Jeffrey Rathmell, PhD

JCR photo head shot.png            Dr. Rathmell studies mechanisms by which extracellular cues influence lymphocyte death and differentiation in efforts to control inflammatory diseases and leukemia.  Following undergraduate studies on Biology at the University of Northern Iowa, his earned a PhD in Immunology on B cell tolerance and death mechanisms at Stanford University.  In postdoctoral studies at the University of Chicago and University of Pennsylvania, he showed that lymphocyte metabolism was dynamically regulated by growth factors and controls apoptotic mechanisms.  He began at Duke University in 2003 in the departments of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and Immunology, as well as a member of the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute.  At Duke, Dr. Rathmell showed that glucose uptake and metabolism in T cells are highly dynamic and critical in the metabolic reprogramming and survival of both effector T cells and leukemic cells. Dr. Rathmell also showed that suppressive regulatory T cells do not undergo this transition and instead continue to rely on oxidative metabolism.  This fundamental metabolic distinction may now allow selective immune modulation.  Dr. Rathmell continues to examine the regulation of metabolic programs of lymphocytes in inflammatory disease, anti-tumor immunity, and in leukemia.  In addition to laboratory work, Dr. Rathmell is an editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, and was the Director of Graduate Studies in Pharmacology at Duke University.  In 2015 he joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University as Professor of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology to direct the new Vanderbilt Center for Immunobiology and co-lead the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center Host Tumor Interactions Program.



Current Post-Doctoral Fellows

Gabriela Andrejeva, Ph.D.

Katy Beckermann, M.D./Ph.D.


Current Graduate Students       

Marc Johnson             Pharmacology (Duke)

Diana Contreras          Microbiology and Immunology (Vanderbilt)

Ayaka Sugiura             MSTP student (Vanderbilt)


Research Assistant

Melissa Wolf


Past Post-Doctoral Fellows

Nancie MacIver, M.D./Ph.D.              

Assistant Professor (tenure track) Duke University, Pediatric Endocrinology


Liza Makowski, Ph.D.                         

Assistant Professor (tenure track) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nutrition


Ryan Michalek, Ph.D.                         

Senior Study Director, Metabolon Inc., Durham, NC


Pankuri Goraska-Hicks, Ph.D.             

Director of Oncology Studies, Gentris


Alfredo Caro-Maldonado, Ph.D.          

Post-doctoral Researcher, CIC BioGUNE, Spain


Andrew Macintyre, Ph.D.                   

Education and Professional Development Manager at American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB)


Peter Siska, M.D.

Hematology-Oncology fellow at University Hospital Regensburg


Past Graduate Students from the Rathmell Lab

Jessica Wofford           

Pharm              Defended PhD 11/29/2007

Current Clinical Scientist-Drug Development, Aratana Therapeutics, Kansas City, MO


Yuxing Zhao               

Pharm              Defended PhD 12/6/2007

Currently a Police Officer, Melbourne Australia.


Heather Wieman         

MCB                Defended PhD 04/08

Senior Scientist, ZenBio, Research Triangle Park, NC


Kathleen O’Hara         

IMM                Defended M.S. 2009

Associate Veterinarian at United Veterinary Specialty and Emergency, San Francisco


Sarah Jacobs                

MCB              Defended PhD 11/09

Current Post-doc with Blossom Damania at UNC Chapel Hill


Emily F Mason              

MCB/MSTP    Defended PhD 7/10

Currently a Pathology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital


Jonathan Coloff           

Pharm              Defended PhD 9/10

Post-doc with Joan Brugge at Harvard Univeristy


Brian J. Altman            

MCB                Defended PhD 5/11

Post-doc with Chi Dang, University of Pennsylvania


Valerie A. Gerriets       

Pharm             Defended PhD 2/21/14

Post-doc with Nancie MacIver, Duke University


Tingyu Liu                  

Pharm              Defended PhD 10/20/14

Post-doc with Jeffrey Engelman, Harvard University


Rigel Kishton

Pharm              Defended PhD 05/09/2016

Post-doc with Nick Restifo, National Cancer Institute (Surgery Branch)

Sivan Cohen, Ph.D.