Staff Profile: Josh Fessel

Josh Fessel
Josh Fessel, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Clinical Advisor

Division of Clinical Innovation
Office of the Director

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences

National Institutes of Health

Email Josh Fessel


Josh Fessel is the senior clinical advisor in NCATS’ Division of Clinical Innovation, where he serves as a liaison between basic and clinical scientists and helps build bridges between multiple stakeholders to ensure that the most innovative clinical science moves forward. Before joining NCATS in December 2021, he was a medical officer at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, where he oversaw a large portfolio of projects in pulmonary vascular disease, from basic science to multicenter clinical trials and encompassing research grants, as well as cooperative agreements and challenge competitions. He also served as a liaison to the All of Us Research Program and on the NIH-wide Common Data Elements Task Force. Fessel took on additional roles in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including participating in the ACTIV public–private partnership and helping to lead several efforts across NIH to address post-COVID-19 conditions.

Prior to joining NIH in 2018, Fessel was on the faculty at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the Departments of Medicine, Pharmacology and Cancer Biology. He ran an NIH-funded research laboratory focused on the roles of redox biology, molecular metabolism and mitochondrial biology in complex disease phenotypes. Fessel is a board-certified pulmonologist and intensivist and previously maintained an active clinical practice at the Nashville VA Medical Center, where he cared for veterans and their families in the clinic, bronchoscopy suite, hospital and intensive care unit. He has published several book chapters and more than 70 manuscripts, mentored numerous scientists and clinicians at all career stages, and served in multiple local and national leadership roles — including ongoing service on the American Thoracic Society’s Drug/Device Discovery and Development Committee.

Fessel received his Ph.D. in pharmacology and his M.D. from Vanderbilt University, where he also completed a pulmonary/critical care fellowship. Learn more about Fessel via the Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID).

Research Topics

Fessel’s scientific interests include bringing together disparate disciplines to accelerate innovation in each participating field; fostering near-real-time exchanges between fundamental molecular and cellular knowledge/discoveries and clinical knowledge/discoveries; improving science communication; and providing mentorship at all levels, emphasizing justice and equity through real inclusion and diversity.

Selected Publications

  1. Accelerating Coronavirus Disease 2019 Therapeutic Interventions and Vaccines-Selecting Compounds for Clinical Evaluation in Coronavirus Disease 2019 Clinical Trials
  2. Bid Maintains Mitochondrial Cristae Structure and Function and Protects against Cardiac Disease in an Integrative Genomics Study
  3. A Metabolic Basis for Endothelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition
  4. Dependence on Glycolysis Sensitizes BRAF-Mutated Melanomas for Increased Response to Targeted BRAF Inhibition
  5. Discovery of Lipid Peroxidation Products Formed In Vivo with a Substituted Tetrahydrofuran Ring (Isofurans) That Are Favored by Increased Oxygen Tension