Dr. Vadgama is the Vice President for Research and Health Affairs at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU). He is a full Professor of Medicine at CDU and at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine in the Department(s) of Internal Medicine. Dr. Vadgama has provided significant leadership in growing and sustaining research at CDU over the last two decades. Dr. Vadgama has led several additional administrative responsibilities that include Chair of the Institutional Space Committee, Chair of the PhD Planning Committee, establishing the Intellectual Property/Patent Committee at CDU, Institutional Official for IACUC and chairing several Task Force committees.
Leadership Experience: Dr. Vadgama continues to serve as Division Chief, Center Director, Vice President, member of the President’s Executive Team and the Provost’s Team in addition to several additional executive roles. He has over 30 years of direct experience in Academia and Research with a strong understanding of the processes, policies and procedures necessary to attain academic excellence. He continues to provide significant support and leadership to students, faculty, the Academic Senate, division chiefs, department chairs, deans, provosts and the University president on matters relevant to research, academic processes, challenges and growth. He continues to work with faculty, students and staff to strengthen clinical, basic and translational research/programs, integrate them with academic programs across campus, and develop strong partnerships with UCLA, Cedars and other institutions. At the request of the University president and deans, he has represented the University at several national forums on cancer and health disparities and he serves in an advisory capacity to the president and the Executive Team for directing research initiatives at CDU in partnership with other institutions.
Strength in Diversity: Dr. Vadgama has over 20 years of experience in working at Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and Hispanic Serving institution (HSI). In 1992/3, he joined Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science as Director of Laboratory Research and Development to develop research infrastructure in Biomedical Sciences that supported underrepresented and underserved undergraduate students, graduate students, medical residents, clinical fellows, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty. In addition, during these last 21 years and prior, he has had extensive experience working with underrepresented and under resourced communities in South Los Angeles and neighboring communities. Dr. Vadgama states: “It continues to be an honor and privilege to be able to make differences in the day to day lives of our students, faculty, staff, and community partners.”
Translational Cancer Research Experience: Dr. Vadgama has extensive experience in conducting oncology research that integrates clinical, basic and community-partnered research. The outcome of these efforts has resulted in the development of translational cancer research at CDU. His research team is providing significant leadership in understanding the role of comorbidities such Diabetes and Hypertension in the risk and prognosis for cancer diagnosis and treatment. His group has identified that Obesity contributes significantly to the risk for cancer development and poor clinical outcome. The CDU/UCLA Cancer Center Partnership was recently refunded for over $12.6M (2015-2020) by the National Cancer Institute (U54CA143931) to enhance cancer disparities research at CDU and support programs in developing novel research, sustaining a biomarker identification repository, formal training programs for students, fellows, and faculty, as well as community engagement activities, and clinical research studies. In addition, Dr. Vadgama serves as PI for the Accelerating Excellence in Translational Science Center (U54MD007598), recently funded for $18.76M (2019-2025). The overall purpose of AXIS is to better position CDU for conducting clinical and translational research, especially research focused on health disparities.
Other Professional Experience: Dr. Vadgama serves as reviewer for grants submitted to the NIH, DOD, VHA, and EPSRC. He is Editor-In-Chief of IJBS, Clinics in Oncology Journal and serves on the editorial board of 14 journals and an ad-hoc reviewer for 30 peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Vadgama has participated at national and international cancer meetings as chair, co-chair, invited honorary and keynote speaker. In addition, he has served on several community-partnered panels and conferences and honored with a Distinguished Achievement Award for Research and Community Partnership award from the Watts Area Ministers (WAM).
Teaching and Training Experience: Dr. Vadgama has extensive experience in training students, residents and fellows in basic, clinical and translational cancer research. His training programs have been funded from the NIH since 2004 and he serves as mentor and reviewer for several training programs including the CTSI and Susan G. Komen Foundation. To date, Dr. Vadgama has mentored 59 postdoctoral and clinical fellows, 34 graduate students, 16 medical students (mostly underrepresented), 149 undergraduate students across the nation, and 35 high school students. Dr. Vadgama continues to serve as a mentor for several funded early stage investigators at CDU and the UCLA School of Medicine. In addition, he mentors several underrepresented trainees from schools such as CDU, UCLA, UCI, UCR, CSUDH, USC and others.