Research Professor of Medicine
Allergy, Pulmonary, and Critical Care Medicine

Professional Bio

Jozef Zienkiewicz, PhD, is a Research Professor of Medicine in the Division of Allergy, Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine within the Department of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Dr. Zienkiewicz received his PhD degree in Chemistry from the University of Wroclaw, Poland. He completed his postdoctoral study in Organic Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at Vanderbilt University and a fellowship in Biological Chemistry in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
Dr. Zienkiewicz significantly contributed to the crucial discovery in the field of innate immunity. He and his colleagues identified an interactive site (RDR) located in Box 2 of the MyD88’s TIR domain which serves as an interface in signaling through Toll-like Receptors. Subsequently, mutations in this site were discovered in patients with recurrent pyogenic infections described as inborn errors of innate immunity.
As a member of the research faculty, Dr. Zienkiewicz’s studies are mainly focused on inflammation, particularly, on proinflammatory signaling to the nucleus in inflammation-mediated acute and chronic diseases. He and his colleagues developed new strategy for anti-inflammatory therapies targeting nuclear transport checkpoint comprised of nuclear import adaptor proteins, importins (karyopherins) alpha and beta. These new anti-inflammatory therapeutics termed, nuclear transport checkpoint inhibitors (NTCIs), were successfully tested in various murine models of microbial and metabolic inflammation such as endotoxin shock, acute liver injury, acute lang inflammation, type 1 diabetes, polymicrobial sepsis, familiar hypercholesterolemia, metabolic syndrome-induced hypersensitivity to microbial inflammation, kidney fibrosis, and skin inflammation (atopic dermatitis, a.k.a. eczema).
Dr. Zienkiewicz authored or co-authored twenty original manuscripts in the field of innate immunity and inflammation, and two review articles about sepsis and a groundbreaking review on inflammation (Decoding inflammation: Its causes, genomic responses, and emerging countermeasures, 2019 Scand. J. Immunol.). He is also a co-inventor on ten patents issued in the US and Europe. His work has laid the foundation for phase 1/2 clinical trial for atopic dermatitis in the US (NCT04313400, Amytrx Therapeutics, Inc.).


MS - Chemistry - University of Wroclaw - 1994
PhD - Physical and Theoretical Chemistry - University of Wroclaw - 2000
Fellowship - Department of Chemistry - Vanderbilt University Medical Center - 2003
Fellowship - Microbiology and Immunology - Vanderbilt University Medical Center - 2008