Vishwa Deep Dixit, newly named as the Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Comparative Medicine, studies the interaction between immune and metabolic systems with the goal of revealing targets that can be harnessed to extend the healthspan — the period of life that is free of disabilities and disease.
Dixit is also professor of immunobiology and a member of the Yale Center on Research on Aging.
Dixit’s laboratory has help define the role of innate immune sensor NLRP3 inflammasome as a predominant inflammation triggering mechanism that causes systemic degenerative diseases of aging, including metabolic dysfunction. His team identified that ketone metabolite β-hydroxybutyrate, which is produced in the body during the state of fasting, serves as a therapeutic target to lower the NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent inflammatory diseases. Dixit’s laboratory has recently discovered a new cell subtype called nerve-associated macrophages. This finding highlights how the immune system plays a key role in linking the autonomic nervous system to the ability of adipose tissue to mobilize energy from fat, a mechanism that is impaired in the elderly because of inflammation.
Dixit studied veterinary medicine in Hisar, India and conducted doctoral research at the University of Hannover, Germany and postdoctoral work at the National Institutes of Health. Before joining Yale, he held faculty positions at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center (Baton Rouge).
The Yale professor’s work has been published in prominent journals, including Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Immunology, Cell Metabolism, and the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, among other publications. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the Nathan Shock Award, the highest recognition from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the Glenn Award for Aging research, and the Nathan Shock Young Investigator Award from the Gerontological Society of America. He also serves as a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the NIA.
Dixit’s research is funded in part by the NIA, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the Glenn Foundation for Aging Research, and the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.