Infectious Diseases

The Infectious Diseases division enjoys a national and international reputation for excellence. Currently led by Mark Denison, M.D. (Interim Division Chief), the division includes investigative leaders in numerous research areas, award-winning teachers, and highly skilled physicians. Kathryn Edwards, M.D. is a members of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science). Division members have been recognized with major awards and honors for their research. Dr. Denison was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Natasha Halasa, M.D., MPH and Buddy Creech, M.D., MPH have been awarded Young Investigator Awards from the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society and James E. Crowe, Jr, M.D. has received the Mentor of the Year Award from the Vanderbilt Postdoctoral Association.

The Institute for Global Health, directed by Timothy R. Sterling M.D. and Edwin Trevathan M.D., MHP; the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center, directed by Dr. Crowe, and the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program, directed by Dr. Creech, are closely affiliated with the division. Directors and several faculty members in these groups have primary or affiliate appointments in the division and collaborate extensively with divisional faculty in research, training, and patient care. The division also is home to a training grant in pediatric infectious diseases (NIH T32, Childhood Infections Research Program, ChIRP) and two NIH Career Development Awards (K08, James Cassat, MD, PhD and K23, Isaac Thomsen, MD, MSCI).

Research has been at the forefront of professional activities in the division since its establishment in 1974. The division enjoys investigative strengths in microbial pathogenesis, human immunology, vaccine science, and public health. The diversity of research interests is impressive in scope, spanning studies of single molecules to diverse populations across the world. Large, multi-investigator programs affiliated with the division include the Southeast Regional Center of Excellence for Emerging Infections and Biodefense, led by Dr. Denison., the NIH-funded Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, led by Dr. Creech, and the Fogarty Global Health Fellowships representing Vanderbilt University, Emory University, Cornell University and Duke University.

Training is a core component of our mission. Research programs receive funding from organizations such as the National Institutes of Health, national and international private industries, and private foundations. Ongoing research efforts include respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza virus, parainfluenza, S. aureus molecular epidemiology and pathogenesis, tuberculosis, vaccine combinations, and HIV vaccines. Mucosal immunity, pathogenesis of RSV disease, HIV assembly, and developmental B-cell immunity are special areas of interest.


  • To foster knowledge through research, teaching, and training of physicians and scientists, as well as the delivery of superb clinical care, with the overarching goal of improving childhood health.
  • To maintain a position of international leadership in research, education, and patient care for infectious diseases.