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New Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Ansley Stanfill

Dr. Stanfill

Ansley Grimes Stanfill, PhD, RN, joined the faculty in March 2016 with a joint appointment as an assistant professor in the Department of Advanced Practice and Doctoral Studies through the College of Nursing, and in the Genetics, Genomics and Informatics Department through the College of Medicine. She received her BS in neuroscience from Vanderbilt University in 2003 and her BSN from Saint Louis University in 2007 while working as a research assistant in genetics and neuroimaging research. Dr. Stanfill also has clinical experience in neurology and neurosurgery, endoscopy, and critical care.

In 2011, Dr. Stanfill was selected to participate in the highly competitive National Institute of Nursing Research’s (NINR) Summer Genetics Institute. This is a month long intensive research training course held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Riding on the coattails of the precision medicine movement, the program brings together nurses and re- searchers with interdisciplinary backgrounds looking for training in genomics techniques. Dr. Stanfill has been an invited alumna speaker for the boot camp since 2015 and teaches a course on the integration of omics in nursing research during the program.

She was awarded her PhD in 2014 from UTHSC for her dissertation titled “Dopaminergic genetic contributions to obesity in kidney transplant recipients” for which she received a NIH/NINR F31 predoctoral fellowship grant. Immediately following her graduation, she completed her postdoctoral training in omics research at the University of Pittsburgh, supported by the NIH/NINR T32 “Targeted Research and Academic Training of Nurses in Genomics.”

Dr. Stanfill’s research is focused on the influence of genetic and epigenetic factors on long-term outcomes in neurological injury and chronic diseases. Her primary project is titled “Clinical, demographic, genetic, and epi- genetic determinants of health related quality of life post aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.” Along with her co-investigators, she was awarded a UTHSC Collaborative Research Network (CORNET) award for this work. She is currently enrolling patients that have sustained an aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (a specific type of stroke) at Methodist University Hospital or at Baptist Memorial Hospital. Dr. Stanfill is then collecting blood and cerebrospinal fluid (obtained non-invasively from a ventriculostomy) for 14 days after admission, and analyzing genetic and epigenetic data as well as clinical and demographic data, for associations with physical, cognitive, and mental health outcomes at 6 months post-stroke. She is also working on another project titled “A Mixed-Methods Analysis of the Effects and Recovery Trajectory for Concussion/mTBI,” for which she was recently awarded a Dean’s Research Fellowship from the College of Nursing. This work prospectively follows student athletes over the course of the academic year and seeks to identify biomarkers that could be used to better determine safe return to play after a sports-related concussion.

Although early in her research career, Dr. Stanfill has been principle investigator on seven research grants, resulting in work that has been published in nursing, medical, and basic science journals. Furthermore, she has presented her work at conferences locally, regionally, nationally, and around the world. Dr. Stanfill is a member of several professional groups including Sigma Theta Tau, the International Society of Nurses in Genetics, and the American Society of Human Genetics.