VI4 Spotlight

VI4 Spotlight is where you can find the latest news and happenings at the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation. 

Faculty Spotlight: Heather Pua, MD, PhD

July 26, 2019

Dr. Heather Pua is an Assistant Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology. She earned her B.S. in Biology and her M.D. Ph.D. in Immunology from Duke University, where she identified a role for autophagy in naive T cell survival. She then moved to the West Coast, completing residency in Anatomic Pathology, clinical fellowship in Molecular Genetic Pathology, and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. The Pua Lab studies how miRNAs regulate effector cell programs, with particular attention to their role in pathologic lung inflammation. They also investigate extracellular small RNAs, which are abundant in body fluid and were until recently dark matter in the body. These goals are accomplished using RNA biology’s molecular tool kit in combination with classic cellular immunology in both mice and humans....

Discovery Spotlight: Microbiome links diet to health

Niyati Vachharajani
June 21, 2019

The composition of the human microbiome, a complex ecosystem of microorganisms, plays a crucial role in lifelong health. Little is known, however, about the detailed molecular mechanisms linking health status to the microbiome of the gut, for example...

Spotlight: Artist-in-Residence program

June 7, 2019

We are thrilled to kick off the VI4 / ArtLab Artist-in-Residence program this month We were able to match 8 VI4 labs with 11 students who will be working together over the course of the summer. We look forward to the fruits of these collaborations! ...

Faculty Spotlight: Jim Cassat MD, PhD

April 19, 2019

Dr. Jim Cassat is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology and in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. He is also an Associate Director of VI4. His lab’s research focuses on host-pathogen interactions during invasive bacterial infection, with a special emphasis on understanding how infection and inflammation perturb musculoskeletal cell biology....

Faculty Spotlight: Meena Madhur, MD, PhD

March 8, 2019

Dr. Meena Madhur is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. She is also an Associate Director of VI4. Her research focuses on how T cells and T cell-derived cytokines promote hypertension and renal/vascular dysfunction. Her lab was the first to demonstrate a critical role for the lymphocyte adaptor molecule LNK in hypertension and aortic disease. They also defined mechanisms by which the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 17A (IL-17A) contributes to hypertension and renal sodium retention....

Faculty Spotlight: Maria Hadjifrangiskou, Ph.D.

December 14, 2018

Dr. Hadjifrangiskou is a microbiologist in the Departments of Urologic Surgery and Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology; she is also part of our VI4 Leadership Committee as an Associate Director. Her lab studies the ways in which UPEC can sense changes in its surrounding environment and thereby accordingly alter its behavior as it transits through different host and environmental niches....

Faculty Spotlight: Seth R. Bordenstein, Ph.D.

October 5, 2018

Dr. Bordenstein is a biologist in the Departments of Biological Sciences and Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology and we are fortunate to have him on our Leadership Committee as an Associate Director. He is also the founding director of the Vanderbilt Microbiome Initiative and worldwide science education program Discover the Microbes Within: The Wolbachia Project. His laboratory studies the functional, evolutionary and genetic principles that shape symbiotic interactions between animals, microbes, and viruses as well as the major consequences and applications of these symbioses to humans....