Center for Immunity and Inflammation (CII)


Dr. William C. Gause


The CII is RECRUITING new faculty with expertise in the investigation of cancer research. Early investigators who have first author publications in high-impact journals as well as current NIH funding are strongly encouraged to apply. In an effort to attract new and exceptional scientists, Rutgers has created a Chancellors Scholars Fund to help develop and support research programs of the highest quality faculty. Positions are full-time, tenure-track.

The CII at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Cancer Center is a multidisciplinary and highly collaborative center with laboratories dedicated to researching allergies; chronic autoimmune diseases like Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis; fungal pathogens; pain management; sepsis; toxoplasmosis; and Vitamin D. An exciting emerging area of investigation includes inflammatory skin conditions such as acne and rosacea.

Cores Facilities include Biostatistics Core; Center for Genome Informatics; Experimental Histology & Confocal Imaging Core; Flow Cytometry and Immunology Core Laboratory; Molecular Resource Facility; and the Transgenic Core Services among others.

The CII is an integral part of the Institute for Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases (i3D) a Chancellor level institute on the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) campus. Infection and Inflammation has been selected as a signature area of strategic development and the i3D is already poised to become a national leader in this specialized area.

Administrator: Jennifer Yaney

IN THE NEWS.............

August 7, 2017

Worms May Hold Answers to Curbing Disease in Developing World - Dr. George Yap and Dr. William Gause received a $3 million R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health this spring to study how worms prevent vaccinations from bolstering the immune system. They also received a $511,711 R56 NIH grant titled "Genesis of Defective Effector Lymphocytes in the Helminth Coinfected Host.”

Over treating populations for worm infections may lead to the development of drug-resistant strains, said Gause, who has been researching helminths and their impact on the human immune system since 1985 and is conducting a tandem study on the parasite with another NJMS peer, George Hasko. This second five-year, $3.2 million study, also awarded by the NIH, will examine how the immune system actually detects the worm infection, and then becomes activated to protect against the parasite while weakening the very immune components that protect us against microbes, like tuberculosis.

July 5, 2017

Dr. Sylvia Christakos received an RO1 grant ($582,981/yr - 4 years) to study Nutrigenomics of Intestinal Vitamin D Action. The proposed research employs a genomic approach coupled to physiology studies in novel mouse models to test the ypothesis that the proximal and distal segments of the intestine have unique regulatory pathways controlling vitamin D receptor (Vdr) expression and vitamin D action. This project combines expertise in vitamin D biology as well as expertise in genomics (in collaboration with Dr. Mike Verzi, Rutgers New Brunswick) to determine how the molecular actions of vitamin D can be utilized to improve calcium status in groups at risk for accelerated bone loss and osteoporosis.


Purnima Bhanot

July 28, 2017

Dr. Purnima Bhanot, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics was awarded two NIH grants totaling over $2.5 million towards discovery of novel drugs against malaria.  Malaria, caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium, kills roughly 2000 people a day.  Dr. Bhanot with colleagues at Rutgers School of Pharmacy and Montclair State University, will synthesize potent and selective inhibitors of Plasmodium falciparum’s cGMP-dependent protein kinase and test their efficacy in blockinginfection of the host liver by the parasite.

The i3D and CII received a $1 million grant from the
MCJ Amelior Foundation
that will support a comprehensive research program in the field of acne and rosacea, including the recruitment of an
up-and-coming researcher.





Faculty Profiles

Welcome Tessa L. Bergsbaken, PhD and Yosuke Kumamoto, PhD!

Tessa Bergsbaken

Dr. Tessa Bergsbaken joined the Center for Immunity and Inflammation and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in March 2017 as a tenure-track Assistant Professor. Dr. Bergsbaken received her Ph.D. from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington. Her work examined the activation of inflammatory caspases and pyroptosis, an inflammatory cell death process initiated by these enzymes, in response to bacterial infection. Dr. Bergsbaken continued her training in the Department of Immunology at University of Washington where she focused on tissue-resident memory CD8+ T cell populations that develop in the intestinal tissue in response to local infection. She identified the mechanism by which T cells localized to areas of infection within the intestinal tissue and the role of specific inflammatory cytokines in supporting the differentiation and long-term persistence of tissue-resident memory T cells. This work has been published in Nature Immunology and Cell Reports.

Dr. Bergsbaken’s research interests include understanding the mechanisms of T cell differentiation and maintenance in the intestine and other mucosal sites and determining the unique functions of tissue-resident memory lymphocyte subsets during secondary infection. In addition, her lab is utilizing these findings to improve CD8+ T cell functionality in the context of colorectal cancer immunotherapy. Her research in cancer immunology is funded by a National Cancer Institute Career Development Award (K22).


Yosuke Kumamoto

Dr. Yosuke Kumamoto, Assistant Professor (tenure-track) in the Center for Immunity Inflammation and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, joined in June 2017, and he studies the role of dendritic cell subsets in adaptive immunity and inflammation. Dr. Kumamoto obtained his PhD from the University of Tokyo with Dr. Tatsuro Irimura. He started his training as a biochemist studying the molecular function of mammalian C-type lectins, but later he got interested in cellular immunology of cells expressing those lectins. In 2007, he moved to Dr. Akiko Iwasaki's laboratory at Yale University, where he found that a subset of dendritic cells expressing a C-type lectin CD301b/MGL2 is selectively required for the differentiation of Th2 cells as well as for the maintenance of metabolic homeostasis. Dr. Kumamoto’s study on dendritic cells is currently supported by a recently obtained R01 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of NIH and he previously published papers in this area in Immunity, eLife and PNAS. He is particularly interested in studying the role of CD301b dendritic cells in regulating protective immunity in inflammatory skin diseases.