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Department of Plastic Surgery

Research Faculty & Staff

Faculty & Staff

Lillian Nanney, Ph.D. (CV / Publications)

xLillian B. Nanney, PH.D., Professor of Plastic Surgery, Cell & Developmental Biology, Medical Education and Administration serves as the Director of Plastic Surgery research activities. She established the research program and has been an active wound healing scientist throughout her career. Her continuing efforts are centered on growth control mechanisms in the skin. Recently she added a focus on regenerative mechanisms. Homeostatic mechanisms in the skin are often disrupted leading to a host of conditions where there is either cutaneous organ failure (chronic skin ulcers) or severe dysregulation (scarring and contraction) in the sequelae after injury. Dr. Nanney believes that an analysis and manipulation of the fundamental mechanisms that produce these distressing conditions can serve as a fertile ground for providing clues that can be harnessed to gain better therapeutic manipulations following injury.  To date, this translational effort has resulted in 20 original manuscripts in human repair, 27 in the porcine model, 10 in the mouse and 12 in other species. Dr. Nanney has mentored 19 postdoctoral fellows, conducted 35+ preclinical studies and facilitated 25+ industry sponsored randomized clinical trials. Nationally, she continues to lead NIH funded programs and frequently partners with pharmaceutical colleagues. She has been a member of the Wound Healing Society since its inception and has served two terms on its board of directors, as its national president and then associate editor of Wound Repair and Regeneration. At Vanderbilt, Dr. Nanney founded and served as the Director of Vanderbilt’s Institutional Immunohistochemistry Core for 11 years and as co-director of the NIH funded Skin Disease Research Center for 17 years.  She served 10 years as the area director of Vanderbilt’s Lab-Based Research scholarly concentration program for medical students and now serves as Director of the Emphasis Program. She teaches in all venues (UME, GME, CME, graduate school) and is the founder and Director of Vanderbilt’s Academy for Excellence in Teaching. .

Wesley P. Thayer, M.D., Ph.D., (Publications)
As assistant professor in the Department of Plastic Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery, Dr. Thayer directs the Peripheral Nerve & Microsurgery Research Laboratory. The lab focuses on nerve repair strategies to improve outcomes after peripheral nerve injury. He also directs the Vanderbilt arm of the Multicenter Retrospective Study of Avance Nerve Graft Utilization, Evaluations and Outcomes in Peripheral Nerve Injury Repair, or RANGER, study.


Marcia Spear, MSN, RN, APRN-BC, CPSN
Assistant in Plastic Surgery

Ms. Spear has served the plastic surgery department for many years and in many capacities. She first began her experiences as a nurse within the clinic. Upon graduation from Vanderbilt’s Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program, she facilitated research within Vanderbilt’s Clinical Research Center. In 2001 she rejoined the Plastic Surgery Department where she functions in dual capacities. She serves as a nurse practitioner but she also facilitates research by completing all IRB protocols for departmental studies. She also consents, enrolls and collects data for many of the departmental clinical research projects. Most recently Marcia was the national recipient of the 2005 Distinguished Service Award by the American Society for Plastic Surgery Nurses for her work in organizing regional meetings and for her outstanding instructional efforts in designing and teaching the review course for certification in plastic surgery.

Nancy Cardwell, B.S.

Nancy Cardwell, B.S., is the Laboratory Manager for the Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory where she supervises and performs the administrative, research and technical duties of the laboratory. Nancy received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Middle Tennessee State University in 1984, joined Vanderbilt in 1986 and has worked with Dr. Nanney since 1988. Her areas of expertise include Histology, Immunohistochemistry, and the development and use of wound healing models. Mrs. Cardwell performs all administrative duties surrounding proper laboratory functioning. She handles all regulatory compliance issues.  She also participates in the preparation of posters and papers for publication using computerized morphometric analysis and graphics utilizing many different computer programs..

Alonda Pollins, M.L.I.

Alonda Pollins, B.S, M.L.I., is a Research Specialist Sr. in the Plastic Surgery Research Laboratory, and has worked with Dr. Nanney since 2002. Prior to working for Dr. Nanney she spent 3 years working in the SDRC Molecular Biology Core Laboratory at Vanderbilt. Her areas of expertise include Molecular Biology, Histology, Immunohistochemistry, and the development and use of wound healing models. In 2001 she received her Bachelor of Science from Middle Tennessee State University, where she majored in biology with an emphasis in microbiology. In 2006, she completed the Master of Laboratory Investigation Program here at Vanderbilt. Her project expanded the Nanney Lab’s technical knowledge to include proteomic technologies and explored how burn wounds heal at the protein level. This led to other collaborations, projects, and publications involving proteomics.  In addition to performing experiments and remaining up-to-date on current technologies, Mrs. Pollins also participates in the production of high quality data, graphics, and images for presentations and publications.

Contact Information:

Plastic Surgery Research
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Medical Center North S-2221
Nashville, Tennessee 37232
Telephone: (615) 322-7265
E-mail: lillian.nanney@Vanderbilt.edu

This page was last updated January 9, 2013 and is maintained by