Jeffrey Rathmell, PhD

Jeffrey Rathmell, PhD

Dr. Rathmell studies mechanisms by which extracellular cues influence lymphocyte death and differentiation in efforts to control inflammatory diseases and leukemia. Following undergraduate studies on Biology at the University of Northern Iowa, he earned a Ph.D in Immunology on B cell tolerance and death mechanisms at Stanford University. In postdoctoral studies at the University of Chicago and University of Pennsylvania, he showed that lymphocyte metabolism was dynamically regulated by growth factors and controls apoptotic mechanisms. He began at Duke University in 2003 in the departments of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and Immunology, as well as a member of the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute. Dr. Rathmell's group showed that the metabolism of T cells is highly dynamic and that specific metabolic programs are essential for each functional T cell subsets. These fundamental metabolic distinctions may now allow modulation of selective populations of lymphocytes in inflammatory diseases and anti-tumor immunity. He joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University in 2015 as Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology to direct the Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology and co-lead the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center Host Tumor Interactions Program. He is Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation and co-leader of the Molecular Pathology and Immunology Ph.D training program.




Staff Scientists:

Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Hematology/Oncology Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Xiang Ye, Ph.D

Xiang Ye, Ph.D.

Fun Fact: My dog's name is CRIPSR!

Bioinformatics, Data analysis, Computational Biology

Notable publication:

MTHFD2 is a metabolic checkpoint controlling effector and regulatory T cell fate and function

Katie Beckermann, M.D./Ph.D.

Katy Beckermann, M.D./Ph.D.

Fun Fact: I love going on runs and petting animals!

My research interest is identifying metabolic barriers to T cell function and immunotherapy in renal cell carcinoma.

Notable publication:

A Non-apoptotic Function of MCL-1 in Promoting Pluripotency and Modulating Mitochondrial Dynamics in Stem Cells


Current Post-Doctoral Fellows:

Andrew Patterson, PhD.

Andrew R. Patterson, Ph.D., PMI

Fun Fact: In between lab jobs, I spent a summer working as a wilderness canoe guide on the Minnesota-Canada border!

My work focuses on the intersection of Immunometabolism and Primary Immune Deficiencies, with an emphasis on how genetic perturbations of metabolic pathways can lead to immunodeficiency or dysfunction.

Notable publication:

Functional Overlap of Inborn Errors of Immunity and Metabolism Genes Define T Cell Immunometabolic Vulnerabilities

Andrew Patterson, PhD.

Matt Stier, Ph.D., Critical Care Fellow

Fun Fact: I was in the Witness Protection Program!

Immunometabolic Dysfunction in Critical Illness

Notable publication:

IL-33 promotes the egress of group 2 innate lymphoid cells from the bone marrow


Current Graduate Students:      

Kaylee Steiner

Kaylee Steiner

Fun fact: I have played the violin since kindergarten and have played in high school and college orchestras as well as competing in solo competitions!

Investigating the role of lipid metabolism in inflammation and cancer. Specifically, investigating Mecr and mitochondrial fatty acid synthesis and its role on T cell function and metabolism

Notable publication:

Isolation and Whole-Genome Sequencing of Pseudomonas sp. RIT 623, a Slow-Growing Bacterium with Antibiotic Properties.

Emma Hathaway

Emma Hathaway

Fun fact: My father was a mole man!

Manipulating T cell metabolism to improve cellular immunotherapies for solid tumors

Notable publication:

High-Throughput Mass Cytometry Staining for Immunophenotyping Clinical Samples.


Research Assistants:

Madelyn Landis

Madelyn Landis

Research Assistant

Fun Fact: At one point in my life I had 5 different part-time jobs at the same time!

My projects investigate the relationships between T cell metabolism and effector function with immunotherapy treatment in human renal cell carcinoma. I am a part of the VCI Human Immunology Discovery Initiative (HIDI) team working to manage and expand sample collections from patients with immune-related disorders.

Sam Schaefer

Sam Schaefer

Research Assistant

FGC Core Assistant

Fun Fact: I have never broken a bone!

CRISPR screens in mouse and human cell lines, healthy donor experiments, helping out others!

Summer Brown, MA

Summer Brown

Program Manager, Vanderbilt Center for Immunology

Fun Fact: My favorite season is summer!

Managing the VCI

Email me


Past Post-Doctoral Fellows:

Arissa Young, M.D

Rheumatology Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles


Saara Kaviany, DO

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Chicago


Diana Contreras, Ph.D.

Microbiology and Immunology

Current Senior Clinical Trials Assistant- Contract Partner of Amgen, IQVIA, Clayton, NC


Stephanie Dudzinski, Ph.D.


Radiation Oncology Resident, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX


Nancie MacIver, M.D./Ph.D.              

Assistant Professor (tenure track) Duke University, Pediatric Endocrinology


Liza Makowski, Ph.D.                         

Assistant Professor (tenure track) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nutrition


Ryan Michalek, Ph.D.                         

Senior Study Director, Metabolon Inc., Durham, NC


Pankuri Goraska-Hicks, Ph.D.             

Director of Oncology Studies, Gentris


Alfredo Caro-Maldonado, Ph.D.          

Post-doctoral Researcher, CIC BioGUNE, Spain


Andrew Macintyre, Ph.D.                   

Education and Professional Development Manager at American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)


Peter Siska, M.D.

Hematology-Oncology fellow at University Hospital Regensburg


Sivan Cohen, Ph.D.

Scientist, Genentech, San Francisco, CA


Past Graduate Students:


Dalton Greenwood, Ph.D.



Ayaka Sugiura, M.D./Ph.D. 



Matt Madden, M.D./Ph.D.


Pathology Residency, Yale School of Medicine


Jessica Wofford           

Pharm              Defended PhD 11/29/2007

Current Clinical Scientist-Drug Development, Aratana Therapeutics, Kansas City, MO


Yuxing Zhao               

Pharm              Defended PhD 12/6/2007

Currently a Police Officer, Melbourne Australia.


Heather Wieman         

MCB                Defended PhD 04/08

Senior Scientist, ZenBio, Research Triangle Park, NC


Kathleen O’Hara         

IMM                Defended M.S. 2009

Associate Veterinarian at United Veterinary Specialty and Emergency, San Francisco


Sarah Jacobs                

MCB              Defended PhD 11/2009

Current Post-doc with Blossom Damania at UNC Chapel Hill


Emily F Mason              

MCB/MSTP    Defended PhD 7/2010

Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University, Department of Pathology


Jonathan Coloff           

Pharm              Defended PhD 9/2010

Post-doc with Joan Brugge at Harvard Univeristy


Brian J. Altman            

MCB                Defended PhD 5/2011

Post-doc with Chi Dang, University of Pennsylvania


Valerie A. Gerriets       

Pharm             Defended PhD 2/21/2014

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, California Northstate University College of Medicine


Tingyu Liu                  

Pharm              Defended PhD 10/20/2014

Post-doc with Jeffrey Engelman, Harvard University


Rigel Kishton

Pharm              Defended PhD 05/09/2016

Post-doc with Nick Restifo, National Cancer Institute (Surgery Branch)

Marc Johnson      

Pharmacology/Cancer Biology     Defended PhD 11/09/2018

Scientist, Surface Oncology, Cambridge MA


Past Research Assistants:

Katherine Beier

Veterinary Student, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine


Channing Chi

Medical Student, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


Debolanle Dahunsi            

Medical Student, University of Illinois College of Medicine


Rachel Hongo

Graduate student, Harvard Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program