Research Areas



Center for Innovative Technology (CIT)

The CIT is a state-of-the-art small molecule omics shared resource center and collaborative analytical facility specializing in a range of mass spectrometry and confocal screening techniques. The facility can measure the complex array of small molecule metabolites present within a fluid, cell, or tissue and can identify reproducible steady state and/or temporal changes associated with disease state or drug administration for context dependent analysis.

Afterward, metabolite identifications are assigned based on high mass accuracy measurements, isotope distributions, tandem MS fragmentation patterns, and comparisons with spectral libraries and standards. Consequently, the results can reveal unique biochemical fingerprints of cellular processes specific to each sample. This can be exploited as a discovery-based approach for generating novel hypotheses or used for a better understanding of physiological processes mediated by genetic or environmental perturbations. If needed, new workflows can be established for method development, targeted biomolecule measurement acquisition, and/or metabolite validation.

We support investigators in numerous phases of the analytical pipeline and provide a number of routine and/or advanced services depending on the goals of the individual research projects.

Areas of focus include:

  • Mass spectrometry
  • Small molecule omics analyses (discovery and/or validation workflows)
  • Data processing & interpretation (filtering “noise”, data mining/prioritization, pathway interpretation, clarification of biol. mechanism)

Center for Structural Biology (CSB)

CSB leverages a host of various experimental and computational approaches to calculate the structure of various macromolecules. The center is comprised of experts skilled in bio macromolecular structure determination, modeling, and analysis. This research helps identify novel targets for therapies, as well as facilitates the improvement in the design of future drugs.

Areas of focus include:

  • Protein characterization
  • Macromolecular crystallography
  • Biomolecular nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Computational structural biology
  • Cryo electron microscopy

Department of Biomedical Informatics (DBMI)

DBMI is the largest academic department of biomedical informatics in the country. It focuses on acquiring, structuring, analyzing, and providing access to biomedical data, information, and knowledge. Major programs also exist for processing mass spectrometry data, computational structural and chemical biology, and receptor and pathway mapping software.
Areas of focus include:
  • Computer science
  • Information science
  • Cognitive science
  • Social science
  • Clinical and basic biological sciences
  • Engineering

Institute for Space and Defense Electronics (ISDE)

ISDE designs and analyzes radiation-hardened electronics, develops test methods and plans for assuring radiation hardness, and creates solutions to system-specific problems related to radiation effects.
Areas of focus include:
  • Design support, analysis, and simulation
  • Test capabilities
  • Virtual irradiation capabilities
  • Computing capabilities

Laboratory for Systems Integrity and Reliability (LaSIR)

Vanderbilt University School of Engineering's 20,000 square foot facility houses a variety of defense vehicles, which will be used to vaildate research theories and models developed by Vanderbilt engineers. Available to the entire engineering department, the interdisciplinary lab has three primary focuses: security, energy, and manufacturing. 

Mass Spectrometry Research Center (MSRC)

MSRC is a state-of-the-art mass spectrometry facility and home to the National Research Resource for Imaging Mass Spectrometry, which focuses on developing imaging mass spectrometry for a host of diagnostic/prognostic purposes in areas from cancer to infectious disease.
Areas of focus include:
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Proteomics
  • Bioinformatics

Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience and Drug Discovery

VCNDD applies an academic understanding of neuroscience to the drug discovery process, thus pioneering a new model in academic drug discovery. Specialized teams of medicinal chemists, pharmacologists, and pharmacokineticists develop novel compounds with enhanced selectivity, efficacy, and in vivo safety profiles that are ready for clinical testing. VCNDD expertise includes early target validation, discovery efforts, lead
optimization, and preclinical candidates.
Areas of focus include:
  • Parkinson’s
  • Fragile X/autism
  • Schizophrenia
  • Alzheimer’s

Vanderbilt Initiative in Surgery and Engineering (ViSE)

ViSE is an interdisciplinary, trans-institutional center focused on the creation, development, implementation, clinical evaluation and commercialization of methods, devices, algorithms, and systems designed to facilitate interventional processes and their outcome. Areas of focus include: image-guided surgery; intelligent, flexible robotic manipulation; ultrasound guidance for surgical interventions; steerable needles; wireless capsule robotics, and more.

Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (VICTR)

VICTR provides a centralized structure to efficiently manage, enhance, and promote all aspects of clinical and translational research. It is the home of the Vanderbilt Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA), and serves as the coordinating center for the National Institutes of Health’s entire CTSA system. VICTR provides access to clinical investigational infrastructure, collaboration resources, and informatics and biostatistical systems to support translational research.

Vanderbilt Institute for Integrative Biosystems Research and Education (VIIBRE)

VIIBRE invents and deploys techniques used to understand the intracellular metabolic and signaling control mechanisms by which biological systems regulate homeostasis, differentiation, development, growth, repair, and responses to physiological and environmental stimuli.
Areas of focus include:
  • Cellular biosensors
  • Cellular/tissue engineering
  • Biomedical imaging
  • Bioprocess controllers
  • Mathematical models for wound healing and cancer
  • Infectious disease detection

Vanderbilt Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS)

ISIS conducts basic and applied research in the area of systems and information science and engineering. Areas of focus include: model integrated computing, distributed object computing, network embedded systems, cyber-physical systems, and education technology.

Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology (VICB)

VICB membership spans 18 different Vanderbilt departments across the University, encompassing a broad range of research interests in cancer, neurodegenerative disease, infectious disease, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular disease. VICB facilities provide access to state-of-the-art technologies supporting chemical biology and drug discovery.

Areas of focus include:

  • High throughput screening
  • Chemical synthesis
  • Antibody and protein production
  • Small molecule NMR services including metabolomics

Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (VINSE)

VINSE is an institute focused on new science and technology based on nanoscale materials. VINSE provides an environment where physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers can collaboratively solve forefront problems and create new scientific understanding.
Areas of focus include:
  • Nanobio
  • Nanoscale electronics
  • Nanoscale optics  Nanoscience theory
  • Nanotechnology and new materials

Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science (VUIIS)

VUIIS provides state-of-the-art facilities for imaging research via multiple modalities with animals and human subjects. This allows researchers to explore disease pathophysiologies using advanced biomarkers and novel probes, apply in vivo imaging methods for monitoring disease and treatment progression, and employ contrast agents and other image enhancement techniques for improved imaging and image analysis.
Areas of focus include:
  • Cancer
  • Neurological disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease