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The University of Pittsburgh has a long tradition of excellence in immunology, which began with Jonas Salk and the development of the polio vaccine and continues with the development of vaccines for cancer and HIV. The immunology program faculty includes over 60 active members, trained at the most prestigious universities and research institutes. Research labs are funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and many private foundations. Trainees in the program are supported by grants from NIH and DOD, as well as by individual fellowships from NSF, DOD and other sources. Other students are supported by research grant funding obtained by faculty mentors.

Because immunology intersects so many facets of health and disease, program faculty members have additional appointments in many departments of the medical school, including Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Pathology, Pharmacology, Medicine, Surgery, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, and Pediatrics. Many program members are also members of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute or the Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute and of other graduate training programs, which strengthens the program’s cohesion and promotes opportunities for cutting-edge research in immunology.


Autoimmunity, cancer immunology, transplantation immunology, infectious disease immunology, and basic immunological mechanisms currently form the focus of the Immunology Program’s research efforts. Many recent clinical breakthroughs have been achieved at the University of Pittsburgh, which are derived directly from the basic research of Immunology Program laboratories. These include the development of dendritic cell-based vaccines for the treatment of melanoma, the induction of transplantation tolerance via bone marrow transplantation, and the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis via gene therapy. Graduate student members in program laboratories contribute directly to the success of these important projects. Most critically, the research of current and future graduate students will lead to the next generation of immune-based therapies of human disease.

Basic Immunological Mechanisms
Cancer Immunology
Immunology of Infectious Diseases
Transplantation Immunology


John Francis Alcorn
Assistant Professor
Tcell immunity, host defense, epithelial cell biology, and lung physiology; Immunologic mechanisms of severe and steroid insensitive asthma
Simon M. Barratt-Boyes
Research Instructor
Primate dendritic cell biology; immunology and pathogenesis of SIV
Robert Julian Binder
Partha Sarathi Biswas
Assistant Professor
cytokines in autoimmune disorders with a particular interest in IL-17 and IL-21
Jennifer Bomberger
Assistant Professor
Lisa Ann Borghesi
Associate Professor
Stem cell biology, hematopoietic development, leukemia
Lisa H. Butterfield
Associate Professor
Immunotherapy; tumor antigens
Craig Byersdorfer
Geetha Chalasani
Assistant Professor
Kelly S. Cole
Associate Professor
The development of non-traditional models to evaluate candidate vaccines and therapeutics for emerging pathogens
Louise D'Cruz
molecular mechanisms regulating Natural Killer T (NKT) cells
Greg Delgoffe
impact of the tumor microenvironment on T cell subsets that infiltrate the tumor
Partha Dutta
Louis D. Falo
Vaccine design; antigen processing and presentation; tumor immunology; cutaneous immunobiology
Robert Louis Ferris
Cancer immunology and immunotherapy; Oral Immunology; Antigen processing and presentation to T cells; Role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in head and neck cancer; Strategies of immune evasion by cancer cells
Olivera J. Finn
Human T-cell biology; tumor immunology; transplant immunology
Joanne L. Flynn
Immunology and pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Sarah L. Gaffen
defining signal transduction mechanisms and biological function of IL-2 and IL-17 family cytokines, using in vitro and in vivo models
Alison Gimbel
Robert L. Hendricks
Viral immunology; T-cell activation and function at inflammatory sites
Lawrence Patrick Kane
Associate Professor
The role of the Akt kinase in T cell activation
Daniel Kaplan
William Brown Klimstra
Associate Professor
Jay Kennedy Kolls
Visiting Professor
IL-17, IL-22, Th17 cells, lung immunity, gut immunity, microbiome, cystic fibrosis, pneunomia
Fadi G Lakkis
Allorecognition in the innate immune system
Adriana L. Larregina De Morelli
Associate Professor
Skin immunobiology; genetic immunization
Philana L Lin
Assistant Professor
Stephen R Little
Engineering Immunotherapeutics and Biomimetics
Binfeng Lu
Associate Professor
Regulation of the MAP kinase pathway in the CD4+ cells; molecular mechanisms of Th1/Th2 differentiation; regulation of pathogenic T cells in autoimmune diseases
Alicia R Mathers
Assistant Professor
Mandy J. McGeachy
Assistant Professor
autoimmunity and chronic inflammatory disease
Diana M. Metes
Associate Professor
Immune responses to EBV in immunosupressed patients; adoptive immunotherapy; Natural killer (NK) cells and delayed xenograft rejection
Christine A. Milcarek
RNA processing; transcription elongation
Penelope A. Morel
Th1/Th2 regulaltion; autoimmunity; human NK cell biology
Adrian E. Morelli
Associate Professor
Role of dendritic cells in peripheral tolerance and transplantation
Matthew L Nicotra
Assistant Professor
Allorecognition, which is the ability of most encrusting marine invertebrates-animals like corals and sponges-to distinguish between themselves and other members of their species via cell-cell contact
Jon D Piganelli
Associate Professor
T-cell mediated effector mechanisms of beta cell destruction in Type I diabetes
Anuradha Ray
Th subsets, immunology of lung
Prabir Ray
Immunology of lung, role of AKT in immune function
Douglas Reed
David Rothstein
Saumendra Narayan Sarkar
Assistant Professor
Innate Immunity in Virus Infection and Cancer
Mark Shlomchik
Michael R. Shurin
Associate Professor
Tumor immunology; dendritic cell biology
Walter John Storkus
Natural killer cell and cytolytic T-lymphocyte antitumor targeting mechanisms
Angus W. Thomson
Transplantation tolerance; dendritic cell function
Stephen Howard Thorne
Assistant Professor
Heth Turnquist
Assistant Professor
Abbe N. Vallejo
Associate Professor
Dario Vignali
Anda Mioara Vlad
Assistant Professor
Theresa Whiteside
Tumor immunology
John Williams
Zhaoyang You
Assistant Professor
In Vivo Targeted Vaccines for Tumor Immunotherapy
Hassane Zarour
Associate Professor
MHC Class II Tumor Epitopes
Adriana Zeevi
Transplantation; immunogenetics