Photo of Vijay A. Rathinam, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Vijay A. Rathinam, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Immunology
Academic Office Location:
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030-3710
Phone: 860-679-8044
Fax: 860-679-8130

Immunology Graduate Program

Department of Immunology

D.V.M.Madras Veterinary CollegeVeterinary Medicine
M.V.Sc.Madras Veterinary CollegeMicrobiology
Ph.D.Michigan State UniversityMicrobiology and Immunology

Post-Graduate Training
PostdoctoralUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolInnate Immunity

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Highly Cited Researcher in 2021 in the field of ImmunologyClarivate/Web of Science
Featured in the Journal of Experimental Medicine’s “People and Ideas” 2020The Journal of Experimental Medicine
Highly Cited Researcher in 2019Clarivate/Web of Science
The Milstein Young Investigator Award 2018International Cytokine and Interferon Society
Charles Hood Child Health Research Award 2016Charles H. Hood Foundation
Travel Grant to Attend the 15th International Congress of ImmunologyAmerican Association of Immunologists
Herbert Tabor Young Investigator AwardJournal of Biological Chemistry
Trainee Abstract Award to Attend the Immunology 2011 (AAI’s 98th Annual Meeting)American Association of Immunologists
American Association of Immunologists - Life Technologies Trainee Achievement AwardAmerican Association of Immunologists
Career Development Award by the NIAID New England Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, 2010-13NERCE
Dissertation Completion FellowshipGraduate School, Michigan State University
Student Travel Grant to Attend the 108th General MeetingAmerican Society for Microbiology
Best Poster Presentation, MichiganAmerican Society for Microbiology
Food, Nutrition, and Chronic Disease AwardGraduate School, Michigan State University
Fellowship for Ph.D. Training of VeterinariansCollege of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University

The overall goal of our research efforts is to understand the immunologic basis of infectious and inflammatory diseases. The recognition of invading pathogens by the innate immune system is central to the development of anti-microbial immunity. The innate immune system is composed of germ-line encoded receptors that collectively serve to monitor the extracellular and intracellular compartments for signs of infection or tissue injury. A key component of innate immune system is the inflammasome, a large multiprotein complex that governs the activation of the proteolytic enzymes caspase-1 and caspase-11. These caspases in turn regulate maturation of the pro-inflammatory cytokines, Interleukin-1? and IL-18 or a rapid inflammatory form of cell death called pyroptosis.

We have demonstrated an important role for AIM2 inflammasome, which is activated by microbial DNA in the cytosol, in host defense against cytosolic bacterial pathogens and DNA viruses (Rathinam et al., Nature Immunology 2010). Our latest work identified a novel TRIF-type I interferon pathway that licenses NLRP3 inflammasome activation by Gram-negative bacteria via an inflammatory protease caspase-11 (Rathinam et al., Cell 2012). Our current research focus is on the identification of novel innate immune signal transduction pathways that link the recognition of microbial pathogens and endogenous danger signals to the activation of inflammasomes and their role in anti-microbial immunity and inflammatory diseases. Decoding the molecular basis of the complex network of innate immune mechanisms is critical for the discovery of novel antimicrobial therapies and rational design of intervention measures in inflammatory diseases.

Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Spring 2023

Journal Articles