VI4 Programs

The Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation (VI4) is deeply committed to the development of our next generation of scientists. We we strive to provide a collaborative, interactive research environment where transformative science is achieved. 

  • Introduction   

    The Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation (VI4) Germs, Defenses, & Diseases (GDD) Research Program provides two research training opportunities:   

    1. One opportunity is part-time that that runs through the school year. This is a great opportunity for sophomores, juniors and seniors attending Vanderbilt or a college/university in the Nashville area.   
    2. The other opportunity is full-time and runs during the summer months. This opportunity is available to all rising sophomores, juniors and seniors.    


    The objectives of the GDD Undergraduate Research Program are three-fold:

    • To provide substantive research experience to undergraduate students in areas of infection, immunology and inflammatory diseases, and pathophysiology
    • To provide opportunities to learn critical thinking through review of the literature and presentations of research papers
    • To prepare students for careers is biomedical science research and education 


    • Sophomores, juniors and seniors or rising sophomores, juniors and seniors
    • GPA 3.0 or higher
    • Must have taken college biology, chemistry and/or biochemistry
    • Letter of recommendation from a biology or chemistry course director/instructor
    • US citizens, permanent residents and international students will be considered

    Additional Information  

    Recruitment to the research opportunity during the school year is through faculty nominations. Nominations are solicited from the VI4 research faculty by the program coordinator in September/October of each year. Students are welcome to contact Sebastian Joyce, directly by email, regarding nominations and participation in the program. In some cases, financial support may be available through a work study program. Most students use this opportunity to earn research credits as part of their undergraduate degree program. Financial support is not provided for research leading to course credits. To learn more about this research opportunity, contact Sebastian Joyce.

    Recruitment to the summer research opportunity is through applications to the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy (VSSA). VI4 will support one or two Research Scholarships for the summer program, each up to $5,000.00 for the entire period to cover living expenses. This summer program starts at the beginning of June and runs for the next 9—10 consecutive weeks. The summer program has two components: laboratory research and seminars. The seminar series is organized by the VSSA. Questions regarding eligibility and applications can be directed to Questions regarding VI4 research Scholarship can be directed to the program coordinator.

    Online application deadline for the summer program is February 1st of each year; click here to start the application through the VSSA.

    Check out our 2018 Progress Report

    Questions? Contact the VI4 Germs, Defenses, & Diseases Program Coordinator, Dr. Sebastian Joyce.

  • The Chemical Biology of Infectious Disease (CBID)Training Program is meant to attract and prepare young researchers to address the growing threats associated with infectious disease. The program is fundamentally grounded in research and trainees are educated in key foundational concepts and tools. CBID trainees will have a summer internship experience at a major pharmaceutical company that is actively engaged in antimicrobial drug discovery.

  • Funding Opportunity Description

    Two of the primary goals of the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, & Inflammation (VI4) are:

    1. To organize the community of scientists at Vanderbilt and Meharry that study various aspects of infection biology, immunology and inflammatory diseases.
    2. To provide increased opportunities for interactions among VI4 Faculty.

    Mini-­sabbatical fellowships are meant to achieve both of these goals by fostering collaborative training opportunities for students and postdoctoral fellows within the laboratories of Institute Faculty. These fellowships seek to provide funds that will allow trainees to expand their technical expertise and enhance their research projects through short-­term training experiences in the laboratory of another VI4 Faculty. The hope is that these fellowships will expand the technical capabilities of the community while facilitating collaborative research among VI4 Faculty.

    Two types of fellowships are expected:

    1. INTERNAL FELLOWSHIPS to permit trainees to work in the laboratory of another VI4 Faculty.
    2. EXTERNAL FELLOWSHIPS to permit trainees to work in a laboratory outside of Vanderbilt, and are meant to support the acquisition and subsequently to disseminate new expertise, scientific tools or approaches within Vanderbilt.

    Number of Fellowships, Funds, & Budget

    1. Each INTERNAL FELLOWSHIP in 2018 will be for $4,000.00. THREE-­to-­FIVE awards are anticipated in 2018.
    2. No budget is required fo r INTERNAL FELLOWSHIPS as the expectation is that the allocated funds will be used to support the proposed training experience.
    3. The budget for EXTERNAL FELLOWSHIPS are flexible based on need. Requests for EXTERNAL FELLOWSHIPS should include a reasonable itemized budget and a justification.


    All participating faculty must be members of the VI4.

    Application Materials

    1. One paragraph description of the proposed training opportunity and how it will enhance the trainee’s current research project (think big!). The introduction of new technological and experimental approaches to the research project as a consequence of the mini-­sabbatica must be clearly stated.
    2. Those seeking support for EXTERNAL FELLOWSHIPS should provide an additional paragraph describing the necessity to leave Vanderbilt to acquire the new technology and a plan to disseminate it to other interested VI4 laboratory or laboratories.
    3. Short letter from each of the two participating faculty members confirming willingness to support the proposed training.

    Send Inquiries and Submissions to Sebastian Joyce in a single collated PDF by email:

  • Throughout history, purely empirical approaches have proven to be successful in finding cures and prevention mechanisms against a number of diseases. Yet, for many of the pathogens and diseases of today, a trial-and-error approach may not be sufficient, and more “rational” strategies may be required. There are two major requirements for such strategies to work: (i) a deep understanding of the biological processes underlying the interactions between host organisms and disease agents, and (ii) efficient and accurate ways to manipulate these processes. To assist with both these tasks, computation, through its innate ability to analyze data of incredible sizes and dimensions and to uncover patterns within these data not fathomable to the human eye, has been playing an increasingly important role in many areas of biology and medicine.

    A major goal of the Program in Computational Microbiology and Immunology is to support research, educational, and strategic efforts that aim to employ the power of computation toward the development and application of innovative approaches for treatment and prevention of disease and for enhancement of human health.

  • To explore and advocate for art as a science communication tool, ArtLab was established as a cross-disciplinary program in 2017. The overarching goal is to support visual science communication approaches and outreach. ArtLab is supported by multiple internal institutional funding sources from Vanderbilt, including The Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy; The Wond'ry, Vanderbilt Center for Innovation, The Communication of Science and Technology program, and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Basic Sciences. ArtLab has become a hub for cross-disciplinarily activity across the Vanderbilt campus.

    In 2019, we partnered with ArtLab to initiate the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation (VI4)-ArtLab Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program, connecting undergraduate artists with research laboratories to create artwork that visually represents the latest research carried out by esteemed laboratories at Vanderbilt.

    Click here to learn more about the program and explore the artwork!

  • The VI4 Science Communication Internship is in partnership with the BRET Career Development ASPIRE Program.

    This internship provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary graduate students to contribute to VI4’s mission of training the next generation of scientists and physicians and making fundamental discoveries in the areas of infection biology, immunology, and inflammation with the goal of increasing knowledge and improving human health.

    Interns work with the VI4 Social Media Coordinator each semester to execute creative communication strategies through both traditional and social media platforms. They interpret data and design infographics and animations. In addition, they work together on a group project, ImmuKnow+, which aims to incorporate different elements of science communication.

    To learn more about this internship, click here.

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