an emphasis on malignancies and GI tissues. Erik hopes to apply his experience with CHTN to pursue a future career as a physician assistant.

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Kelsey Shaffer, Research Assistant I

Kelsey is a Rearch Assistant I in CHTN Western Division's procurement department. She graduated from 

Hanover College in May of 2014 with a B.A. in Biochemistry. In the future, Kelsey plans to continue her 

education in Biochemistry and hopes to untilize her experience at CHTN to become a Cancer Researcher.

Click here to see presentations by Kelsey.

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Linda Sircy, Research Assistant I

Linda Sircy is a research assistant I in CHTN Western Division's shipping department.  In May 2013, Linda received her Bachelor of Science degree in biology with a minor in chemistry from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.  In the future, she hopes to continue her education by attending graduate school to study molecular biology and clinical research.

Click here to see presentations by Linda.

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Haleigh Nelson, Research Assistant I

Haleigh is a research assistant I in the Shipping department at CHTN Western at Vanderbilt University

Medical Center. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in May 2014 with a

Bachelors of Science in Marine Biology, and two minors in French and Chemistry. During her undergrad, she

worked in an immunology lab researching MRSA in the nose and throats of nursing students undergoing

their clinical rotations. In the future, she hopes to attend medical school to become a dermatologist. 

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Research Analyst/Consent

Grace Ordung, Research Assistant I
Grace is a research assistant for the Consent department at CHTN Western at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  She graduated from University of Tennessee at Martin in December 2013 with a bachelors in Cell and Molecular Biology.  She plans to continue her education and stay involved in research.
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Alle Crider, Research Assistant I
Alle Crider is a Research Assistant I for the Consent department within CHTN Western at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  She graduated from Western Kentucky University (WKU) in May of 2012 with a B.S. in Agriculture-Animal Science as well as Biology-Genetics.  She also earned her M.S. In Agriculture from WKU in May of 2014.  While attending WKU, Alle worked in the University's biotech lab assisting with research of GMO crops and plants.  She plans to continue her education in Biology and use her experience at CHTN Western to eventually be an Environmental Specialist/Scientist.
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Laboratory Technicians

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Brittney Fain, Laboratory Technician
Brittney is a member of CHTN Western at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is currently studying early childhood education and speech therapy at Tennessee State University. She hopes to one day start her own program for special needs children here in Tennessee.

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Robert Burnell, Laboratory Technician

Bob Burnell attended Valparaiso Technical Institute in Valparaiso, Indiana in 1980 majoring in Electronics.  He began his medical career in 1981 at St. Bernard Hospital on the south side of Chicago, IL.  There he was a Radiology Assistant and received additional training and technical experience hanging radiographs on film alternators for the Radiologists, making film subtractions for Angiograms, assisting with procedures such as Myelograms, performing Sensitometry for QA, etc.  Before moving to Tennessee, he worked at several medical instiutions such as South Suburban Hospital in Illinois, Humana Hospital in Daytona, FL, and St. Vincent's Medical Center in Jacksonville, FL.  While living in Tennessee, Bob has worked in different hospitals before coming to Vanderbilt; such as Baptist Hospital, Southern Hills Hospital and St. Thomas Hospital in the Radiology departments.  He has consistently maintained a contributory role in the transition from the older systems in Imaging to the current digital systems.  Bob has worked at Vanderbilt for 14 years in many departments including Operative Services, Internal Medicine, GI/Endoscopy Lab and PMI. 

Bob is excited to be a laboratory technician for the CHTN Western team and looks forward to promoting good health.  He feels that together we are working to improve medical care, diagnostics, treatments and the betterment of humankind.  He feels very fortunate to have this important opportunity to contribute, to be helpful and to share in the collective successes that lie ahead.

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Stephanie Shelton, Laboratory Technician (Lead)

Stephanie Shelton is a Lab Technician with CHTN Western Division's Fluid Processing Department.  She comes from a Urologic Laboratory background where she worked closely with pathologists specializing in Prostate Cancer.  She is very excited to further her knowledge and experience in research, so that she can contribute to the success in treating pateints with cancer.

Click here to see presentations by Stephanie.

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Manu Manrao, Health Systems Software Engineer III

Manu Manrao is currently working as a Health Systems Software Engineer III for CHTN Western Division at VUMC. He received his Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 2004 (from India) and Masters of Science in Computer Science (from Wayne State University, USA) in 2007.  He started working as a developer in the commercial sector in February 2007.  During this period, he managed off-shore teams as well, which honed his mangagerial skills.  After gaining considerable industrial experience, he transitioned over to the healthcare domain and began working for Epic Systems in August 2010.  There he acquired detailed knowledge of the American Healthcare system.  During his tenure at Epic Systems, he received several opportunities to visit hospitals and work closely with the end users to gain insight into medical workflows.  In his next position at Medhost Inc., he played a pivotal role in his team to create a Continuity of Care Document (CCD) and Quality Reporting Document Architecture (QRDA) for the patients, which serve as important requisities for Meaningful Usage Stage 2 requirements.  If you would like more details on his background, please visit his LinkedIn site: http://www.linkedin.com/in/manumanrao.

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Administrative Assistant

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Kiley WeaseAdministrative Assistant II
Kiley Wease is the Administrative Assistant for the CHTN Western Division at VUMC.  In May 2011, Kiley received her Bachelor's of Science in public affairs (BSPA) from Indiana University Bloomington in public financial management. She works directly under Ms. Kerry Wiles to help complete and maintain all the administrative aspects of CHTN Western. In the future, Kiley hopes to receive her graduate degree in Non-profit Management and work for a non-profit that specializes in the health and well-being of children.

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Regina Jenkins, Histotechnologist II

Regina Jenkins is the Histotechnologist II for the CHTN Western Division at VUMC.  She has had 23 years experience with 13 years in Clinical and 10 years in research.  She received her associated applied science degree in 1994 for Office Administration.  While attending college, she was introduced to Histology in 1989, where she decided to focus her career.  In June 2004, she got her certification as a Histology Technician awarded by The American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).

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