Select Core Areas of Research

Many of Vanderbilt’s centers and institutes focus on translating methods, techniques, and devices to practical applications during the course of research. CTTC works closely with these offices to ensure that  commercialization is achieved via licensing to commercial partners, or through the creation of new ventures if appropriate.

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

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)

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 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 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 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 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

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