Message from the Director

Dr. William C. Gause
Dr. William C. Gause,

The CII is RECRUITING new faculty with expertise in a broad range of immunologic interests.. 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

New Faculty Profiles.............


Darin L. Wiesner, PhD
Nicholas J. Bessman, PhD

Darin L. Wiesner, PhD

Dr. Wiesner performed his doctoral training at the University of Minnesota in the Microbiology, Immunology & Cancer Biology graduate program. His PhD dissertation focused on the induction, suppression, and detrimental consequences of helper T cell responses to pulmonary fungal infections. During his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, he expanded this interest in T cells and fungi to examine how proteolytic allergen damage to the airways is sensed and responded to by lung epithelial cells to drive allergic T cell sensitization and asthma. Dr. Wiesner joined faculty at Rutgers-NJMS in the Fall of 2021 where his lab will investigate how stromal tissues in the lung impact T cell responses to fungal pathogens and allergens.

Nicholas J. Bessman, PhD

Dr. Bessman completed undergraduate training in biochemistry at Iowa State University, where his interest in the molecular foundations of health and disease took hold. After working briefly as a lab technician at Duke University, he undertook graduate training in biochemistry & molecular biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania. There, he discovered that the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) can tailor a signaling response to the identity of the activating ligand. Dr. Bessman sought to apply his molecular background to the emerging field of host-microbiota interactions in his post-doctoral research at Weill Cornell Medical School. He subsequently uncovered a novel mode of interaction between immune cells, iron, and the microbiota, with a critical impact on tissue repair after inflammation.

Dr. Bessman opened his research lab in the Center for Immunity and Inflammation at Rutgers NJMS in 2021. The Bessman lab focuses on developing novel in vivo models to probe the interactions between iron, the immune system, growth factor signaling, and the microbiota in the context of inflammatory diseases. The goal of the lab is to discover novel biology with potential for therapeutic impact in diseases like intestinal infection, cancer, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This work is generously supported by DP2 and K01 awards from the National Institutes of Health.

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

William C. Gause, PhD and Patricia Fitzgerald-Bocarsly, PhD were recently named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science...more

Asthma and allergies are chronic health conditions that continue to adversely impact the quality of life for many around the world. Thanks to exciting breakthroughs by Mark Siracusa, a researcher at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, there may be early signs of light at the end of the tunnel.

Novel Therapeutic Strategies May Finally Bring Relief to Those Suffering from Asthma and Allergies | Rutgers Research


In February 2022, Dr. Jason Weinstein, Assistant Professor and Chancellor Scholar, Center for Immunity and Inflammation and Department of Medicine, and his team published a paper in Immunity, identifying a novel Tbet+CD11c+ B cell population that give rise to a unique memory subset enabling rapid and robust recall responses during acute viral infections. Their work demonstrated that a subset of CD4 T cells known as a T follicular helper cell, was specifically required for the generation of Tbet+CD11c+ B cells. Moreover, their work shows that at the resolution of infection, these B cells localized to the red pulp of the spleen, forming a competitive memory subset that contributed to antibody production and secondary germinal center seeding upon re-infection.

In January 2022, Dr. William Gause and Dr. Mark Siracusa and their teams published a paper in Cell reports showing that during helminth infection, monocytes recruited to the lung can assume an alveolar-like macrophage phenotype and differentially express markers associated with tissue remodeling and allergic inflammation, including arginase-1 (Arg1). They further showed that Arg1 mediates helminth killing through depletion of arginine, indicating nutrient deprivation as a novel host resistance mechanism against nematode parasites.

In December 2021, Dr. Yosuke Kumamoto, Assistant Professor, Center for Immunity and Inflammation and Department of Pathology, Immunology & Laboratory Medicine, and his team published a paper in Science Immunology, describing a novel role of a migratory dendritic cell subset in scanning the specificity of CD4T cells in the lymph node. Dr. Naoya Tatsum, the leading author of the paper, demonstrated that depletion of migratory cDC2 cells results in impaired retention of naive CD4T cells in the lymph node and reduced efficacy in CD4T cell priming and proposed a new model whereby migratory cDC2 cells function as an immunological "display window" to attract CD4T cells for scanning their repertoire.

In November 2021, Dr. Karen Edelblum, Assistant Professor and Chancellor Scholar, Center for Immunity and Inflammation and Department of Pathology, Immunology & Laboratory Medicine, and colleagues published a study in Gastroenterology demonstrating a novel role for y8 intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) in facilitating the shedding of apoptotic intestinal epithelial cells into the gut lumen, which when dysregulated is correlated with relapse in inflammatory bowel disease. Dr. Madeleine Hu, first author on the study demonstrated that y8 intraepithelial lymphocytes make extended contact with shedding apoptotic enterocytes and facilitate this process through CD103 (aEb7integrin)-mediated release of extracellular granzymes. The frequency of y8 IELs interactions with apoptotic epithelial cells is increased in biopsies from Crohn’s disease patients, suggesting that targeting CD103 or using a pan-β7 inhibitor may be a viable approach to control excessive TNF-induced cell shedding and prevent relapse in Crohn’s disease patients.