Research Strengths

Research Focus Areas

Our department faculty are engaged in biomedical research that embraces the concept of One Health medicine to better understand diseases that afflict humans and animals, and to develop vaccines and innovative cures.

Infectious Diseases and Immunity

Diagram of the three core research areas

Our department boasts a long tradition of excellence and extramural funding in the fields of virology, bacteriology, parasitology, and immunology. Research in this area examines basic mechanisms of infectious and immune mediated diseases and seeks to develop novel vaccines and therapeutic strategies.

Chronic Inflammatory & Regulatory Disorders

People and animals are living longer due to better hygiene, improved vaccines and life-saving drugs. However, we are living longer but sicker. Over the years, there has been an increased incidence of chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular inflammation, diabetes, re-emerging infectious disorders, and regulatory disorders such as cancer and metabolic diseases. To better position ourselves to combat these diseases, we initiated a new research focus area: “Chronic Inflammatory and Regulatory Disorders.”

Regenerative Medicine

Since it is imperative to find innovative therapies to treat inflammatory and regulatory diseases, an additional core research focus area in our department is “Regenerative Medicine.”

Other Research Areas

Our departmental faculty are also engaged in research involving environmental medical toxicology, medical informatics, and aquatic medicine. Since our department is within a college of veterinary medicine, our faculty are well prepared to understand comparative physiology and pathology. Our access to board-certified specialists in a broad range of medical disciplines bolsters our abilities in translational and One Health medicine.

Collaboration with faculty outside the department and college

Our departmental faculty collaborate with faculty from several of Virginia Tech's colleges (College of Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Engineering, VT School of Medicine, and the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine), VT Institutes (VTCRI, Institute of Critical Technology Applied Sciences or ICTAS, Fralin Life Sciences Institute), and international colleges in India (Tamil Nadu University Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences or TANUVAS) and Chile (Universidad Austral de Chile).

Diagram: DBSP Collaborations with other institutues

Recent Faculty Hires

In recent years, our department strategically recruited and hired new faculty to strengthen our research focus areas, instruction, and veterinary diagnostic service.

  1. Faculty hired to strengthen Research:
    1. Infectious Diseases and Immunity Focus Area:
      1. Clayton Caswell (Bacteriology)
      2. Sarah McDonald* (Virology)
        * See Dr. Cecere and Dr. Lahmers below who also work on infectious diseases
    2. Inflammatory Diseases Focus Area
      1. Xin Luo (Immunology/Inflammatory Diseases)
      2. Irving Allen (Innate Immunity/Inflammatory Diseases)
      3. Zhi Sheng* (Regulatory Diseases/Cancer pathogenesis)
      4. Ken Oestreich* (Immunology/Inflammatory Diseases)
        * VTCRI/Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology faculty
    3. Regenerative Medicine Focus Area:
      1. Michelle Theus (Neurovascular stem cell physiologist)
      2. Jia He (Cardiovascular stem cell physiologist)
  2. Faculty hired to strengthen Diagnostic Medicine (Clinical Service):
    1. Diagnostic Medicine:
      1. Tom Cecere (Anatomic Pathology/ Viral diseases)
      2. Katie Boes (Clinical Pathology)
      3. Kevin Lahmers (Anatomic Pathology/ Bacteriology)
  3. Faculty hired to strengthen Instruction:
    1. Instructors:
      1. Shireen Hafez (Anatomy)