Podell Lab

Dr. Podell’s laboratory studies the pathogenesis of tuberculosis (TB) to better understand the host immune response to M. tuberculosis infection, known as the granuloma. Our laboratory focuses on identifying immune correlates of protection against M. tuberculosis, the influence of acquired risk factors on the spectrum of TB disease outcomes, and the influence of metabolism on host response to infection. Through this research, we aim to identify targeted responses for vaccine candidates and new approaches to host-directed therapy for improving the prevention and treatment of TB.

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.


A preclinical model of TB meningitis to determine drug penetration and activity at the sites of disease.
Lanni F, Antilus Sainte R, Hansen M Jr, Parigi P, Kaya F, LoMauro K, Siow B, Wilkinson RJ, Wasserman S, Podell BK, Gengenbacher M, Dartois V.Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2023 Dec 14;67(12):e0067123. doi: 10.1128/aac.00671-23. Epub 2023 Nov 15. PMID: 37966227

Drug distribution and efficacy of the DprE1 inhibitor BTZ-043 in the C3HeB/FeJ mouse tuberculosis model.
Ramey ME, Kaya F, Bauman AA, Massoudi LM, Sarathy JP, Zimmerman MD, Scott DWL, Job AM, Miller-Dawson JA, Podell BK, Lyons MA, Dartois V, Lenaerts AJ, Robertson GT.Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2023 Nov 15;67(11):e0059723. doi: 10.1128/aac.00597-23. Epub 2023 Oct 4. PMID: 37791784

Lung microenvironments harbor Mycobacterium tuberculosis phenotypes with distinct treatment responses.
Walter ND, Ernest JP, Dide-Agossou C, Bauman AA, Ramey ME, Rossmassler K, Massoudi LM, Pauly S, Al Mubarak R, Voskuil MI, Kaya F, Sarathy JP, Zimmerman MD, Dartois V, Podell BK, Savic RM, Robertson GT.Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2023 Sep 19;67(9):e0028423. doi: 10.1128/aac.00284-23. Epub 2023 Aug 11.PMID: 37565762

Establishment of CD1b-restricted immunity to lipid antigens in the pulmonary response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection.
Harris MC, Gary HE, Cooper SK, Ackart DF, Dilisio JE, Basaraba RJ, Cheng TY, van Rhijn I, Moody DB, Podell BK. bioRxiv. 2023 May 24:2023.05.23.541963. doi: 10.1101/2023.05.23.541963. Preprint. PMID: 37292852

Gliosis, misfolded protein aggregation, and neuronal loss in a guinea pig model of pulmonary tuberculosis.
Latham AS, Geer CE, Ackart DF, Anderson IK, Vittoria KM, Podell BK, Basaraba RJ, Moreno JA.Front Neurosci. 2023 May 19;17:1157652. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2023.1157652. eCollection 2023. PMID: 37274195

more publications


Brendan Podell, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.A.C.V.P.

Lab Principal Investigator [PI]
Assistant Professor

Faye Lanni, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

Forrest Ackart Jr

Research Associate IV

Tori Mitcham

Research Associate I

Sarah Cooper

Graduate Research Assistant

Purva Sanghvi

Graduate Research Assistant

Alyssa Nelson

DVM Student Researcher

Maya Kohlhepp

Student Researcher

Lea Maristela

Student Researcher

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contact information

Lab: Pathology room 301

Office: Pathology room 308

(970) 491-5746