Clinical and Translational Sciences program celebrates first graduate

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Sam Taylor Jr., M.D.
Sam Taylor Jr., M.D.

The VCU Center for Clinical and Translational Research congratulates Sam Taylor Jr., M.D., assistant professor of neurology, as the first graduate from the Clinical and Translational Sciences master’s degree program.

As a master’s degree student, Sam focused not only on his coursework, but also conducted research, worked with the VCU Center for Sleep Medicine and helped cultivate the minds of future medical professions. In short, he was very busy, but that’s why he loved the master’s program within the CCTR.

“I really liked the flexibility of the program,” Sam said. “All of the students in the program are faculty members and have such busy and varied job responsibilities, so the CCTR program works around the busy lives that we have.”

Sam has collected pilot data for his own research with patients who are potentially at risk for neurodegenerative diseases and those patients with REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). RBD is a condition in which patients act out their dreams instead of remaining immobile in REM sleep, as normal patients would. RBD may place those individuals at significant risk of harming themselves or their bed partners.

It has also been established through research that people with presumed idiopathic RBD have a greater than 40 percent increased risk of developing a neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson’s disease, within seven to 10 years after diagnosis. Sam believes that through enhanced detection and screening for RBD as a biomarker for neurodegenerative disease risk, vital opportunities for intervention to modify the course of these diseases may be optimized as novel disease-modifying therapies emerge.

Besides his busy career, Sam is a loving husband and father of two beautiful children. He enjoys preparing gourmet cuisine and would love to open his own restaurant someday. He is interested in Chinese martial arts, foreign languages, linguistics and photography. He is also an avid reader and writes poetry.

Sam completed his neurology residency at the University of Virginia and his fellowship at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in Sleep Medicine. Sam has been a member of the VCU Medical Center faculty since September 2010.