Research continues at VUMC into the causes, treatment and prevention of COVID-19.  See below to learn more about basic/translational, clinical/interventional and population health research now in progress.  

May 14, 2020: The Front Lines: Vanderbilt physicians, researchers join worldwide fight against COVID-19

From Science, May 5, 2020: The race is on for antibodies that stop the new coronavirus

Are you conducting COVID-19 research at Vanderbilt? 
Please use this brief survey to tell us about your ongoing basic, clinical and/or population sciences research efforts related to SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19:

Research conducted at VUMC into the causes, treatment and prevention of COVID-19

Mark Denison (Pediatrics Infectious Disease) and team contributing to development of new antiviral therapies, including EIDD-2801, an oral bioavailable drug for treatment of COVID-19 


James Crowe (Vanderbilt Vaccine Center) and team developing potential coronavirus antibody therapies


Interdisciplinary team of Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center faculty is innovating to develop open-source ventilator design 


Justin Balko (Medicine), with co-PIs Suman Das (Medicine) and Jonathan Schmitz (Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology), leads in-house development of a high-throughput-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test for COVID-19 antibodies 


VUMC joins international COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative to share resources that advance genetics research. Participating Vanderbilt researchers include Nancy Cox (Medicine), Jennifer “Piper” Below (Medicine), Lea Davis (Medicine), Simon Mallal (Medicine), Elizabeth Phillips (Medicine). 

Josh Peterson (Biomedical Informatics) and Lisa Bastarache (Biomedical Informatics) developing COVID-19 patient registry from electronic health records as a foundational resource for the Initiative and other studies.


Jonathan Kropski (Medicine) and Jennifer Sucre (Pediatrics) collaborate with investigators of the Human Cell Atlas Lung Biological Network to use single-cell genomic approaches to determine mechanisms regulating susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2


Wes Ely and the VUMC Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS) Center collaborators study the cognitive function and physical outcomes of COVID-19 survivors to unravel the relationship between COVID-19 and long-term health. Learn more about all CIBS studies and their extensive press coverage here.

  • BRAIN-2: National study in which deceased patients’ families are consenting to provide a priceless donation to science to study COVID-19 effect on the brain
  • Funded by NIH-NIA


    Meghan Kapp (Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology), Manus Donahue (Radiology and Radiological Sciences), and colleagues deploy imaging and diagnostic pathology to determine how SARS-CoV-2 affects the heart


    Mark Denison (Pediatrics), Andrea Pruijssers (Pediatrics) and colleagues characterize the action of remdesivir against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and in vivo


    Isaac Thomsen (Pediatrics) and Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program colleagues have developed a liquid bead-based assay for the quantification of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies following COVID-19 disease. Now using the assay to investigate whether severity of COVID-19 disease correlates with antibody titers, and working with the Mark Denison lab to determine the amount of antibody required to neutralize the virus.

    • Funded by Hays Foundation


    Ivelin Georgiev (Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology) developing antibody-based therapeutics and vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2 infection

    • Funded by Hays Foundation and Fast Grants (Fast Funding for COVID-19 Science program)

    View list of COVID-19 IRB Approved Clinical & Translational Research Projects (login required)


    Buddy Creech (Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program) leads clinical trial recruiting inpatients for treatment with remdesivir 


    Wes Self (Emergency Medicine) partners with Massachusetts General Hospital on clinical trial recruiting inpatients for treatment with hydroxychloroquine


    Ingrid Mayer, Justin Balko and Brian Rini (Medicine) are collaborating with University of Minnesota on a national trial testing HCQ or placebo in high risk (pre-exposure) health care workers. This includes a substudy for collection of blood-based correlatives on ~300 health care workers for seroconversion studies.


    VUMC efforts in Healthcare Worker Exposure Response and Outcomes (HERO) research program led by HERO steering committee co-chair Russell Rothman (Institute for Medicine and Public Health), and VUMC lead PI Sean Collins (Emergency Medicine)


    Allison Wheeler (Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology) and Todd Rice (Medicine) lead multi-stage Passive Immunity Trial of Nashville (PassItOn) study to collect and evaluate SARS-CoV-2 convalescent plasma as a treatment for patients with critical COVID-19 infections


    Todd Rice (Medicine) leads pragmatic clinical trial to test provider-recommended guidance on supine vs. prone positioning of COVID-19 patients on supplemental oxygen 


    Kyle Kimura (Otolaryngology) studies the impact of nasal saline irrigations on viral shedding/viral load and viral transmission, secondary bacterial load, and nasopharyngeal inflammation in patients infected with SARS-CoV-2


    Todd Rice (Medicine) and team collaborating with Blade Therapeutics to evaluate the safety and antiviral activity of novel small molecule BLD-2660 in a Phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in hospitalized subjects with recently diagnosed COVID-19


    Mayur Patel (Surgery) and Wes Ely (Medicine) investigate cognitive rehabilitation intervention for ICU survivors, including COVID-19 survivors, through Returning to Everyday Tasks Utilizing Rehabilitation Networks (RETURN) III study

    Department of Health Policy developing resources to inform COVID-19 response


    Jeremy Warner (Medicine), Brian Rini (Medicine), and Yu Shyr (Biostatistics) launch the COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19):


    Tina Hartert (Medicine) leads nationwide Human Epidemiology and RespOnse to SARS-CoV-2 (HEROS) surveillance study to define the magnitude of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the US population


    Daniel Byrne (Biostatistics) and team developing patient-level predictive models of COVID-19 diagnosis and prognosis to improve health outcomes


    George Nelson (Medicine) and Chris Fiske (Medicine) lead multi-center collaborative in the southeastern US to describe clinical characteristics and outcomes in patients hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2


    Miriam Lense (Otolaryngology) leads study of family well-being and music engagement during COVID-19


    Hendrik Weitkamp (Pediatrics) teams up with Duke Clinical Institute to study pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and safety profile of understudied drugs administered to children under standard of care for treatment of COVID-19 and other conditions


    Robert Lentz (Medicine) and colleagues launch international COVIDBRONCH Initiative, an network of airway specialists formed to quickly share knowledge regarding the performance of airway procedures during the COVID‐19 pandemic


    Wes Ely and the VUMC Critical Illness, Brain Dysfunction, and Survivorship (CIBS) Center collaborators study the cognitive function and physical outcomes of COVID-19 survivors to unravel the relationship between COVID-19 and long-term health

    Learn more about all CIBS studies and their extensive press coverage here.

      • National study to understand long-term cognitive function, PTSD, and depression in COVID-19 survivors
      • Funded by NIH-NIA
    2. ISOLATE-ICU: Impact of Solitude On Patients, Loved Ones And Healthcare Teams’ Experiences in the ICU  
      • National study of the effect of COVID-related isolation policies on patients, families, and healthcare providers in the ICU
    3. COVID-D: Delirium in Critically ill patients with SARS-COV-2 Infection 
        • Brenda Pun serves as American lead investigator on this international, 100-site retrospective study of the risk factors and epidemiology of delirium and coma in COVID-19 patients while admitted to the ICU. Study aims to report the prevalence of delirium at initial management in critical care, to report its morbidity and mortality and to identify prognostic factors.
        • Science Magazine: For survivors of severe COVID-19, beating the virus is just the beginning


      Justin Gregory (Pediatrics) teams up with Allison McCoy (Biomedical Informatics), Chris Slaughter (Biostatistics), Sara Duffus, Jordan Smith, Daniel Moore and Sarah Jaser (Pediatrics), and UCSD colleagues to quantify excess risk for adverse outcomes among patients with type 1 diabetes who have COVID-19


      Brad Malin (Biomedical Informatics) and colleagues developing the first patient data sharing framework specifically keyed to dynamics of pandemics


      Leora Horn (Medicine) steers the global TERAVOLT consortium (Thoracic cancERs international coVid 19 cOLloboraTion) to study long-term outcomes of thoracic cancer patients sickened by COVID-19

      VUMC's many shared resources and facilities are available to support COVID-19 research and other needs

      View the full list of VUMC shared resources & cores here.

      Users of core facilities/shared resources should contact the facility manager in advance to plan for core-specific guidance and restrictions regarding any COVID-19 adjustments to operations

      Shared resources enabled by VICTR and the CRC:

      Clinical Research Center:

      • Staff trained to join float pool, as needed
      • CRC CDRU rooms held open to allow COVID-19 patients, both research and clinical
      • CRC facility is currently utilized for remdesivir (Former inpatients at 15, 29 day post-diagnosis visits)

      COVID-19 Research Committees

      Shared Resource News & Research Projects

      Paul Harris (Biomedical Informatics) supports new technical tools and resources using REDCap, e-Consent for inpatient and outpatient trial recruitment


      Arna Banerjee (Anesthesiology) and the Center for Experiential Learning and Assessment (CELA) deploy unique resources for training and innovation to support advanced COVID-19 patient care


      ACCRE (Vanderbilt’s Advanced Computing Center for Research and Education) powers COVID-19 research through the Open Science Grid


      VISE (Vanderbilt Institute for Surgery & Engineering) faculty spearhead re-design of the intubation box to better capture aerosols