Title and Department
Professor of Medicine
Department of Medicine
Rheumatology and Immunology
Professional bio

After receiving his undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Dr. Mark Boothby completed a pre-doctoral education in the NIGMS-funded Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University in St. Louis, receiving his MD and PhD degrees in 1983. While at Washington University, he was mentored by Professor Irving Boime. Dr. Boothby’s doctoral research was focused on the molecular cloning and dissection of mechanisms regulating the differential expression of placental lactogen and the subunits of choriogonadotopin across gestation, research that planted seeds leading eventually to the Boime lab’s generation of the EMA-approved clinical agent Elonva.

After Internal Medicine Internship and Residency in the University of Colorado Affiliated Hospitals program (Denver, CO) and research – clinical training in the Rheumatology subspecialty at BWH and the Harvard School of Public Health (Boston, MA), . Dr. Boothby’s post-doctoral research focused on pioneering insights into DNA sequences regulating expression of immune response genes, and cloning of DNA-binding proteins (later shown indeed to be transcription factors). Based on these accomplishments, Dr. Boothby joined the Department of (Microbiology and Immunology) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 1992.

During his tenure at Vanderbilt of more than three decades, Dr. Boothby has mentored over twenty official pre- and post-doctoral trainees as well as multiple Research Assistants. From these pools,  over a dozen ‘progeny’ have gone on to become leading investigators in diverse fields that include molecular immunology, host-defense against microbes, medical epidemiology, and neurobiology. The central themes of Dr. Boothby’s laboratory have been to:

  1. Elucidate components of the information relay from cell surface receptors to components of signal transduction, and regulators of gene transcription
  2. Develop insights into how these processes affect inflammation, lymphocyte differentiation, pathological processes and normal adaptive immunity.

As a rheumatologist, Dr. Boothby observed that progress in rheumatoid arthritis treatments had catapulted past the slow or minimal progress with SLE. It has therefore been gratifying that the Boothby Lab has generated an experimental avenue that could identify the metabolic vulnerability of cells with autoreactive BCRs making it possible to short-circuit the perpetuation of pathological auto-antibodies.

Mark Boothby, MD, PhD is currently a Professor of Medicine and of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Through the years, Dr. Boothby’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and many other funding agencies. In one ongoing project, Dr. Boothby looks forward to collaborating with Rheumatology Division colleagues Professors Rachel Bonami and Amy Major to work towards identification of a therapeutic window in which the autoimmune repertoire may be purged while not eliminating vaccine-induced plasma cells.