Mariann Piano joins School of Nursing in top research role

Mariann R. Piano, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, FAHA, a distinguished researcher in cardiovascular disease and expert on the effects of binge drinking and young adults, has been named senior associate dean for research at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN).

Mariann PianoPiano will lead the School of Nursing’s research program, charged with supporting faculty scholarly endeavors, expanding the school’s research function and directing efforts to increase external funding. She will also direct VUSN’s Center for Research Development and Scholarship, which supports faculty in research scholarly activity.

“Mariann Piano’s academic background, leadership experience and research excellence make her an outstanding fit for Vanderbilt,” said VUSN Dean Linda Norman, DSN, R.N., FAAN, the Valere Potter Menefee Professor in Nursing. “Mariann is highly respected for her own scholarship and for the research leadership she provides to her faculty and students. Her experience in developing support from extramural, foundation and other philanthropic sources will be invaluable to individual faculty and the school. I am thrilled that she has joined VUSN.”

Piano had been Nursing Collegiate Professor and head of the Department of Biobehavioral Health Science at the University of Illinois College of Nursing in Chicago.

She was selected following a national search conducted by a search committee chaired by Barbara A. Given, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, Visiting Ingram Professor of Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, and the Tyler & Co. search firm.

“I am excited to be in the School of Nursing, and to work with Dean Norman and the entire VUSN leadership team,” Piano said. “Vanderbilt has a great reputation, and faculty who are excellent and very committed to research. I’m looking forward to getting to know the school’s faculty and their interests, and learning how I might help both tenure and non-tenure track faculty develop and enhance their scholarship.”

She will also represent VUSN on the Vanderbilt University Research Council, a group of 10 Vanderbilt leaders charged with providing input and overseeing strategic planning for research, with a particular emphasis in identifying and leveraging collaborations across the university.

“Mariann has facilitated and participated in trans-institutional research initiatives similar to those that are essential to VUSN’s and Vanderbilt’s strategic vision,” Norman said. “She brings qualities and experience that will help our research infrastructure grow.”

Piano succeeds Ann F. Minnick, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, the Julia Eleanor Chenault Professor of Nursing, who headed the school’s research program for a decade and is returning to teaching and scholarly work.

Piano has published extensively on cardiovascular health and function, the adverse impact of alcohol and cigarette smoking on the cardiovascular system, animal models of alcohol abuse, cardiac nursing, and heart failure pathophysiology, symptoms and patient self-management.

Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the American Heart Association and the NIH’s National Institute of Nursing Research. She has served as principal investigator or co-PI on a series of federal grants, including a new two-year NIAAA R21 grant studying the mechanisms underlying microvascular dysfunction in young adult binge drinkers.

Piano is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), the Institute of Medicine­–Chicago and the American Heart Association (AHA). She is a member of the nominating committee for the AAN, immediate past chair of the AHA Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing, and a frequent ad hoc reviewer for the NIH’s Center for Scientific Review.

She earned a BSN from Loyola University and MSN and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and completed post-doctoral work at Rush University. Piano started her nursing career in medical intensive care in the Chicago area before moving to medical and coronary intensive care. She joined the University of Illinois faculty in 1990. During her nearly 30-year tenure at the university, she taught graduate and undergraduate courses in the departments of Biobehavioral Health Science, Medical-Surgical Nursing and Physiology and Biophysics.

Photo: Jenny Fontaine, UIC