jie deng

Jie Deng, PhD, RN, OCN, FAAN

Professor of Nursing

Evan C Thompson Term Chair for Excellence in Teaching

Faculty Director, Laboratory of Innovative & Translational Nursing Research

Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics

While the number of cancer survivors is continuously growing in the United States, the survivors suffer from a wide range of long-term and late effects that have a negative impact on their quality of life.

Hearing their stories has inspired Jie Deng to study secondary lymphedema (the swelling of soft tissue caused by a compromised lymphatic system), as well as other cancer survivorship issues.

I am passionate about conducting innovative research on solving issues and challenges faced by individuals with cancer.


  • PhD, Vanderbilt University, 2010
  • MSN, Peking University, 2004
  • BSN, Peking University (Formerly Beijing Medical University), 1993


Dr. Deng has committed herself to mentoring different levels of students (e.g., BSN, MSN, Predoctoral students). She is enthusiastic in teaching because it is an important part of her career, and it really feeds the research environment. Dr. Deng has taught the core courses for both MSN and PhD Programs. Her mentoring and teaching experiences encountering different levels of students have inspired her to continuously pursue being an exceptional faculty member, to deliver innovative pedagogical strategies, to motivate more students and facilitate their acquisition of new knowledge and skills, and obtaining hands-on experience.


Lymphedema causes swelling and the development of hard tissue in the head and neck region following cancer treatment. It impacts approximately 75 percent of the more than half a million head and neck cancer survivors in the United States. Head and neck lymphedema may involve ex­ternal (e.g., cheek, chin) and internal (e.g., pharyngeal, oral cavity) structures. Although head and neck lymphedema affects highly visible anatomic sites (e.g., face, neck), and profoundly influences critical physical functions (e.g., speech, breathing, swallowing, cervical range of motion), limited research is available in this area.

To better understand this late effect and improve patient outcomes, Dr. Deng has spearheaded pioneering research projects in defining, measuring, and managing head and neck cancer-related lymphedema.

Her research projects have been funded by the NIH/NIDCR, NCI, American Cancer Society, Oncology Nursing Society Foundation, and other sources to investigate the assessment and management of head and neck lymphedema using innovative approaches. Dr. Deng has been invited to present her leading-edge research findings at many national and international professional conferences. Her publications have greatly contributed to the body of knowledge of lymphedema in the head and neck cancer population. Dr. Deng’s work has been recognized by researchers and clinicians in the United States and other countries. She is one of the leading scholarly experts nationally and internationally in the area of head and neck lymphedema research.

Selected Career Highlights

  • Fellow, American Academy of Nursing
  • March of Dimes Nurse Researcher Award
  • Dean’s Award for Recognition of Faculty Achievements in Research Endeavors, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing
  • Chair, Scientific Conference Committee, 12th National Lymphedema Network International Conference
  • Previous Coordinator, Lymphedema Management, Oncology Nursing Society

Accepting Mentees?

  • Yes

Accepting Fellows?

  • Yes


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