Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology

Division of
Molecular Pathogenesis


Eric P. Skaar, Ph.D.

Director of Host-Pathogen Interactions

- Contact Information -

Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology - 5th Fl
1161 21st Ave South,  MCN A-5301
Nashville, TN 37232-2363

Office: MCN A-5102A
Phone: 615-343-0002
Email: eric.skaar@vanderbilt.edu

The division of Host-Pathogen Interactions encompasses research in disease causing pathogens and the immune system responsible for defending the host against these pathogens.  Research in the Division is focused on molecular and cellular immunology, inflammation, and microbial pathogenesis.

The Division was born out of the merger between the Department of Pathology and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Following this evolution, research in the area of microbiology and immunology continues to expand through the recruitment of new faculty, creation of the Program in Microbial Pathogenesis and the Program in Immunology, and the development of a disease-oriented research focus.

Research in immunology focuses on the mechanisms of lymphocyte signal transduction, differentiation of lymphocyte subsets, antigen presentation, the generation of antigen receptor diversity, and understanding systemic inflammatory responses (e.g., sepsis) and autoimmune diseases (e.g. type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, lupus, and multiple sclerosis).

Research in microbial pathogenesis includes programs in HIV biology, mechanisms of retroviral gene expression, the biology of RNA viruses, and the identification of virulence factors produced by disease causing bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus anthracis, Acinetobacter baumannii, Helicobacter pylori, and the pathogenic Clostridia. These microbial factors are analyzed in the context of cellular microbiology and structural biology. Finally, several groups within the division are developing new biotechnology platforms that are applicable to studies of signal transduction, vaccine design, functional genomics and proteomics, chemical biology, and imaging science.

Through exciting new discoveries and innovative training of future physicians and scientists, the formation of the Division of Host-Pathogen Interactions has established a world-class center of excellence in microbiology and immunology.