As Vice Provost for Research (VPR), Dr. Caroline Attardo Genco, works with faculty and university leadership to develop and help implement strategic research priorities at Tufts, advocates for the research and scholarship mission of all disciplines across all schools and campuses, facilitates strategies to enhance extramurally supported research across the schools from all sources, accelerates interdisciplinary initiatives, and promotes university research accomplishments. She oversees pre-award development and administration of grants and contracts; protection, management, and licensing of the University’s intellectual property; the use of human subjects and laboratory animals in research; biosafety; environmental health and safety; and the implementation of the University’s policies on conflict of interest in research and scientific integrity in research and scholarship. The Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) works with other administrative offices at Tufts to create an environment at the University that encourages and facilitates both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research. The OVPR strives to provide high quality services to the faculty and to increase the funding available to support research while protecting the University’s interests and assuring that Tufts is in compliance with all relevant laws and regulations.
Dr. Genco, holds the inaugural Arthur E. Spiller M.D. Endowed Professor in Genetics and was recruited to Tufts University School of Medicine (TUSM) in July 2015 as the Chair of the Department of Immunology. During her tenure as Chair she worked to return the Department to fiscal sustainability and to re-energize the research enterprise, – which included strategic restructuring of the Department to build on the wide-ranging strengths of department faculty and to focus the research portfolio toward immune-mediated diseases. This required the recruitment of new faculty whose science explores cellular and molecular immunology and inflammatory diseases. Dr. Genco has facilitated interactions and collaborations with investigators in the various Schools throughout the University and Tufts Medical Center resulting in increased research funding to the Department focused in inflammation and development of novel therapeutics for the treatment and prevention of immune-mediated diseases.
Dr. Genco has a distinguished history of excellence in biomedical research. She continues to foster collaborations across disciplines including immunology, infectious diseases, epidemiology, biomedical engineering, and public health. Her primary research focus is in the area of chronic inflammation and the role of the microbiome in systemic inflammatory disorders. Dr. Genco’s current studies include sexually transmitted infections and oral infectious diseases. Dr. Genco’s current studies on the role of oral, lung, and gut microbiota in vascular inflammation and atherosclerosis are centered on the relationship of the innate immune system to microbial induced chronic inflammation, atherosclerosis, and pancreatic cancer.
Her translational work has encompassed clinical studies evaluating immunological and microbiological responses following acute inflammatory diseases induced by sexually transmitted infections including gonorrhea. Gonorrhea, caused by the Gram-negative organism Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a disease of worldwide prevalence and the continued persistence and increased N. gonorrhoeae resistance to third generation cephalosporins is a warning for the development and spread of untreatable gonorrhea. A vaccine against gonorrhea is not yet available, despite this clear need. Barriers to its development include the presence of highly variable surface antigens that lead to non-specific and often insufficient immunity as well as the lack of our understanding of bacterial antigens expressed during human mucosal disease. The long-term goal of Dr. Genco’s work is to develop a vaccine to treat sexually transmitted infections with emphasis on prevention of secondary complications in women.
Dr. Genco has authored more than 125 articles in scientific journals. Her research program has been continuously supported from extramural funding from the National Institutes of Health, for which she also serves in an advisory capacity. She has also worked with Pharmaceutical companies on funded research projects, as well as in an advisory capacity.
Vice Provost for Research | Office of the Vice Provost for Research | Tufts University
Arthur E. Spiller, M.D. Professor | Department of Immunology | Tufts University School of Medicine