Podell Lab

Dr. Podell’s laboratory emphasizes research in mechanisms of disease, pathogenesis, and pathology. These areas of study are applied in the development of animal models to better understand host-pathogen interaction, identification of factors influencing host susceptibility to infection, and for the identification of new host-directed treatment approaches.

Among animal models of tuberculosis, our laboratory focuses primarily on the guinea pig model, which most accurately reflects the pathology of human patients with active tuberculosis. This model is currently being studied to better understand the mechanisms by which diabetes increases the risk of developing active tuberculosis disease, a comorbidity of emerging importance, especially in countries where tuberculosis is endemic. In conjunction with the laboratory of Dr. Randall Basaraba, we have developed the first guinea pig model of type 2 diabetes and diabetes-tuberculosis comorbidity.

research project

Immune Mechanisms of Protection Against TB Center (IMPAc-TB)

The mechanisms of immune function that correlate with protection from M. tuberculosis infection remain elusive. This limits our ability to improve upon vaccination strategies. Using a harmonized cross-species approach, this multi-center award applies innovative computational pathology approaches to better understand vaccine-induced immunity in situ.

research project

The role of vitamin A in TB pathogenesis

Vitamin A deficiency increases the risk of progression to clinically active TB disease by up to 10-fold in human subjects. Known as the “anti-infective” vitamin, vitamin A plays a critical in immunity to infection. Our goal is to understand how a deficiency in vitamin A alters immune function in TB, and whether supplementation represents a treatment approach.

research project

Immune dysfunction in the comorbidity of diabetes and tuberculosis

The incidence of type 2 diabetes is rapidly increasing in nations where TB is endemic. Increasing the risk of TB disease progression by 3-fold, there is a critical need to understand how uncontrolled diabetes impacts TB immunity and whether diabetes management can improve the response to infect.

research project

Lipid antigens in immunity to TB

CD1 is an antigen presentation molecule exclusive to lipid antigens. Specific cell wall lipids of the organism M. tuberculosis serve as CD1-restricted antigens for T cells. The goal of this research is to understand which lipids participate in the immune response within infected tissue and whether CD1 contributes to protection from progressive TB disease.


Metformin enhances protection in guinea pigs chronically infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Frenkel JDH, Ackart DF, Todd AK, DiLisio JE, Hoffman S, Tanner S, Kiran D, Murray M, Chicco A, Obregón-Henao A,Podell BK, Basaraba RJ.
Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 1;10(1):16257. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-73212-y.

Digital Image Analysis of Heterogeneous Tuberculosis Pulmonary Pathology in Non-Clinical Animal Models using Deep Convolutional Neural Networks.

Asay BC, Edwards BB, Andrews J, Ramey ME, Richard JD,Podell BK, Gutiérrez JFM, Frank CB, Magunda F, Robertson GT, Lyons M, Ben-Hur A, Lenaerts AJ.
Sci Rep. 2020 Apr 8;10(1):6047. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-62960-6.

High-resolution mapping of fluoroquinolones in TB rabbit lesions reveals specific distribution in immune cell types.

Blanc L, Daudelin IB, Podell BK, Chen PY, Zimmerman M, Martinot AJ, Savic RM, Prideaux B, Dartois V.
Elife. 2018 Nov 14;7:e41115. doi: 10.7554/eLife.41115.

Impact of immunopathology on the antituberculous activity of pyrazinamide.

Blanc L, Sarathy JP, Alvarez Cabrera N, O’Brien P, Dias-Freedman I, Mina M, Sacchettini J, Savic RM, Gengenbacher M, Podell BK, Prideaux B, Ioerger T, Dick T, Dartois V.
J Exp Med. 2018 Aug 6;215(8):1975-1986. doi: 10.1084/jem.20180518. Epub 2018 Jul 17.

Enhanced Anti-Mycobacterium tuberculosis Immunity over Time with Combined Drug and Immunotherapy Treatment.

Larsen SE, Baldwin SL, Orr MT, Reese VA, Pecor T, Granger B, Dubois Cauwelaert N, Podell BK, Coler RN.
Vaccines (Basel). 2018 May 24;6(2):30. doi: 10.3390/vaccines6020030.

more publications


Brendan Podell, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Lab Principal Investigator [PI]
Assistant Professor

Hadley Gary, M.S.

Research Associate I
Lab Manager

Mac Harris, D.V.M.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Sarah Cooper

Graduate Research Assistant

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