David Vigerust, PhD
Faculty Mentor

David Vigerust, PhD 

David Vigerust, PhD
Peer Mentor since 2005
Faculty Mentor since 2011


Dr. David Vigerust is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a Research Scientist in the Department of Veteran Affairs in Nashville, TN. He was formerly Postdoctoral fellow both at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center and at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis Tennessee. His research involves elucidating the mechanisms of viral-bacterial synergism and the innate immune response to Influenza.

Dr. Vigerust was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and is a first generation Mexican-American. He received an M.Sc. in Microbiology and Immunology from Texas Tech University and his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. During his graduate years, Dr. Vigerust was an Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric AIDS Student Award recipient, FASEB MARC peer mentor, adjunct faculty in microbiology at a local community college; and, his work was recognized by AAI and ASCB. He was a member of the St. Jude postdoctoral executive committee and the National Postdoctoral Association.

Dr. Vigerust was responsible for the well-received postdoc reception at the 2005 SACNAS annual conference, was Chair of the SACNAS Postdoc Committee in 2009, and served on the 2010 SACNAS Program Committee. 

Mentor's Motivational Message

Contact Information

 Research Assistant Professor
 Department of Pathology
 Vanderbilt University Medical Center
 Nashville, TN  37232
FASEB Society Member:
Scientific Discipline:
 Interactions between HIV and  macrophages
ABRCMS 2011 Mentor:
Breaking the Ice - Dave's "Q&A"

What is one goal you’d like to accomplish during your lifetime?
Learn to fly. I would like to have a pilot’s license and have the ability to just take a flight somewhere at a moment’s notice.
What’s your favorite cartoon character, and why?
Wile E. Coyote because he never gives up. I think he would make a great scientist. No matter how hard the job and how many times failure is the reslt of his efforts he never gives up. He is perseverance personified.
If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why.
Norway. My family has roots there and I would like to experience the people and the native culture.
 What are your favorite hobbies? 
 Cycling. I really enjoy riding the bike and rebuilding and refurbishing bikes. It is nice to use your hands to restore an item and see it work again. Bicycles are simple and elegant machines that for me have always represented freedom. As a kid you could get onto your bike and ride just about forever or at least until dark.
 What is important to you in your life right now?  
 Family.  Once you get a little older you realize that the one thing that you really have of value is your family.
 Name a time when you got into big trouble with your parents. 
  When I accidently ran into a school bus trying to impress a girl.
 What are three movies that you would watch over and over?
 Strange Brew, American Flyers and Caddyshack.
 If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be and why? If you already play an instrument(s), what do you play and why?
 Tenor Saxophone. I find it very expressive.
 Growing up, what were your favorite toys to play with as a child? 
 No one knows what these are anymore but I had this great erector set with metal girders, pulleys and motors. They belonged to my father and the motor was so old that it did not have a plug anymore. Instead it just had wires that I could insert into the wall socket. I'm still amazed that my mom let me play with it and that I did not electrocute myself!
 Which is the best vacation you’ve ever had?  
 Kona, Hawaii where I accidently hit a protected NeNe bird with my golf ball; stepped in hot lava; and swam with the fishes (but not in the mafia way)!