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Brian VanderVen, PhD

Dr. Brian VanderVen

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine
C5 169 VMC
Ithaca, NY 14853

Office: 607.253.3586

Research Interest

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)

Biography/Professional Experience

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.


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.

Lee W, VanderVen BC, and Russell, DG. 2013. Intracellular Mycobacterium tuberculosis exploits host-derived fatty acids to limit metabolic stress. J Biol Chem, 288(10):6788-6800.

Thomas ST, VanderVen BC, Sherman DR, Russell DG, and Sampson NS. 2011. Pathway Profiling in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: Elucidation of a Cholesterol-derived Catabolite and the Enzymes that Catalyze its Metabolism. J Biol Chem, 286(51):43668-43678.

Mann, FM, VanderVen BC, and Peters RJ. 2011. Magnesium depletion triggers production of an immune modulating diterpenoid in Mycobacterium tuberculosisMolecular Microbiology, 79(6):1594-15601.

Russell DG, VanderVen BC, et al. 2010. Mycobacterium tuberculosis wears what it eats. Cell Host Microbe, 8(1):68-76.

VanderVen BC, Harder JD, Crick DC, and Belisle JT. 2005. Export-mediated assembly of mycobacterial glycoproteins parallels eukaryotic pathways. Science, 309(5736):941-943.

Awards and Honors

Professional/Academic Affiliations

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

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