Cox to lead Vanderbilt’s trans-institutional genetics

Friday, November 21, 2014, Vol. 38, No. 47


Nancy J. Cox, Ph.D., professor of medicine and human genetics and chief of the Section of Genetic Medicine at the University of Chicago, has been appointed founding director of a new genetics institute at Vanderbilt University.

Cox, whose work has helped characterize the genetic component to disorders ranging from diabetes to autism, will be professor of Genetics and also will direct the Division of Genetic Medicine in the Department of Medicine.

Her recruitment was the completion of a yearlong national search by a committee led by Nancy J. Brown, M.D., Hugh J. Morgan Professor and chair of the Department of Medicine, and Roger Cone, Ph.D., Joe C. Davis Professor of Biomedical Science and chair of the Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics.

The Vanderbilt Genetics Institute will bring together diverse investigators from across the campus and will utilize Vanderbilt’s biobank, BioVU, one of the leading genetic repositories in the country with more than 190,000 DNA samples.

Cox earned her Ph.D. in human genetics from Yale University in 1982, and did postdoctoral work at Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1987.

Named a Pritzker Scholar at the University of Chicago in 2012, she is a former editor of the journal Genetic Epidemiology and a former board member of the American Society of Human Genetics.

The establishment of the new institute acknowledges Vanderbilt’s strength in the field — more than 150 current grants focused on genetics with direct and indirect costs approaching $50 million.

Stites & Harbison adds attorneys Barry, Tipps

Stites & Harbison, PLLC has added two attorneys in the Nashville office.


Nicholas Barry has joined the Creditors’ Rights & Bankruptcy service group. He earned his J.D. and business certificate from Vanderbilt University Law School, where he was note editor of the Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law.

Prior to joining Stites & Harbison, Barry was a law clerk for the Hon. William O. Bertelsman, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky.


J. Anne Tipps joins the Business Litigation and Torts & Insurance Practice service groups. A Nashville native, Tipps earned her J.D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she was executive editor of the Tennessee Law Review.

She joined Stites & Harbison after serving as a summer associate for the firm in 2013. Prior to that, she was a legal intern for the Hon. U.S. Magistrate Judge John S. Bryant and also interned in the legal department at a large telecommunications corporation.

Wong joins Nelson as senior acquisitions editor


Nelson Books, a nonfiction imprint of Thomas Nelson, has hired senior acquisitions editor Jessica Wong, filling the role previously held by Joel Miller.

Wong comes to the imprint with more than seven years of publishing experience. She began her career at Thomas Nelson and in 2009 when she joined the editorial team at Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.

Wong’s editorial resume includes New York Times bestsellers “An Invisible Thread” and “Waking Up in Heaven.” She holds a degree in English linguistics from Arizona State University and is an alumnus of the Yale Publishing Course.

Reynolds joins Pinnacle’s Dickson office as senior VP


Brett Reynolds has joined Pinnacle Financial Partners as a senior vice president and mortgage advisor based at the firm’s Dickson office.

Reynolds brings more than five years of lending experience from TriStar Bank, where he was a loan officer.

He attended Middle Tennessee State University and the Southeastern School of Consumer and Commercial Lending.

Reynolds is a founding board member of Banebow, Inc. and serves on the Clement Railroad Hotel Museum advisory committee.

YWCA hires pair for domestic violence efforts


The YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee has made two hires for its efforts to curb domestic violence.

Tracy DeTomasi is the new vice president of Domestic Violence Services for the YWCA, and in her new role will be responsible for program development, clinical assessment, grant management and community collaborations.

DeTomasi holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and sociology and earned her MSW at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She brings more than a decade of experience working in residential settings with children and families in crisis, having directed shelter and transitional housing programs at YouthCare in Seattle, Washington. Most recently, she managed Mercy Homes for Boys and Girls in Chicago.


Johnnie Williams is the new director of the YWCA’s MEND program, a long-term, grass roots initiative designed to elevate the issue of domestic violence, enlist men to become part of the solution and educate young men and boys.

In his new role, he is responsible for building a community-wide infrastructure to promote gender equality and implementing strategies for the engagement of men in gender violence prevention in Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

Williams holds a degree in mass communications from Morehead State University, where he was a three-year basketball starter and earned All-OVC honors. He has more than 10 years of experience working in the for-profit sector.

Domestic violence services is the YWCA’s largest program area. Last year, more than 400 women and children found safety at the Weaver Domestic Violence Center.

In addition to the emergency shelter, client services include counseling and children’s therapy, transitional housing, a 24-hour a day hotline, community education, and advocacy.

The Buffkin Group names Fleming to advisory board

The Buffkin Group, a national retained search firm, has named Eugene (Gene) C. Fleming to its advisory board.


Fleming serves on the board of directors of PhyMed Holdings, which provides anesthesia services, and Aspire Health, a palliative medicine provider. He was most recently the executive chairman of the Rehab Documentation Company until its sale in May 2014.

Fleming has held several executive management roles, including chairman and CEO of Cogent Healthcare, president and CEO of Surgical Alliance Corporation and executive vice president and COO of Quorum Healthcare.