Centers, Institutes & Programs
Vanderbilt’s commitment to cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research is manifest in its trans-institutional centers that foster collaboration between investigators across the campus, regardless of their departmental affiliation. There are seven centers in the Basic Sciences, providing a vibrant research and training environment and expertise across a wide range of specialization.
Director: Lisa Monteggia The Vanderbilt Brain Institute (VBI) was founded in 1999 as a transinstitutional entity to oversee and facilitate the extensive neuroscience-related endeavors carried out at Vanderbilt University. As such, the primary missions of the VBI are to promote research, education and training in the brain-related disciplines at Vanderbilt, with the stated goal of fostering excellence in each of these arenas.
Director: Danny Winder Addiction is a uniquely frustrating disease since the problems it produces are brought on by the individual’s intake of a substance or performance of a behavior despite understanding at least some of the negative consequences. Intense focus is being placed on neural mechanisms driving drug “craving” sensation and initiation of relapse to intake after extinction. The VCAR is heavily invested in developing an understanding of these mechanisms so that needed novel strategies can be developed to intervene. The VCAR seeks to have a positive impact on the disease of addiction both locally and globally through research, education and outreach.
Director: Jeffrey Conn The Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD) extends traditional academic pursuits in basic science to take the most exciting advances in our understanding of human disease and drug targets to a point where these breakthroughs can directly impact patient care. By incorporating the highest level of drug discovery into academic research, the Center is able to advance the most exciting scientific breakthroughs beyond the lab and toward the development of patentable and marketable drugs suited for clinical studies.
Director: Mark Magnuson The mission of the Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology is to learn more about the biology of stem cells and mechanisms for directing their differentiation to specific cell fates. Embryonic stem cells are able to differentiate into any of the many different cell types found in the body. A great deal remains to be learned about them, and how to convert them into various tissue and cell types that can be used to treat a variety of human diseases.
Director: Walter Chazin The Vanderbilt Center for Structural Biology (CSB) is part of a major transinstitutional initiative started in the year 2000. The initiative was designed to significantly upgrade the capabilities in Structural Biology at Vanderbilt by bringing additional faculty and state-of-the-art instrumentation to campus. The CSB was developed to promote the broad use of structural biology approaches in all life science research and to provide a focal point that bridges medicine and biology to math, chemistry, and physics.
Director: Alissa Weaver The Vanderbilt Program for Extracellular Vesicle Research aims to catalyze innovative and transformative research with broad impact in the rapidly evolving EV field by promoting synergistic and interdisciplinary collaborations, enabling access to key technologies, advancing education, and engaging in global outreach to the international EV community.
Director: Gary Sulikowski The Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology provides a vibrant interdisciplinary environment that fosters new discovery and research innovation at Vanderbilt. It will be critical to the future exploration of new dimensions for successful multi-investigator initiatives and the ongoing integration of chemical biology education and research into disease-focused programs across the Vanderbilt campus. Going forward the VICB remains committed to its mission of harnessing the power of chemistry to improve human health.
Director: Richard Caprioli The mission of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center (MSRC) is to bring state-of-the-art mass spectrometry expertise, methodology, and instrumentation to the research and clinical infrastructure of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Director: Hassane Mchaourab Vanderbilt University’s Program in the Molecular Basis of Genetic Diseases is a trans-institutional initiative to establish experimental and computational platforms to translate genetic discoveries into an understanding of the underlying molecular changes in protein structure, function and dynamics eventually culminating in the identification of therapeutic targets and strategies. The vision of this program is to catalyze connections, collaborations, and cross-talk between clinicians, geneticists and basic scientists, thereby creating teams focused on understanding the relationships between genes and phenotypes.
Director: Vito Quaranta The Center for Quantitative Systems Biology (QSB Center) is a campus-wide center with a mission to transform systems biology into a sustainable program of excellence at Vanderbilt University. Its specific goals are to support the Vanderbilt systems biology community by enhancing research, education, and training in mixed approaches requiring mathematical modeling and experimentation.