Division of Infectious Diseases

Research Centers and Labs

Research Centers and Groups

  • Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Network of Integrated Clinical Systems (CNICS): An electronic medical records-based network that integrates clinical data from a diverse population of more than 6,000 people living with HIV in the United States to better define the relationship between patient and treatment factors and long-term clinical outcomes. CNICS captures a broad range of information associated with the rapidly changing course of HIV disease management. It directly reflects outcomes of clinical decisions and management options made daily in the care of people living with HIV. It is distinguished by its ability to provide peer-reviewed-open access to a rapidly evolving clinical research platform that collects comprehensive patient data, including validated outcomes, longitudinal resistance data, and detailed Patient Reported Outcomes with readily available biological specimens. This creates enormous potential for significant contributions to emerging clinical, translational, and social-behavioral research as the HIV epidemic continues to grow and evolve. The Vanderbilt CNICS site co-principal investigators are Drs. April Pettit and Timothy Sterling.
  • Emerging Infections Research Group: Dr. H. Keipp B. Talbot currently co-leads three large CDC-funded surveillance studies. The Emerging Infectious Program, co-led with Dr. John Dunn at the Tennessee Department of Health, is a population-based surveillance network that provides data on the burden of multiple pathogens including bacteria (pneumococcus, Group A strep, Group B strep, MRSA and resistant-gram negative organisms), viruses (COVID-19, Influenza, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and Human papillomavirus) and Fungus (candida). The remaining two studies are co-led by Dr. Carlos Grijalva in the Department of Health Policy. The first study, the Respiratory Viral Transmission Network, is the coordination of a large network of academic sites to perform case-ascertained studies of viral transmission in the household. This study has identified rapid transmission of COVID-19 and more recently Influenza transmission after COVID-19. The last study, the VIEW Study, is a large cohort study of non-healthcare essential workers that is designed to look at transmission of COVID-19 to those that kept society together during the pandemic – teachers, sanitation workers, grocery store workers, plumbers and more. This cohort provides weekly swabs for viral testing, surveys and serum samples.
  • Southeast AIDS Education and Training Center (SE AETC): One of eight regional AETCs across the country, the SE AETC encompasses Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, and offers comprehensive, collaborative educational opportunities designed to increase the size and strength of the HIV clinical workforce, improve outcomes along the HIV Care Continuum, and reduce the number of new HIV infections.
  • Tennessee Center for AIDS Research (CFAR): Housed within the Division of Infectious Diseases, the NIH-funded Tennessee CFAR leverages complementary strengths of its four partner institutions – Vanderbilt, Meharry Medical College, Tennessee Department of Health and Nashville CARES – to have broad and substantial impact on the HIV epidemic locally, nationally and globally. This partnership has fostered synergies, collaborations, and career development in ways that would be unimaginable without CFAR.
  • Vanderbilt Center for Drug Safety and Immunology (CDSI): The goal of the Vanderbilt CDSI is to champion the growth of internationally recognized research, clinical, and educational excellence in immunologically mediated reactions to medications that will lead to prevention, earlier diagnosis, effective targeted treatment options, and improved drug safety across diverse patient populations; to foster community engagement with patients and affected families to promote increased awareness and support. Under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Phillips, CDSI faculty and staff study severe immune mediated reactions to medication that threaten patients’ lives and the safety of future medication use. Progress is being made in understanding the mechanisms by which these reactions occur as well as the discovery of new genetic and molecular markers that will pave a pathway for prediction, prevention, early diagnosis, and more targeted treatments.
  • Vanderbilt Oates Institute for Experimental Therapeutics
  • Vanderbilt Tuberculosis Center (VTC): Established in 2012 as a joint effort between the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health, the VTC is a focal point for collaborative efforts and tuberculosis research with an emphasis on epidemiology, clinical trials and translational research. The center provides technical assistance to the Vanderbilt-linked global and local service programs engaged in TB control, including the Metro Nashville Public Health Department, the Tennessee Department of Health, and the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)/Global Health Initiatives in Africa, Asia, and the Americas. The center also works to cultivate and mentor junior faculty members, fellows, and students from Vanderbilt University, Meharry Medical College, collaborating local and regional health departments, and international institutions.
  • Transplant and Immunocompromised Host Infectious Diseases Research Group: Faculty within the Transplant Infectious Diseases Program at VUMC have wide-range and multi-faceted research interests aimed at providing new insights into the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infections in immune compromised hosts. Our faculty participate in NIH- and industry-sponsored studies, as well as collaborate with colleagues in the Microbiology and Molecular Infectious Diseases Laboratories. Specific endeavors include characterization of mycotic infections and development of in vitro diagnostics to aid in their detection, involvement in clinical trials aimed at elucidating immune response to influenza vaccination in solid organ transplant recipients, and investigation of bacterial antimicrobial resistance using whole-genome sequencing to uncover hidden clusters and epidemiologically important resistance genes in patients with stem cell transplants and hematologic malignancies.

Research Labs

  • Cover Lab: Research projects in the Cover laboratory are focused on bacterial infections, bacteria-host interactions, and the role of microbes in development of cancer.
  • Das Lab: There are three main aspects to research in the Das lab: viral genomics, virus-host microbe interactions, and viral evolution modeling
  • Gaddy Lab: The Gaddy Lab is a microbiological laboratory that focuses on the interaction of bacterial pathogens with host cells.
  • Serezani Lab: The Serezani lab aims to develop therapeutic strategies to control systemic (sepsis) and localized infections (skin and lung) in healthy individuals, individuals with immune deficiencies, and those suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes
  • Vanderbilt Immunometabolism Research Group (VIMRG): Our group is interested in understanding HIV-specific factors that contribute to elevated risk of cardiometabolic diseases in persons with HIV (PWH)

Other Division-affiliated Programs

Antiretroviral Therapy Cohort Collaboration (ART-CC): The ART-CC, which includes 21 cohort studies from Europe and North America, is a collaborative cohort established to evaluate the prognosis of people with HIV treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy (ART). The first paper resulting from the collaboration was published in The Lancet on July 13, 2002. The retrospective observational dataset now includes information on over 200,000 patients and is used to assess questions related to HIV treatment, outcomes and co-morbidities. Current research interests include the impact of alcohol and substance use on HIV disease prognosis, cause-specific mortality following the start of ART, life expectancy and quality of life following the start of ART, and rates and causes of hospitalizations following the start of ART. Vanderbilt’s Comprehensive Care Clinic is a contributing cohort, and Dr. Timothy Sterling serves as site PI.

Caribbean, Central, and South America Network for HIV Epidemiology (CCASAnet): CCASAnet is the Latin American regional is the representative of the International epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA). A multidisciplinary, collaborative cohort, CCASAnet, combines operational and methodologic expertise from Vanderbilt with adult and pediatric clinical and research expertise from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico and Peru. CCASAnet provides a repository of retrospective and prospective HIV care and outcomes data, and has leveraged its resources to answer questions about the characteristics of the Latin American and global HIV epidemic and to improve the quality and consistency of epidemiologic research activities at all member sites. Dr. Jessica Castilho serves as study PI along with Dr. Stephany Duda (Department of Biomedical Informatics) and Dr. Pedro Cahn (Director of Fundación Huésped, in Buenos Aires, Argentina).

International Epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA): IeDEA collects observational data representing over 2.2 million people living with and at risk for HIV from clinical centers and research groups in 44 countries. IeDEA cohorts are organized into seven geographic regions and coordinated by centers for the Asia-Pacific; the Caribbean, Central and South America region (CCASAnet); Central Africa; East Africa; Southern Africa; West Africa; and North America (NA-ACCORD). IeDEA conducts regional and global research on HIV and related care and outcomes. Our investigators use the IeDEA platform to share their multidisciplinary expertise and answer high-priority research questions, examining the global epidemiology of HIV and providing evidence for policymakers and public health officials. These include evaluating the HIV care cascade, co-infections like tuberculosis and hepatitis, comorbid conditions such as AIDS-defining and non-AIDS-defining cancers, and non-communicable diseases, including mental health and substance use disorders. Drs. Catherine McGowan and Stephany Duda (Department of Biomedical Informatics) represent CCASAnet on the IeDEA Executive Committee. Drs. Jessica Castilho, Duda, C. William Wester and Peter Rebeiro, co-chair the Cancer, Data Harmonization, Site Assessment, and Strategic Data working groups, respectively.

The North American AIDS Cohort Collaboration on Research and Design (NA-ACCORD): NA-ACCORD began in 2006 as the North American regional representative of the International epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA). Comprised of over 25 collaborating cohorts, NA-ACCORD is widely representative of the population engaged in HIV care in the United States and Canada. Over 200 sites in all 50 US states and the four most populous Canadian provinces contribute data on over 190,000 people living with HIV, with over one million person-years of follow-up. NA-ACCORD has established a multi-disciplinary group of collaborators that span the basic sciences, clinical research, epidemiology, biomedical informatics and biostatistics. Collectively, the cohort’s resources have been used to describe the epidemiology of HIV and HIV care in North America and to investigate key contemporary questions related to HIV clinical care and practice in the modern treatment era. Vanderbilt’s Comprehensive Care Clinic is a participating clinical cohort, with Dr. Timothy Sterling serving as site PI, NA-ACCORD Steering Committee member, and TB Working Group chair. Drs. Bryan Shepherd (Department of Biostatistics) and Dr. Peter Rebeiro also co-chair the Methods and Quality of Care working groups, respectively.

Regional Prospective Observational Research in Tuberculosis (RePORT-Brazil): Established in 2013, the RePORT-Brazil network was designed to examine clinical outcomes of TB treatment in Brazil and the occurrence of M. tuberculosis infection and TB disease among close contacts of those TB source cases. Other objectives include the creation and maintenance of a biorepository of clinical specimens and a database of well-characterized clinical endpoints for the TB cases and their close contacts; the development of a scientific agenda that will utilize this specimen and data repository to improve our understanding of TB pathogenesis; and the development of TB laboratory and clinical research infrastructure in Brazil. RePORT-Brazil’s cohort is representative of the entire Brazilian population affected by TB, and provides a critical resource for the study of TB care and outcomes in the highest-burden setting in the Western Hemisphere. Dr. Timothy Sterling serves as study PI along with Dr. Bruno de Bezerril Andrade of the Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health (VIGH): VIGH facilitates the expansion and coordination of global health research, technical assistance, and training initiatives at VUMC, and reflects the institution’s commitment to improving health services and outcomes in resource-limited settings. Its “center-without-walls” philosophy nurtures collaborative trans-institutional partnerships among and within departments and schools on campus, including both VUMC and Vanderbilt University, and with partner institutions around the globe. VIGH strives to implement sustainable, scalable health and development programs in resource-constrained settings through innovative multidisciplinary approaches rooted in strong academic research and training. Global partnerships are at the heart of this mission. Many of our ID colleagues are core faculty in VIGH.

Vanderbilt Institutes for Infection, Immunization and Inflammation (VI4): VI4 brings together leading researchers in a concerted effort to understand key processes underlying disease. The ultimate goal is to translate these discoveries into new therapies and discover and engineer strategies to harness the benefits of the human microbiome to improve human health. Some of the many research areas our faculty members are dedicated to exploring include: Allergy, Asthma, Autoimmunity, Cellular Immunology, Chemical Biology of Infectious Disease, Computational Immunology, Diabetes, Immunometabolism, Infectious Disease Diagnostics, Inflammation, Microbe-Host Interaction, Microbial Evolution, Microbiology, Systems Biology, Tumor Immunology, Virus-Host Interaction, and Wound Healing.  Several ID faculty are affiliated with VI4 and it is a rich collaborative environment for research focused on infectious pathogens and host interactions.