Innate Immune Mechanisms Controlling Inflammation and Infection


Robert L. Johnson, MD

The Sharon and Joseph L. Muscarelle Endowed Dean, New Jersey Medical School


William C. Gause, PhD

Senior Associate Dean for Research, New Jersey Medical School

Director, Center for Immunity and Inflammation

Guest Speakers

David Artis, PhD

Associate Professor, Microbiology

University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Philadelphia, PA


Dr. Artis completed his doctoral research training at the University of Manchester, UK focusing on regulation of immunity and inflammation in the intestine. Following receipt of a Wellcome Trust Prize Traveling Fellowship, he undertook his fellowship training at the University of Pennsylvania where he continued his research training in examining the regulation of immune responses at barrier surfaces.  Dr. Artis joined the faculty at Penn in 2005 and became an Associate Professor of Microbiology in 2010. Dr. Artis is actively involved in teaching of undergraduates, graduates and vet students and plays an active role in the Immunology Graduate Group, the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Group and the Institute for Immunology.  Administratively, he is Director of the Penn Gnotobiotic Mouse Facility, Chair of Admissions for the Immunology Graduate Group and a member of the Executive Committees of the Institute for Immunology and the Immunology Graduate Group. He has developed a research program focused on dissecting the pathways that regulate innate and adaptive immune cell function at barrier surfaces in the context of health and disease.  Dr. Artis is funded by NIH, CCFA and BWF and has published 43 primary papers and 18 reviews in high profile journals including Nature, Science, Nature Medicine, Nature Immunology and Journal of Experimental Medicine. He has been the recipient of the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America Young Investigator Award, the AAI Junior Faculty Award, the Lady Barbara Colyton Prize for Autoimmune Research, and the International Cytokine Society Junior Faculty Award. 


Jean Laurent Casanova, MD, PhD

Professor and Head

St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases

The Rockefeller University

New York, NY


Dr. Casanova is Professor and Head of Laboratory of the St. Giles Laboratory of Human Genetics of Infectious Diseases at Rockefeller University and Senior Attending Physician at Rockefeller Hospital. He discovered that life-threatening infectious diseases of childhood may be caused by single-gene inborn errors of immunity. Over the last 15 years, Dr. Casanova’s team has deciphered the molecular genetic basis of various pediatric infectious diseases, including mycobacterial diseases (mutations in IFNGR1, IFNGR2, STAT1, IL12B, IL12RB1, NEMO, IRF8, CYBB, ISG15), invasive pneumococcal disease (NEMO, IKBA, IRAK4, MYD88, HOIL1), herpes simplex encephalitis (UNC93B1, TLR3, TRAF3, TRIF, TBK1), and chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (IL17F, IL17RA, STAT1). These studies have important clinical implications, as they provide means for genetic counseling and a rationale to develop new therapeutic approaches based on an understanding of the host component of infectious diseases. These studies also have important biological implications, as they define the function of host defense genes in natura, i.e. in the setting of a natural ecosystem governed by natural selection. Dr. Casanova’s research has already been recognized in important ways. He was an international research scholar with the HHMI from 2005 to 2008 and a member of the EMBO and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He was the recipient of the Professor Lucien Dautrebande Pathophysiology Prize from the Belgian Royal Academy of Medicine in 2004 and the 2008 Richard Lounsbery Award from the French and American Academies of Sciences. In 2009, he received the Oswald Avery Award from the Infectious Disease Society of America. In 2010, he was awarded the E. Mead Johnson Award from the Society for Pediatric Research, and in 2011, the InBev-Baillet Latour Health Prize in Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Most recently, he was named the Seymour and Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Interferon and Cytokine Research 2012 laureate and was recipient of the Ilse and Helmut Wachter Foundation Award from the Innsbruck Medical University.


Ajay Chawla, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Cardiovascular Research Institute

University of California

San Francisco, CA


Dr. Chawla is an Associate Professor of Physiology and Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. His laboratory at the Cardiovascular Research Institute of UCSF focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which the innate immune system coordinates peripheral metabolism and tissue regeneration in health and disease states. An additional area of investigation in his laboratory focuses on the regulatory pathways that control activation of macrophage and dendritic cells in response to changes in nutrient availability. Dr. Chawla’s work is widely recognized for establishing new paradigms in the interdisciplinary field of metabolism and immunity. The pioneering spirit of Dr. Chawla’s work has been recognized by various organizations, including NIH (NIDDK, NHLBI, NIH Director’s Pioneer Award), philanthropic foundations (Rita Allen Foundation, Culpepper Medical Sciences, ADA, and AHA) and industry.


Richard A. Flavell, PhD, RFS

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Sterling Professor and Chair, Immunobiology

Yale University

New Haven, CT


Dr. Flavell is Sterling Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He received his B.Sc. (Honors) in 1967 and Ph.D. in 1970 in biochemistry from the University of Hull, England, and performed postdoctoral work in Amsterdam (1970-72) with Piet Borst and Zurich (1972-73) with Charles Weissmann. Before accepting his current position in 1988, Dr. Flavell was first Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam (1974-79); then Head of the Laboratory of Gene Structure and Expression at the National Institute for Medical Research, Mill Hill, London (1979-82); and subsequently President and Chief Scientific Officer of Biogen Research Corporation, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1982-88). Dr. Flavell is a fellow of the Royal Society, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. Richard Flavell uses transgenic and gene-targeted mice to study Innate and Adaptive immunity, T cell tolerance and activation in immunity and autoimmunity, apoptosis, and regulation of T cell differentiation.

Richard Flavell is co-discoverer of introns in cellular genes: he showed DNA methylation correlates inversely with, and prevents gene expression.  He was the first to develop reverse genetics as a postdoc with Weissmann and in his own lab continued in this field throughout his career; he is a pioneer in the use of this approach in vivo to study function.  Dr. Flavell’s laboratory studies the molecular and cellular basis of the immune response.  He has been instrumental in discovering the molecular basis of T-cell differentiation from precursor cells into differentiated subsets.  Moreover this laboratory has elucidated the mechanisms of immunoregulation that prevent autoimmunity and overaggressive responses to pathogens.  Finally, Dr. Flavell’s laboratory has discovered the role of several receptor families in the innate immune response, including Toll-like receptors and intracellular Nod-like receptor families (NLRs).  This has recently led to the elucidation of function of Nod2 in inflammatory bowel diseases and Nalp proteins in the production of IL-1.  Most recently he has established the connection between inflammasomes, microbial homeostasis and chronic diseases.  He showed that dysbiosis of the microbiota leads to IBD and Metabolic Syndrome, including Obesity Fatty Liver disease and Type 2 diabetes.

Finally, Dr. Flavell's laboratory has studied the role of TGF-β in the regulation of immune response.  This work is of relevance both to the control of autoimmune disease as well as evasion of immune response by tumors.


Laurie H. Glimcher, MD

Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean

Weill Cornell Medical College

New York, NY


Dr. Glimcher is the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, New York, where she is also Professor of Medicine. In addition, Dr. Glimcher is Provost for Medical Affairs of Cornell University. Previously, she was the Irene Heinz Given Professor of Immunology at the Harvard School of Public Health, where she was director of the Division of Biological Sciences, and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where she headed one of the top immunology programs in the world. She also served as Senior Physician and Rheumatologist at the Brigham and Woman’s Hospital.

Dr. Glimcher received her postdoctoral training at Harvard and in the Laboratory of Immunology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland, and is board certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology. She received her BA degree from Radcliffe College and her MD from Harvard Medical School. As an immunologist, her primary research interests are the biochemical and genetic approaches that elucidate the molecular pathways that regulate CD4 T helper cell development and activation. The complex regulatory pathways governing T helper cell responses are critical for both the development of protective immunity and for the pathophysiologic immune responses underlying autoimmune, infectious and malignant diseases. Dr. Glimcher’s research laboratory has studied the transcriptional pathways that control this important immune checkpoint, leading to many discoveries, including the T-bet and XBP-1 transcription factors, which regulate a variety of adaptive and innate immune functions as well as the endoplasmic reticulum stress response (XBP1). Most recently, her laboratory has identified new proteins that control osteoblast and osteoclast commitment and activation in skeletal biology with significant implications for diseases of bone, including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and cancer metastasis to bone.

Dr. Glimcher is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the Soma Weiss Award for Undergraduate Research, the Distinguished Young Investigator Award from the American College of Rheumatology, the Leukemia Society’s Stohlman Memorial Scholar Award, the Arthritis Foundation’s Lee S. Howley Award, the FASEB Excellence in Science Award, the American Society of Clinical Investigation Investigator Award, the Klemperer Award, the AAUW Senior Scholar Award, the Huang Meritorious Career Award, the AAI Excellence in Mentoring Award, the Dean’s Award for Leadership in the Advancement of Women Faculty and the American College of Rheumatology Distinguished Investigator Award among others. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences. She is the former President of the American Association of Immunologists. She is a member of the American Asthma Foundation, Immune Diseases Institute, Health Care Ventures, Burroughs-Wellcome Fund and and served on the Cancer Research Institute Fellowship Committee. She sits on the Board of Trustees of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and is on the Corporate Board of Directors of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Corporation and the Waters Corporation.

Dr. Glimcher speaks nationally and internationally on rheumatology, immunology, skeletal biology and translational medicine and has contributed more than 350 scholarly articles and papers to the medical literature.


Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, PhD

Associate Member, St. Jude Faculty, Immunology

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

Memphis, TN

Dr. Kanneganti is an Associate Member in the Department of Immunology at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Her laboratory focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms of host defense and inflammation. Dr. Kanneganti has published over 100 papers, many in prestigious journals including Nature, Cancer Cell, Nature Immunology, Nature Reviews Immunology and Immunity. She has made seminal contributions to our understanding of how the innate immune system recognizes and responds to pathogens and how mutations in these sensing systems and signaling affect the development of infectious, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases in humans.  Dr. Kanneganti regularly presents her findings at national and international symposia and at major research institutions throughout the world. She has consistently been active in postdoctoral and graduate student training.

Web page: 


Ruslan M. Medzhitov, PhD

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

David W. Wallace Professor, Immunobiology

Yale University

New Haven, CT

*Sponsored by the NJMS John H. Siegel Lectureship Series*

Dr. Medzhitov obtained his BA degree from Tashkent State University in 1990 and PhD degree from Moscow State University in 1993.  He began his career in 1993 as a visiting student at the University of California at San Diego and became a Postdoctoral Associate with Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1994 working with Dr. Charles A. Janeway, Jr. at Yale University School of Medicine.  He became an Assistant Professor in 1999 and started his own lab at Yale University School of Medicine in the Section of Immunobiology.  He is currently a David W. Wallace Professor of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Dr. Medzhitov contributed to the characterization of the function of Toll-like receptors in the mammalian immune system.  He helped to define the mechanisms of TLR-mediated signaling, gene induction, and inflammatory responses in physiological and pathological conditions.  He contributed to the characterization of the role of innate immune system in the regulation of adaptive immune responses.

His awards include: The Searle Scholarship, The William B. Coley Award from the Cancer Research Institute, A Master of Arts Privatum from Yale University, The Emil von Behring Award, The AAI –BD Biosciences Investigator Award, A Doctor Honoris Causae at the Universities of Munich and Utrecht University, Emil von Behring Award and The NYAS Blavatnik Award for Young Scientists, Howard Taylor Ricketts Award, Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award, The Shaw Prize in Life Science and Medicine.  He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.


Edward J. Pearce, PhD

Professor, Pathology and Immunology

Washington University School of Medicine

St. Louis, MO


Dr. Pearce is a Professor of Pathology and Immunology at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.  He received his PhD for research performed at the National Institute for Medical Research in London, and then moved to Dr. Alan Sher’s laboratory at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for his postdoctoral training.  Since 1990 he has held tenured faculty positions at Cornell University and at The University of Pennsylvania, and was a Member and Chief Scientific Officer at Trudeau Institute prior to taking his current position in 2009.  His research interests include the immunobiology of schistosomiasis, a chronic neglected tropical disease that is caused by infection with parasitic flatworms, and the metabolic control of immune cell function.  His work has contributed to an understanding of the induction and function of Th2 responses during helminth infections. He has been actively engaged in training young scientists through both his roles in graduate programs at his home institutions, and his involvement in the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Biology of Parasitism summer course.  He is the co-founder of the Woods Hole Immunoparasitology meeting and a co-organizer of the Molecular and Cellular Biology of Helminth Parasites meeting.  He has been the recipient of a Young Investigator Award and a Scholar Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation, and of the Bailey K. Ashford Medal from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.  His research is funded by the NIH.


Alan Sher, PhD

Chief, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases

Chief, Immunobiology Section


Bethesda, MD


Alan Sher received his Ph.D from the University of California, San Diego and did his postdoctoral training at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, London. After several years as a Research Associate and then Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, he joined the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases where he is currently Chief of the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases and NIH Distinguished Investigator.  The work of his laboratory is focused on defining mechanisms of host resistance to parasites and mycobacteria as well as the pathways which regulate the immune response to these pathogens. Dr. Sher is the author of over 350 publications and is a Fellow of both the American Academy of Microbiology and the AAAS. He currently serves as a senior editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Keystone Symposia and of the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Trudeau Institute and the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation.


Diane M. Thiboutot, MD

Professor, Dermatology

Associate Director, General Clinical Research Center

Penn State Hershey College of Medicine

Hershey, PA

Dr.  Thiboutot is a Professor of Dermatology at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, PA.  In her clinical practice she specializes in the care of patients with acne and rosacea.  Dr. Thiboutot received her medical degree and residency training in Dermatology at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine and University Hospital.  Awards from the Dermatology Foundation and National Institutes of Health fostered her early research career.  Dr. Thiboutot currently directs an active research program in both basic and clinical research with the support from the NIAMS and sponsorship from large and small pharmaceutical firms.  Her area of research interest is in the regulation of sebum production and the treatment of acne with particular emphasis on the role of hormones, retinoid activity and innate immune defense.  Over the past 15 years, Dr. Thiboutot has participated in over 60 Phase II, III or IV clinical trials and is actively engaged in consultations regarding new drug development.

Dr. Thiboutot is Director of Clinical and Translational Research Education at Penn State where she is actively engaged in mentorship of junior faculty and students in medical and graduate school.  Dr. Thiboutot is a member of the AOA Honor Medical Society.  She is listed in and the Best Doctors in America. Dr. Thiboutot received her University’s Outstanding Young Investigator Award in 1996 for her work on androgen metabolism in the skin in addition to a Faculty Teaching Award from the Medical Student Class of 1996. Dr. Thiboutot serves as a reviewer for the NIH and for several dermatology journals. She has published numerous manuscripts and book chapters relating to acne, rosacea, hormone metabolism in the skin and the actions of retinoids on the skin.


Joel Weinstock, MD

Professor, Medicine, Tufts University

Chief, Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology

Tufts Medical Center

Boston, MA

Dr. Weinstock is Professor at Tufts University and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology at Tufts Medical Center.  His laboratory, funded through the NIH, studies immune regulation of inflammatory responses at mucosal surfaces like the gut.  His laboratory has published over 170 peer-reviewed papers, many in prestigious journals including Nature, Science, Proceeding National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Experimental Medicine and Journal of Immunology. He has made major contributions to our understanding of how helminthic infections modulate host immunity. His laboratory developed the first helminthic vaccine used to control immune-mediated diseases.  More recently, he has determined that helminths modulate Treg and dendritic cell function to mediate diseases protection.  Dr. Weinstock has received awards for outstanding scientific accomplishments and outstanding patient care.   Dr. Weinstock has been funded by the NIH for over 30 years. He has served on grant review committees for both the NIH and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.  He is a regularly invited speaker at national and international symposia, and at major research institutions throughout the country.


Thomas A. Wynn, PhD

Chief, Immunopathogenesis Section

Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases


Bethesda, MD

Dr. Wynn is a Senior Investigator and Chief of the Immunopathogenesis Section of the Laboratory of Parasitic Disease, in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH in Bethesda, MD.  He is also the Scientific Director of the NIH-Oxford-Cambridge Scholars program, a doctoral training program for outstanding science students committed to biomedical research. His laboratory group uses a variety of in vivo model systems to study the immunological mechanisms that control chronic inflammation and fibrosis. He has published over 175 papers, reviews, and book chapters in many prestigious journals including Nature, Nature Immunology, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Gastroenterology, Nature Reviews Immunology, Nature Medicine, and Annual Review of Immunology. He has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the role of IL-13, IL-17A, and macrophages in the progression and resolution of liver and lung fibrosis and has developed improved in vivo models to test novel anti-fibrotic drugs.  Dr. Wynn was recently elected to fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology and has received several prestigious awards including the Bailey K. Ashford Medal from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Oswaldo Cruz Medal from the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, and two Merit Awards from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Wynn has been a tenured Senior Investigator at the NIH since 2002 and has organized several national and international scientific meetings including two Keystone Symposia, and collaborates extensively with the pharmaceutical industry.  


Internal Speakers

Sylvia Christakos, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School


Sylvia Christakos is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)–New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey, USA.  Dr. Christakos received her Ph.D. degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo School of Medicine.  She completed her postdoctoral training at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY, SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine Department of Biochemistry, and at the University of California at Riverside, California, Department of Biochemistry. In 1980 she was appointed as Assistant Professor in the Dept of Biochemistry UMDNJ- New Jersey Medical School, Associate Professor from 1985 –1990 and Professor from 1990 – present. From 1995-2004 Dr. Christakos was the Graduate Program Director of the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Christakos has received continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the past 30 years.  Her laboratory is one of the leading laboratories involved in research related to vitamin D, its function and mechanism of action.

Dr. Christakos has served on the NSF regulatory biology study panel, NIH study sections (including General Medicine B and Skeletal Biology, Structure and Regeneration) and the Veteran Administration’s Endocrinology Merit Review Board.  Dr. Christakos was Associate Editor of the Primer on Metabolic Bone Diseases and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism (2000 –2007) and the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research (2003– 2008).  She is the author or co-author of 154 publications in peer reviewed journals.  Dr. Christakos is a member of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) (1980-present) and the Endocrine Society.  She has served on numerous ASBMR committees and was ASBMR President (2004-2005).  

Patricia Fitzgerald-Bocarsly, PhD

Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

Scientific Director, Flow Cytometry & Immunology Core Laboratory

Member, Center for Immunity & Inflammation

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Fitzgerald-Bocarsly is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, a member of the Center for Immunity and Inflammation and is the Scientific Director of the Flow Cytometry and Immunology Core Laboratory at the UMDNJ - New Jersey Medical School. Her research laboratory investigates the human innate immune response to viruses, particularly HIV infection, and was the first to describe the dendritic cell nature of natural interferon producing cells, now known as plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC), and their dysregulation in HIV-infected individuals. Her definition of the unique constitutive expression of the transcription factor, IRF-7 by pDC, led to her winning of the Dolph Adams Award in 2008 from the Society of Leukocyte Biology. The Fitzgerald-Bocarsly laboratory has been funded by the NIH for more than 25 years and carries out both basic and translational science research on pDC and their production of type I and type III IFNs and inflammatory cytokines. Passionate about education, Dr. Fitzgerald-Bocarsly has trained more than 30 PhD students and post-docs as well as numerous undergraduates and medical students in her laboratory and serves on the American Association of Immunologists Committee on the Status of Women, and is a Sloan faculty member. In the community, she served for six years as an elected member of the West Windsor – Plainsboro Board of Education and currently is a trustee of the WW-P Education Foundation. She is a former section editor for the Journal of Immunology and currently serves in that role for the Journal of Leukocyte Biology and is an Academic Editor for PLoSONE. A frequent reviewer for the NIH, she recently retired as member and chair of the AIDS Immunology and Pathogenesis Study Section.


William C. Gause, PhD

Senior Associate Dean for Research

Director, Center for Immunity & Inflammation

University Professor, Medicine

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Gause is University Professor of Medicine, Director of the Center for Immunity and Inflammation and Senior Associate Dean for research at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. He leads a large NIH-funded laboratory investigating the immune response during infectious disease. His laboratory has published over 100 papers, many in prestigious journals including Nature Medicine, Nature Reviews Immunology, Proceeding National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Experimental Medicine and Journal of Immunology. He has made seminal contributions to our understanding of T cell differentiation during infectious disease. More recently he has also examined the role of innate immune cell populations in mediating host defense and the effect of helminth infection on susceptibility to tuberculosis. Dr. Gause received the prestigious graduate educator award for mentoring graduate students while at the Uniformed Services University and a number of postdoctoral fellows and graduate students from Dr. Gause's laboratory now have positions at major institutions in both academia and industry. Dr. Gause has been funded by the NIH for over 20 years. He regularly chairs symposia and presents his findings at national and international symposia and at major research institutions throughout the country.


Gyorgy Hasko, MD, PhD

Associate Professor, Surgery

Member, Center for Immunity & Inflammation

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School


Dr. Hasko obtained his MD from Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungar, and his PhD in physiology from the University of Debrecen, Hungary. His research interests include the role of adenosine as an endogenous inhibitor of inflammation and immunomodulator. Dr. Hasko has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers and one book chapter. Dr. Hasko serves on the editorial boards of Journal of Immunology, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and Inflammation.


Sergei V. Kotenko, PhD

Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School


Dr. Kotenko is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at UMDNJ, New Jersey Medical School.  He obtained his M.S. degree in Biophysics from Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, Department of Theoretical and Experimental Physics, and received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Institute for Genetics of Microorganisms, Moscow, Russia.  Dr. Kotenko has a long-standing interest in unraveling molecular mechanisms of cytokine actions.  He is internationally recognized for his achievements in developing and advancing our understanding of the receptor complexes and signal transduction pathways activated by various IFNs and IL-10-related cytokines.  Dr. Kotenko is a recipient of several prestigious awards including International Cytokine Society Young Investigator Award in 1997 for the identification of the IL-10R2 chain, Milstein Young Investigator Award in 1999 from International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research for cloning of the cytomegalovirus-encoded IL-10 and Milstein Award in 2010 for his seminal co-discovery and cloning of type III IFNs (IFN-8s) and their receptors.  His research is now focused on finding clinical applications for these cytokines.


Amariliz Rivera-Medina, PhD

Assistant Professor, Pediatrics

Member, Center for Immunity & Inflammation

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School


Dr. Rivera is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and member of the Center for Immunity and Inflammation at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. Her laboratory investigates how innate and adaptive immune responses mediate defense against the opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus.  Ongoing studies in the Rivera laboratory are focused on understanding the contributions of innate cell subsets to antifungal defense and how distinct innate receptor families shape fungus-specific CD4 T cell differentiation. Dr. Rivera is a graduate from the University of Puerto Rico and UMDNJ-RJMS. She performed her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Pamer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where she generated the first fungus-specific T cell receptor transgenic mouse model to track the in vivo kinetics of antifungal CD4 T cell activation and differentiation. Her studies continue to exploit this unique tool to probe how deficiencies in innate cell subsets or innate receptor families alter the development of fungus-specific CD4 T cell responses.  


Padmini Salgame, PhD

Director, Graduate Medical Research Program

Professor, Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

Member, Center for Emerging & Re-emerging Pathogens

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Salgame is Professor of Medicine at UMDNJ-NJMS and Director of the Graduate Medical Research Programs.  The Salgame laboratory focuses on defining the host immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection, with a particular interest in how Toll-like receptors and co-stimulatory molecules regulate memory immunity.  The Salgame laboratory is also investigating whether helminthic co-infections thwart host resistance against Tuberculosis and whether co-infections reduce efficacy of Tuberculosis vaccines.  Dr. Salgame also studies the human immune response in Tuberculosis and the biomarkers of susceptibility to infection and progression to disease.


Luis Ulloa, PhD

Associate Professor, Surgery

Member, Center for Immunity & Inflammation

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Ulloa is Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School.  His research focuses on the physiological anti-inflammatory mechanisms that modulate the immune responses to infection and their potential translation for the treatment of infectious and inflammatory disorders including sepsis. Severe sepsis is one of the most common causes of death among hospitalized patients, and it accounts for nearly 10% of the overall deaths in the United States annually. Dr Ulloa is particularly interested in the regulation of inflammation by the nervous system. The nervous system controls the immune system through cholinergic neurotransmitters that can bind to nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in immune cells and modulate the innate immune responses to infection and trauma or tissue damage. Dr. Ulloa identified nicotinic acetylcholine receptors able to control inflammation in infectious diseases and inflammatory disorders. These cholinergic receptors can control cytokine production during infection or inflammation, prevent multiple organ failure and improve survival in experimental sepsis. Dr. Ulloa is currently identifying the physiological and molecular mechanisms controlling innate immune responses to infection. Dr Ulloa has published over 55 articles in prestigious scientific journals including Nature, Nature Medicine and Journal of Experimental Medicine. He has been invited to write review articles in journals like Nature Reviews and Trends in Molecular Medicine. His studies are funded by department of Defense, American Heart Association, and the NIH.


George S. Yap, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine

Member, Center for Immunity & Inflammation

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Yap is an Associate Professor of Medicine and member of the Center for Immunity and Inflammation at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School. His laboratory investigates the innate and adaptive immune response of the mammalian host to infection by the human pathogen Toxoplasma gondii . Dr. Yap and his students have made significant contributions to our understanding of the cytokine and signaling networks regulating the balance between protective immunity and immunopathology. His laboratory was the first to demonstrate a role for autophagy in defense against a parasitic agent. Dr. Yap currently serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Immunology and Infection and Immunity . He is also a member of the Innate Immunity and Inflammation Study Section of the NIH Center for Scientific Review. A graduate of the University of the Philippines and McGill University, Dr. Yap has previously held research positions at the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and was the Manning Assistant Professor of Medical Science at Brown University. Dr. Yap has published over 50 articles and reviews in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, the Journal of Immunology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Cell Host and Microbe, PLOS Pathogens, Immunity and Nature Immunology .

Workshop Chairs

Raymond Birge, PhD

Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School


Dr. Birge earned a PhD in molecular toxicology from the University of Connecticut in 1989.  From 1989 to 1994, He was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow at The Rockefeller University in the Laboratory of Molecular Oncology under the tutelage of Hidesaburo Hanafusa, studying the structure and function of retroviral oncogenes and cellular transformation.  From 1994-2000, Dr. Birge remained at The Rockefeller University as a faculty member and was acting head of the Laboratory of Molecular Oncology from 1998-2000 until his move to UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in 2000.    Currently, he is a Professor of Biochemistry and a member of the University Hospital Cancer Center.  Dr. Birge’s research interests focus on apoptosis and cancer biology, with the goals of understanding the molecular events that promote tumor progression and metastasis.   Over the past 20 years, Dr. Birge’s work has helped elucidate the structure, function, and regulation of Crk proteins, and how these signaling networks are disrupted in cancer.  The Birge lab also documented the first link between Crk and efferocytosis and how efferocytosis in tumor cells is linked to tolerance and tumor progression.  His principal areas of research include the role of tyrosine kinases in breast cancer metastasis and defining the signals that promote immune suppression and tolerance in the tumor microenvironment.  In 1991, Dr. Birge, along with Richard Lockshin and Zahra Zakeri, founded the Cell Death Society, where he continues to serve as Vice President and sits on the Board of Directors.  He serves as scientific consultant on numerous federal and private grant study sections including NIH, NSF, and the DOD Congressionally Directed research programs.    He is currently on the editorial board of The Journal of Biological Chemistry and Cell Signaling and Communication.


Gill Diamond, PhD

Associate Professor, Oral Biology

UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School

Dr. Diamond received his PhD in genetics from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1988.  From 1988 to 1993 he was a postdoctoral fellow and research associate in the Division of Human Genetics and Molecular Biology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, with Drs. Michael Zasloff and Charles Bevins.  There he began his research in the field of antimicrobial peptides, identifying the first member of the beta-defensin class of peptides.  In 1993 he moved to UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, where he was assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy, Cell Biology and Injury Sciences.  After the reorganization of the department, he moved to New Jersey Dental School in 2002, as Associate Professor in the Department of Oral Biology. Since his arrival at UMDNJ, he has studied antimicrobial peptides, examining their role in innate immune defense of the airway and the oral cavity, as well as the potential for their development as therapeutic agents to microbial infections.  His current research focuses on the role of vitamin D in regulating antimicrobial peptide gene expression and other innate immune responses in the airway and the oral cavity.  He is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of PolyMedix, Inc., a biotechnology company that is developing small molecule mimics of antimicrobial peptides as therapeutics, and is working together with scientists there to develop a novel antifungal agent based on beta-defensin structure.  He is the co-chair of the upcoming Gordon Research Conference on Antimicrobial Peptides, and serves on numerous study sections.  He is on the editorial board of Molecular Oral Microbiology and has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Immunology.


S. Joseph Leibivich, PhD

Professor, Cell Biology & Molecular Medicine

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Leibovich is currently Professor of Cell Biology & Molecular Medicine at New Jersey Medical School, UMDNJ and a member of the Cardiovascular Research Institute. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in the U.K. in 1971 and performed post-doctoral work in Seattle, WA (1972-74) with Russell Ross.  Following 6 years at the Weizmann Institute in Israel he moved to Northwestern University in Chicago (1980-1992), and to his present position at UMDNJ in 1992. His seminal work established a key role for macrophages in wound repair, not just as scavengers that debride dead and damaged cells and tissues, but as cells that regulate formation of granulation tissue by producing growth and angiogenic factors that regulate connective tissue formation and neo-vascularization. His recent studies have shown that macrophages are differentially activated to either inflammatory or anti-inflammatory, angiogenic wound healing phenotypes in response to micro-environmental influences. Expression of TLRs and adenosine receptors is an important factor in the regulation of macrophage activation and adenosine signaling plays an important role in regulating macrophage phenotype. His work has been consistently funded by the NIH. Dr. Leibovich was a Charter member of the Pathology A and AICS study sections at the NIH. He chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Tissue Repair and Regeneration in 1997, and is a regular chair and speaker at national and international symposia on inflammation and wound healing.


David Perlin, PhD

Executive Director, PHRI Center and

UMDNJ Regional Biocontainment Laboratory

Professor, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Perlin, is Executive Director of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School’s Public Health Research Institute (PHRI), a 70 year old specialized center for global infectious diseases research.  He is also Director of the new UMDNJ Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, one of thirteen NIH-designated national centers, and a Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Dr. Perlin helped establish PHRI as a leading tuberculosis and opportunistic infections research organization. His primary expertise is in fungal infections, mechanisms of antifungal drug resistance, and rapid diagnosis of opportunistic drug resistant bacterial and fungal pathogens in high-risk patients.  He has published more than 170 papers and book chapters and has co-authored two books. His laboratory is supported by grants from the NIH, pharma and biotech sectors. He is on the editorial board of several scientific journals and serves on the Board of Directors of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, and Scientific/Medical Advisory Boards for the CLSI, pharma and biotech companies, and PinnacleCare. He is also a member of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Advisory Panel on Bioterrorism and Emerging Infections, the Executive Committee of the Northeast Biodefense Center, and Steering Committee for Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Perlin earned an AB degree from Brandeis University in 1976 and a PhD from Cornell University in 1980. He pursued postdoctoral studies at the Yale University School of Medicine and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Dr. Perlin joined PHRI in 1985; he was named Scientific Director in 1992, President in 2005, and Director of the new UMDNJ Center in 2006. He was appointed Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics in 2003 and Executive Director of PHRI and the UMDNJ Regional Biocontainment Laboratory in 2010. Dr. Perlin was named a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences in 2005, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester, UK in 2009.


Nicholas Ponzio, PhD

Associate Professor, Neurological Institute of NJ

Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School


Dr. Ponzio is Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UMDNJ – New Jersey Medical School and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.  He is a graduate of Seton Hall University (BA and MS) and SUNY Downstate Medical School (PhD), and performed postdoctoral studies at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY) and New York University Medical Center (New York, NY).  Prior to coming to UMDNJ, Dr. Ponzio was a faculty member at Northwestern University Medical School (Chicago, IL).  He has made numerous and significant contributions to the educational programs of UMDNJ medical and graduate schools.  His teaching skills were recognized by his induction into the Stuart D. Cook, M.D. Master Educator Guild of UMDNJ in 2003, and an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Foundation of UMDNJ in 2011.  Dr. Ponzio has maintained an active research program in several medically-related areas for his entire career at UMDNJ, including investigation of the etiology and immunotherapy of B cell lymphomas, therapeutic use of human umbilical cord blood cells, and immunological aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorders.


Christine Rohowsky-Kochan, PhD

Professor, Neurology & Neuroscience

UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Rohowsky-Kochan is a Professor of Neurology & Neurosciences at UMDNJ- New Jersey Medical School.  Dr. Rohowsky-Kochan received her Ph.D. at Columbia University where she continued her post-doctoral research training.   She joined NJMS in 1986 as an Assistant Professor and began focusing her research interests on the role of the immune system in neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Her research continues to focus on the complex regulatory pathways governing T helper cell responses and on pathogenic immune responses underlying autoimmune disease of the nervous system.  Dr. Rohowsky-Kochan also studies the immune response in children with autism spectrum disorders.


Derek B. Sant'Angelo, PhD

Associate Professor, Pediatrics

Chief, Division of Developmental Biology

The Child Health Institute of New Jersey

UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School


Dr.  Sant’Angelo holds an appointment as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Child Health Institute of New Jersey and as the Chief of the Division of Developmental Biology at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, since September 2011. He received his B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1986 and a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Rutgers University and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in 1993.  Following earning his Ph.D., Dr. Sant’Angelo accepted a position as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Section of Immunobiology at the Yale University School of Medicine.  Under the guidance of Professor Charles A. Janeway, Jr., Dr. Sant’Angelo studied the interaction of the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) with MHC:peptide complexes. He also studied the requirement for TCR interactions with MHC complexes during the development of T cells in the thymus.  These studies, published in fourteen papers, helped to define the fundamental role that the TCR plays in shaping an effective and comprehensive immune system.  Dr. Sant’Angelo began his independent career in the Immunology Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He also held a joint appointment in Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University and, later, was appointed as a faculty member in the Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.  Here, Dr. Sant’Angelo initiated his studies aimed at uncovering the factors that define T cell effector functions.  In particular he sought to uncover the genes that induced a subset of T cells, the natural killer T (NKT) cells, to take on “innate-like” characteristics.  These studies led to the discovery that the transcription factor, PLZF (promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger), is the master regulator for NKT cells function. These studies also helped to introduce the PLZF-related family of transcription factors to the immunological community. These genes are proving to be key factors that define and maintain the functional identity of lymphocytes. It is now clear that understanding this gene family will have a profound impact on our understanding of the overall complexity of the immune response.