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Nathan L. Vanderford, PhD, MBA

Dr. Vanderford is an Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine within the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology. His research focuses on cancer disparities, health promotion, and cancer education and training. He holds several administrative positions including being the Assistant Director for Education and Research for the Markey Cancer Center, Director of Administration for the Center for Cancer and Metabolism, and Director of the Appalachian Career Training in Oncology Program. In these administrative positions, he works to facilitate cancer research and education initiatives across the university.

Dr. Vanderford is a scientist-administrator who holds a PhD in biochemistry and an MBA with an operations management and leadership focus. He uniquely bridges science and administrative functions with his unique science and business background. He has over thirteen years of oncology-related research administration experience with a focus on operations and program management including oversight of fiscal resources, conducting planning and evaluation activities, coordination of administrative functions, managing of career development activities, and participation in faculty and staff recruitment activities.

Dr. Vanderford is active in the Society for Research Administrators International (SRAI) and has been recognized by the society for his research administration accomplishments. He was the 2018 recipient of SRAI's mid-career Excellence Award, he earned Distinguished Faculty Designation by SRAI in 2019 and in 2022, in 2020 he won the SRAI Hartford-Nicholson Award, and in 2022 he was the recipient of SRAI's advanced career Excellence Award. Dr. Vanderford is past editor of the Journal of Research Administration, which is published by SRAI.  

Dr. Vanderford has an award-winning history of teaching and mentoring trainees and in creating innovative career development experiences and opportunities for trainees, including designing a novel career development course and facilitating experiential learning activities. He is co-author of the book ReSearch: A Career Guide for Scientists (Academic Press) that focuses on guiding trainees’ career development. Dr. Vanderford has published several articles on the topic of improving graduate education in high impact journals including Science, Nature, and Nature Biotechnology. He is involved in career development activities at the national level where he serves on several national committees and advisory groups including those associated with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Vanderford was awarded the 2020 Kentucky Academy of Science’s Excellence in Science Education and Outreach Award. In 2022, Dr. Vanderford was selected as a 2022 Fellow of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for his accomplishments related to education. He has won numerous teaching and mentorship awards at the University of Kentucky including the University of Kentucky Alumni Association Great Teacher Award in 2017 and the University of Kentucky Excellent Undergraduate Research Mentor Award in 2021. 

Dr. Vanderford is also senior editor of the book titled The Cancer Crisis in Appalachia: Kentucky Students Take ACTION of which there are two editions with the first being published in 2020 and the other in 2022.  

A list of Dr. Vanderford's other published work can be found here