Brian VanderVen, PhD
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.
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.