Dr. Drake is Professor with tenure at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Her career focus has been to investigate the role of infectious agents in fibrotic lung disease, with an emphasis on adaptive immune dysfunction during disease progression and its effects on clinical outcome. She was the first to identify novel mycobacterial DNA sequences within sarcoidosis granulomas, as well as the first to report that secreted mycobacterial virulence factors are the targets of the adaptive immune response, a question that had eluded the scientific community for decades. By conducting molecular analysis of sarcoidosis granulomas to assess for genetic resistance to common antimycobacterial agents, she designed a novel antimycobacterial regimen for sarcoidosis patients. This regimen was utilized in two Phase I Clinical trials, one with cutaneous sarcoidosis and the other with chronic pulmonary sarcoidosis. The observed therapeutic benefit in both trials was unprecedented. She is currently serving, along with Dr. Gordon Bernard, as Principle Investigator of a Phase II, multicenter investigation of this same regimen on chronic pulmonary sarcoidosis. In addition to conducting translational and clinical investigations, she has mentored more than 20 trainees, who have also obtained American Thoracic Society and NIH Career Development Awards. She is also serving as co-Director of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Fund to Retain Clinical Scientists will allows Vanderbilt to tangibly assistant clinical scientists in their career development. She remains committed to investigating the microbial and immunologic mechanisms driving pulmonary disease progression, with the goal of identifying therapeutic aids.
Wonder Puryear Drake, MD