Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Brian VanderVen

Picture of Dr. Brian RuddAssistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
C5 169 Veterinary Medical Center
Phone: 607-253-3586

PhD (Colorado State University)

Dr. VanderVen, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, received his Bachelor of Science from Montana State University and his PhD from Colorado State University.  While a postdoctoral fellow he has began his research on understanding mycobacterial physiology during intracellular infection.

Research Interests

M. tuberculosis causes human tuberculosis and is responsible for approximately one-million deaths each year. Partly why M. tuberculosis is such a successful pathogen is that this bacterium can survive inside macrophages, an immune cell that kills most other bacteria. Additionally, M. tuberculosis infections typically persist in human beings for decades in the face of a functional immune response.

The laboratory is focused on understanding how M. tuberculosis survives and maintains infections in mammals. The goals of my research program are to: (1) understand how M. tuberculosis acquires and utilizes nutrients during acute and chronic phases of disease and, (2) apply this understanding to discover new anti-TB drugs. We use chemical-genetics, genomics, and biochemical approaches to discover and characterize the novel M. tuberculosis proteins and pathways required during infection. These findings are also used in conjunction with high-throughput drug discovery approaches to identify small molecules that inhibit these same proteins or pathways. The overarching goals of the lab are to better understand the basic biology of tuberculosis infections and discover new drugs for treatment.

Graduate Fields

Dr. VanderVen is a member of the following Graduate Fields:

Lab Members

        Thuy La, Lab Technician
        Christine R. Montague, Research Associate
        Kaley Wilburn, Graduate Student
        Rachael Fieweger, Graduate Student

        VanderVen Lab
Home Page


Selected References

Johnson RM, Bai G, DeMott CM, Banavali NK, Montague CR, Moon C, Shekhtman A, VanderVen BC*, McDonough KA. Chemical activation of adenylyl cyclase Rv1625c inhibits growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis on cholesterol and modulates intramacrophage signaling. (Accepted, Molecular Microbiology). *co-corresponding author 

Lee W, VanderVen BC, Walker S, Russell DG. 2017 Novel protein acetyltransferase, Rv2170, modulates carbon and energy metabolism in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Science Reports. Dec 7(1)72

VanderVen BC, Huang L, Rohde K, and Russell DG. 2016. The minimal unit of infection: Mtb in the macrophage. Microbiol Spectr. Dec 4(6)

Liu Y, Tan S, Huang L, Abramovitch RB, Rohde K, Zimmerman Z, Chen C, Dartois V, VanderVen BC, and Russell DG. 2016 Immune activation of the host cell induces drug tolerance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis both in vitro and in vivo. J Experimental Medicine. May 2;213(5):809-25

Lovewell RR, Sassetti CM, VanderVen BC. 2016. Chewing the fat: lipid metabolism and homeostasis during M. tuberculosis infection. Curr Opin Microbiol. Feb 29:30-6

VanderVen BC, Fahey RJ, Lee W, Liu Y, Abramovitch RB, Memmott C, Crowe AM, Eltis LD, Perola E, Deininger DD, et al.: Novel inhibitors of cholesterol degradation in Mycobacterium tuberculosis reveal how the bacterium's metabolism is constrained by the intracellular environment. PLoS Pathog 2015, 11:e1004679.