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Faculty Videos

Visit the Basic Sciences YouTube Playlist to see overviews and full interviews of our faculty profiles!

In the following videos, our faculty members discuss their research, the importance basic science, funding, and offer advice for graduate students and postdocs.

Manny Ascano​


Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, Assistant Professor, Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
The Ascano laboratory is broadly interested in two areas of cellular stress: (A) The roles and coordination of RNA-binding proteins in regulating gene expression during cellular stress, and (B) The cytosolic DNA-sensing pathway involving the sensor cGAS, its second messenger product cGAMP, and the endoplasmic reticulum-bound receptor STING.
Ascano Lab

Erin Calipari


Assistant Professor, Principle Investigator, Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research
The Calipari laboratory research seeks to characterize and modulate the precise circuits in the brain that underlie both adaptive and maladaptive processes in reward, motivation, and associative learning, to develop improved treatments for complex and devastating psychiatric disorders.
Calipari Lab

Jeff Conn

Professor of Pharmacology, Lee E. Limbird Chair in Pharmacology
The primary focus of research in our laboratory is to develop a detailed understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in regulating chemical and electrical signaling in the central nervous system. We are especially interested in understanding how signaling is regulated in identified neuronal circuits that are important for these human neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Conn Lab

Vivian Gama


Assistant Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology
The Gama Lab focuses on three main lines of research: (1) Role of apoptosis proteins as modulators of stem cell self-renewal, pluripotency and differentiation, (2) Function of apoptosis proteins in maintaining the cancer stem cell pool, (3) Mechanisms by which mitochondrial network dynamics regulate normal and cancer stem cell fate.
Gama Lab

Alyssa Hasty


Professor, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Associate Dean for Faculty Development of the Basic Sciences
We study how obesity impacts health. The long-term goal of our laboratory is to determine mechanisms by which obesity increases risk for and pathophysiological consequences of these devastating diseases. Our current research focus is threefold: to determine mechanisms by which macrophages accumulate in adipose tissue, to determine the role of resident macrophages in normal adipose tissue function, and to determine how other immune cells like eosinophils also contribute to adipose tissue function.
Hasty Lab

Jonathan Irish

Assistant Professor of Cell & Developmental Biology, Assistant Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology
A central goal of our research at Vanderbilt is to understand how changes at the single cell level alter signaling in healthy cells and lead to therapy resistant populations in human diseases.  In the Irish Lab, we use new tools and computational approaches to do basic and translational research in human cancer and immunology.
Irish Lab

Tina Iverson

Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Associate Professor of Biochemistry
Molecular recognition is an important part of signaling, and occurs when membrane-spanning receptors physically interact with a stimulus on the outside of the cell and activate downstream effectors.  We are performing structural analysis of several model systems to identify how protein interactions contribute to molecular recognition.
Iverson Lab

Jens Meiler

Professor of Chemistry, Associate Professor of Pharmacology, Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics
Research in our laboratory seeks to fuse computational and experimental efforts to investigate proteins, the fundamental molecules of biology, and their interactions with small molecule substrates, therapeutics, or probes. We develop computational methods with three major ambitions in mind. A) To enable protein structure elucidation of membrane proteins the primary target of most therapeutics and large macromolecular complexes such as viruses; B) Design proteins with novel structure and/or function to explore novel approaches to protein therapeutics and deepen our understanding of protein folding pathways. C) Understand the relation between chemical structure and biological activity quantitatively in order to design more efficient and more specific drugs.
Meiler Lab

Bryan Millis​


Senior Research Specialist, Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
The Vanderbilt University Nikon Center of Excellence (NCoE) is managed and maintained by the CISR. The NCoE enables researchers across the scientific spectrum, including faculty, post-docs, as well as graduate and undergraduate student researchers access to Nikon’s most advanced microscopy and imaging platforms. The NCoE will further support Vanderbilt’s Basic Sciences community by offering training courses, including basic and advanced light microscopy techniques, quantitative image analysis, and practical hands-on training.
Nikon Center of Excellence

Paige Vinson


Director, High-Throughput Screening Core and Vanderbilt Antibody and Protein Resource Core
The goal of the High-Throughput Screening (HTS) facility is to provide screening-based services to aide research investigators in the identification and investigation of new compounds for basic research and pharmacological discovery. We have developed a highly dynamic environment that utilizes industry standard practices and novel technologies for biological screening.
HTS Core     VAPR Core

Danny Winder


Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics; Professor of Psychiatry
Director, Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research

Research by VCAR investigators spans a broad spectrum to gain a better understanding of the detailed molecular events that happen inside the brain to drive addictive behavior, and seek to develop treatment strategies based on this empirical knowledge.
Vanderbilt Center for Addiction Research

Marija Zanic

Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Our lab is fascinated by the dynamic behavior of the microtubule cytoskeleton, and we use a multidisciplinary approach to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of microtubule regulation. We are investigating the microtubule dynamic instability by combining biochemical in vitro reconstitution, single molecule studies, quantitative image analysis and theoretical modeling. We are especially interested in emergent behaviors that arise through collective effects of groups of proteins that regulate microtubule dynamics.
Zanic Lab