UNI Alum Dr. Kimryn Rathmell recognized for incredible contributions in kidney cancer research
University of Northern Iowa alum Dr. Kimryn Rathmell (‘91) was elected this year to membership in the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), a prestigious, non-governmental organization that advises the nation and the world on important aspects of medical science, health care and public health.
The Chair of Medicine in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine’s Department of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee, Rathmell was recognized for pioneering basic science investigation of kidney cancer and her work revealing the biological diversity of these tumors, in addition to uncovering novel mechanisms of cancer promotion paving the way for new therapeutics. She has also created national mentorship networks and forged pathways for physician-scientist recognition and career impact.
She currently leads the Vanderbilt Integrated Molecular Oncology Research Training Program — a training program for clinical fellows that is supported by the National Cancer Institute ― and co-leads the Vanderbilt Clinical Oncology Career Development Program.
Chosen by current NAM members, Rathmell is one of 100 individuals worldwide who were elected as new members this year in recognition of the major contributions they have made to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.
Rathmell graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1991 with two bachelor of science degrees - one in biology and one in chemistry. She went on to earn an MD and PhD in biophysics at Stanford University. She completed internship training at the University of Chicago and medicine and oncology training at the University of Pennsylvania. Before joining the Vanderbilt faculty in 2015, she served for 12 years on the faculty of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She is nationally known for her advocacy of physician-scientist training, as a champion for funding kidney cancer research and for the development of policies that address drug shortages and conflicts of interest in scientific publishing in equitable ways. Rathmell is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed original articles, review articles, books and chapters and is a frequently-invited guest speaker on topics ranging from kidney cancer biology and cancer metabolism to academic leadership skills development.
In 2019 the Kidney Cancer Association recognized Rathmell’s research accomplishments and leadership achievements with its top honor, the Eugene P. Schonfeld Award, which recognizes highly respected health care professionals who have made significant contributions in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. She was the first woman to receive the award.
About the NAM
Established originally as the Institute of Medicine in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine addresses critical issues in health, science, medicine and related policy and inspires positive actions across sectors. NAM works alongside the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge and increase public understanding of STEMM. With their election, NAM members make a commitment to volunteer their service in National Academies activities.