Photo of a virus infected cell


Photo: Virus infected cell courtesy of

The fundamental goal of the research in the Immunology Focus Group is to gain a better understanding of the immune system and how it can be harnessed to benefit human health. Research focuses on understanding mechanisms underlying the host immune response and its contributions to pathology, as well as how the immune system can be manipulated to exert beneficial effects. The faculty trainers in this Focus Group come from a number of departments across campus including the School of Medicine, the School of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Pharmacy, the School of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Research in the Immunology Focus Group spans the spectrum from basic to translational and clinical immunology. Studies are performed in fish, rodents, primates and humans, and involve state of the art techniques and cutting edge technology.

Immunology Focus Group research projects include:

  • Immunotherapy to treat graft versus host disease and various forms of cancer
  • T cell based vaccines for cancer and HIV infection
  • Generation of vaccines against pathogenic fungi
  • HIV-induced immune disorders
  • Mechanisms of immune cell (innate and T cell) memory
  • Effects of Zika virus infection during pregnancy
  • Gut microbiome alterations induced by gender and route of HIV infection
  • Pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis
  • Contributions of the unfolded protein response to arthritis and brucellosis
  • Role of CD8 T cells in acute and chronic viral infections
  • Effects of vitamins on autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease
  • Extracellular nucleotides as modifiers of the immune response and their contributions to asthma
  • Regulation of antigen-specific T regulatory cells and their contribution to allergic inflammation

The following is a link to the Immunology Research Community at the UW-Madison, many of whom are also trainers in the CMB program.


Focus Group Chair Jyoti Watters
Comparative Biosciences Department
Signal transduction and epigenetic regulation of microglial gene transcription and immune function

Focus Group Members

Lisa Arendt

Comparative Biosciences Department

Obesity, breast cancer, mouse models

David Beebe

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Department

Investigating cellular scale phenomena from physical and biological sciences perspectives

Curtis Brandt

Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Department

Virology, Herpes Simplex Virus, antivirals, gene therapy

Christian Capitini

Pediatrics Department

Adoptive cell therapies (NK cell and CAR T cell infusions), Bone marrow transplant, GVHD

Lara Collier

Pharmacy Department

Genetic approaches to studying cancer initiation, progression, and therapy resistance

Loren Denlinger

Medicine Department

Pathogen-host interactions important to airway inflammation

David Evans

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Department

Host-pathogen interactions for HIV and SIV

Thomas Friedrich

Pathobiological Sciences Department

Immunity to influenza and AIDS viruses

Jacques Galipeau

Medicine Department

Regenerative medicine, immunotherapy, synthetic cytokines

Bruce Klein

Pediatrics Department

Immunology and pathogenesis of diseases due to fungi

Peiman Hematti

Medicine Department

Transplantation Immunology and Experimental Cellular Therapy

Anna Huttenlocher

Pediatrics Department

Cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate cell migration and chemotaxis in cancer and inflammation

Tu-Anh Huynh

Food Science Department

C-di-AMP signaling in bacterial physiology and pathogenesis

Melissa Kinney

Biomedical Engineering Department

Stem cell systems biology

Laura Knoll

Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department

Pathogenesis and developmental regulation in the parasite toxoplasma

Yun Liang

Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department

Molecular basis for sexual dimorphism

Colleen McDowell

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Department

Molecular pathways of glaucoma pathogenesis

Douglas McNeel

Medicine Department

Development of immunological treatments, and vaccines in particular, that can eradicate prostate cancer

Shigeki Miyamoto

Oncology Department

Regulatory mechanisms of Rel/NF-kappaB transcription factors

Zachary Morris

Human Oncology

Radiotherapy to immune-modulate tumor microenvironments

Shelby O'Connor

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department

Host immunity to SIV/HIV and Mtb

David O'Connor

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department

Pathogenetics of SIV and HIV Infections

Jon Odorico

Surgery Department

Embryonic stem cells to generate insulin producing cells for the treatment of diabetes and to study pancreatic islet development

Lixin Rui

Medicine Department

Molecular pathogenesis of lymphoma

Krishanu Saha

Biomolecular Chemistry Department

Human stem cell engineering

John-Demian (JD) Sauer

Medical Microbiology & Immunology Department

Host-pathogen interactions

Miriam Shelef

Medicine Department

Immune cells, autoimmunity, and arthritis

Igor Slukvin

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Department

Hematopoietic development from pluripotent stem cells; de novo generation of hematopoietic stem cells

Judith Smith

Pediatrics Department

Stress regulation of cytokine production

Paul Sondel

Pediatrics Department

Clinical immunotherapy of cancer and tumor immunology

Marulasiddappa Suresh

Pathobiological Sciences Department

T cell responses to viral infections

Owen Tamplin

Cell & Regenerative Biology Department

The hematopoietic stem cell niche

John Yin

Chemical & Biological Engineering Department

Molecular virology, computational biology, biochemical engineering

John-Paul (JP) Yu

Radiology Department

Neuroimaging, neuropsychiatric disorders, autism spectrum disorder, schizophrenia, systems neuroscience