Vani Nilakantan

VP of Research

System Vice President of Research Institute, CommonSpirit Health Research Institute

Vani Nilakantan

Vani has over 25 years research experience in both academic and hospital-based settings. She  currently serves as the Vice President for Research for the CommonSpirit Health Research Institute  and provides the vision and strategy for research for one of the largest health systems in the country. Vani  is the accountable executive and authorized official for the system and partners with industry, life science companies and academic organizations to set forth research strategy. Prior to joining CommonSpirit Health, Vani  was the executive head of research for Allina Health, a large integrated health system based in Minneapolis, MN. At Allina, she led clinical and basic research and served as the authorized organizational representative and signatory. She also set strategic direction for research and reorganized the research structure for Allina Health System.

Prior to joining Allina, Vani was the Director of Investigator Initiated Research and Sponsored Programs Office at Aurora Health Care and Aurora Research Institute (now Advocate Health). At Aurora Research Institute, she had oversight of basic science, pre-clinical, translational and clinical research, and innovation in alignment with Aurora Health Care mission and strategic priorities. She also created effective collaborative relationships with senior administrative leadership and clinical system program leaders and medical staff. 

Vani’s academic experience includes faculty and research positions at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW), where she had an active research program in ischemic acute kidney injury and cardiac and kidney transplant rejection. Vani At MCW, her research focused on acute kidney injury and cardiac/kidney transplantation. She further continued her research on acute kidney injury at Aurora Health Care, where she worked with data scientists to develop a predictive model for early diagnosis of acute kidney injury.  She has over 50 abstracts and presentations and over 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has been funded through internal foundations, the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health. She serves on several national and regional committees for research administration and clinical research management.