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Julián F. Hillyer, Ph.D.

Centennial Professor of Biological Sciences
Director of Graduate Studies, Program in Biological Sciences
Director, College of Arts and Science Program in Career Development

My longstanding research program focuses on understanding the physiological and immunological processes that govern a mosquito’s ability to harbor and combat an infection. I have broad expertise in entomology and parasitology, and have spent over two decades investigating various aspects of mosquito immunology, circulatory physiology and life history, primarily concentrating on the mechanical and molecular bases of hemolymph (insect blood) propulsion and the immunological interactions between mosquitoes and pathogens in the hemocoel (body cavity). My team has investigated the effects of aging, temperature and experience on the mosquito immune system, and the effects of infection on life history traits.  While carrying out this research, my laboratory develops innovative and novel methods for the study of both cellular immunology and hemolymph circulation, and applies these methods at the molecular, cellular, tissue, and organismal levels.

As a mentor and educator, I have successfully guided the research and professional development of undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-doctoral scholars. I am the Director of Graduate Studies in Biological Sciences, and the Director of the College of Arts & Science’s Program in Career Development (PCD). The PCD promotes the professional development of tenure-track faculty by providing an array of programming and mentoring opportunities to support them in establishing a flourishing career at Vanderbilt and beyond. As a classroom educator, I teach courses such as Introduction to Biological Sciences and Anatomy & Physiology.