Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Faculty Profiles: MIC

Microbiology and Immunology


Maria Abreu, MD

Maria Abreu, MD

Chief, Division of Gastroenterology
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
mabreu1@med.miami.edu


Rebecca Adkins, PhD

Rebecca Adkins, PhD

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
radkins@med.miami.edu

Neonatal, Developmental immunology, T helper function, Epigenetics, Inflammation, Intestinal infection


Samita Andreansky, PhD

Samita Andreansky, PhD

Research Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
sandreansky@med.miami.edu


Glen Barber, PhD

Glen Barber, PhD

Associate Director, Basic Science for SCCC
Professor, Division of Hematology/Oncology
gbarber@med.miami.edu


Bonnie Blomberg, PhD

Bonnie Blomberg, PhD

Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
bblomber@med.miami.edu

Our laboratory has shown that in aged mice and humans the antibody/B cell response is decreased and biomarkers for this are decreased IgG class switching, the enzyme for this, AID, and increased inflammatory cytokines (e.g. TNF-a) in serum and B cells. We are currently investigating the effect of adipose tissue in this process. We also collaborate with Dr. M Antoni where we measure inflammation and the immune system in breast cancer patients in response to CBSM (cognitive behavioral stress management).


Zhibin Chen, PhD

Zhibin Chen, PhD

Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
zchen@med.miami.edu

My laboratory studies immunological mechanisms and interventions of cancer and diabetes. We build animal models to mimic the genetic and genomic risks of human diseases. We use the in vivo models to examine the cause and effect of disease biology at cellular and molecular levels, identify potential biomarkers for disease progression, and test potential interventions for disease prevention and treatment.


Eli Gilboa, PhD

Eli Gilboa, PhD

Co-Leader, Tumor Immunology Research Program
Director, Dodson Interdisciplinary Immunotherapy Institute
Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
egilboa@med.miami.edu

Dr. Gilboa has authored or co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and books on a variety of topics in gene therapy, tumor immunology and infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS. He approaches immune therapy in cancer from several fronts, working to boost the body’s immune response against the tumor, but also to overcome the propensity of tumors to suppress the immune system.


Sheldon Greer, PhD

Sheldon Greer, PhD

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
sgreer@med.miami.edu


Roland Jurecic, PhD

Roland Jurecic, PhD

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Associate Professor, Cell Biology and Anatomy
rjurecic@med.miami.edu

The research in the lab focuses on: (1) Molecular pathways that regulate self-renewal and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and cancer stem cells, (2) Novel multi-target immunosuppressive approaches to treat immune-mediated Aplastic Anemia and bone marrow failure, (3) Characterization and mitigation of long-term effects of cancer chemotherapy on HSC function, hematopoiesis and immune system function,  (4) Characterization and mitigation of acute and delayed effects of ionizing radiation on the hematopoietic system and HSC function, and (5) Characterization of molecular and cellular pathways regulating emergency hematopoiesis in response to bacterial and viral infections.


Norma Kenyon, PhD

Norma Kenyon, PhD

Martin Kleiman Professor, Surgery
Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
Professor, Biomedical Engineering
Executive Director, Center for Translational Research
Senior Associate Dean, Translational Science
nkenyon@med.miami.edu


Wasif Khan, PhD

Wasif Khan, PhD

Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
wnkhan@med.miami.edu

Our experimental approaches include in vivo experiments using gene-targeted mice, ex vivo analysis of immune cells by flow cytometry, cell adhesion and migration, global gene expression (NGS) and in vitro biochemical analysis of posttranslational modification of signaling proteins. Identification and functional relevance of critical molecules in immunity, autoimmunity and lymphoid malignancies will facilitate the development of next generation of biological and more precise therapeutics.


Michael Kolber, MD, PhD

Michael Kolber, MD, PhD

Clinical Director, HIV
Director, Adult HIV Services
Director, Comprehensive AIDS Program
Professor, Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology, Public Health Sciences
Vice Chair, Clinical Affairs
mkolber@med.miami.edu


Krishna Komanduri, MD

Krishna Komanduri, MD

Medical Director, Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
kkomanduri@med.miami.edu


Robert Levy, PhD

Robert Levy, PhD

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
rlevy@med.miami.edu

My laboratory’s research objective is to understand the biology of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HSCT) which are utilized to treat patients with hematologic disorders (ex. leukemia / lymphoma) and enzyme deficiencies.  We employ experimental HSCT models involving defined genetic differences reflecting clinical donors and recipients to study mechanisms underlying the major immunological complication, i.e. graft vs. host disease as well as immune reconstitution and anti-tumor immunity in an effort to develop therapeutic approaches (i.e. Treg cells / IL-2 / epigenetic regulation) to translate into the clinic here at UM/ Sylvester.


Mathias Lichtenheld, MD

Mathias Lichtenheld, MD

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
mlichten@med.miami.edu

Research by our laboratory and its collaborators has evolved from understanding how CD8+ T-cells and NK cells can kill to how chromatin structures and transcription factors control their expression of the killer proteins.  Because of the critical role of these cells in antiviral and antitumor immunity, we expanded our interests to HIV/AIDS and how CD8+ T-cells should be programmed to function optimally in anti-tumor therapy.  Our newest line of research characterizes the mechanism by which perforin-2, a pore forming molecule with significant homology to perforin-1, the essential killer protein of CD8+ T-cells and NK cells, can take a “first shot” at shared enemies.


Diana Lopez, PhD

Diana Lopez, PhD

Director, Undergraduate Program
Professor
d.lopez1@med.miami.edu


Thomas Malek, PhD

Thomas Malek, PhD

Vice Chair, Microbiology & Immunology
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
tmalek@med.miami.edu

We study basic mechanisms controlling regulatory T lymphocyte development and function. Ongoing work aims to translate these finding by developing new therapies for autoimmunity through approaches that boost regulatory T cell number and function. Another area of interest is to understand the mechanisms that promote robust T cell memory and apply this information to enhance tumor immunotherapy.


Enrique Mesri, PhD

Enrique Mesri, PhD

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
emesri@med.miami.edu

Dr. Mesri’s laboratory is currently working on: 1) Identifying the cell progenitor of KS. 2) Novel anti-viral interventions in KS 3) Novel use of a mouse infectious model for a KSHV like virus (MHV-68) to understand in vivo biology 4) Identifying normal genetic polymorphisms that predispose to KS 5) Using next generation sequencing to study KS pathogenesis and response to therapy 6) Study KSHV and HIV oncogenic interactions.


George Munson, PhD

George Munson, PhD

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
gmunson@miami.edu


In broad terms, our research is geared toward understanding the molecular “arms race” between bacterial pathogens and the innate immune system. Specifically, we are working to elucidate the molecular mechanism(s) of Perforin-2-dependent destruction of extracellular bacteria. We are also working to identify and characterize bacterial factors of enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC), Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, pandrug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, and multidrug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii that thwart Perforin-2-dependent killing.


Savita Pahwa, MD

Savita Pahwa, MD

Professor, Microbiology & Immunology
Director, Miami Center for AIDS Research
Spahwa@med.miami.edu

Our group is interested in the immunopathogenesis of HIV infection for the understanding of the nature and mechanisms of immune dysfunction in HIV infected pediatric and adult patients. We hope that our studies will help in developing strategies for immune reconstitution, and for aborting disease progression in HIV infected subjects.


Richard Pastori, PhD

Richard Pastori, PhD

Director, DRI Molecular Biology Laboratory
Research Professor
rpastori@med.miami.edu


Gregory Plano, PhD

Gregory Plano, PhD

Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
gplano@med.miami.edu

The research in my laboratory is focused on mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis. In general, these studies have been focused on a virulence mechanism termed type III secretion (T3S). Gram-negative bacterial pathogens use the T3S process to directly inject anti-host proteins termed effector proteins into targeted eukaryotic cells. Ongoing research projects include the characterization of three novel T3S effector proteins encoded in the genome of Yersinia pestis, the agent of plague.  A second active project is characterizing the role of the Y. pestis Ail outer membrane protein in the injection of T3S effector proteins, attachment to host cells and in resistance to complement. We are also characterizing the mechanism by which bacterial pathogens suppress the expression of Perforin-2.v


Lisa Plano, MD, PhD

Lisa Plano, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
lplano@med.miami.edu


Alberto Pugliese, MD

Alberto Pugliese, MD

Head, Immunogenetics Program, Diabetes Research Institute
Professor, Medicine
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
apuglies@med.miami.edu


Camillo Ricordi, MD

Camillo Ricordi, MD

Chief, Cellular Transplantation
Professor, Surgery
Professor, Medicine
cricordi@med.miami.edu


Richard Riley, PhD

Richard Riley, PhD

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Associate Dean, Preclinical Curriculum
rriley@med.miami.edu

The research in the Riley laboratory focuses upon the molecular and cellular regulation of B lymphocyte development. In particular, the processes that down-regulate immune functions in old age and other conditions of immunodeficiency are under study.


Joseph Rosenblatt, MD

Joseph Rosenblatt, MD

Professor, Medicine
Chief, Hematology- Oncology
William J. Harrington Chair in Hematology
jrosenblatt@med.miami.edu


Kurt Schesser, PhD

Kurt Schesser, PhD

Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
kschesser@med.miami.edu

Identifying and characterizing host factors that impact the intracellular infection cycle of bacterial pathogens.


Paolo Serafini, PhD

Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
pserafini@med.miami.edu

I am focusing my studies on the relationship between MDSC and CD4+CD25+ natural Treg, and I’m developing a clinical trial for the use of PDE5 inhibitors as immune adjuvant in the treatment of human malignancies.


Noula Shembade, PhD

Noula Shembade, PhD

Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
nshembade@med.miami.edu

Uncontrolled activation of innate immune receptors by the pathogens can cause chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. My laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms of negative regulation of the transcription factor NF-κB activated by the innate immune receptors. Activation of NF-κB is critical to eliminate pathogens and to maintain tissue homeostasis. NF-κB activation needs to be tightly regulated after the danger is eliminated. The ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20 complex tightly regulates NF-κB activation. The mechanisms of the ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20 complex activation are not known. Thus, we wish to understand the mechanisms that activate the A20 complex and lead to termination of NF-κB activation and maintenance of tissue homeostasis.


Mario Stevenson, PhD

Mario Stevenson, PhD

Professor, Medicine
Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases
mstevenson@med.miami.edu

Research in the Stevenson lab is aimed at understanding how HIV-1 persists in the face of antiretroviral suppression. While antivirals can control viral replication, they don’t eliminate the virus and identifying how the virus persists is key to developing strategies to cure the infection. The lab is also trying to harness the antiviral activity of cellular factors known as antiviral restrictions. Several host proteins have been identified that potently suppress HIV-1 replication. However, the virus has evolved counter defenses that neutralize these antiviral restrictions. We are developing small molecules that neutralize viral defenses so as to allow the antiviral restrictions to neutralize the virus.


Geoffrey Stone, PhD

Geoffrey Stone, PhD

Group Leader, HIV Immunotherapy Program
Research Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
gstone@med.miami.edu

We study basic mechanisms controlling regulatory T lymphocyte development and function. Ongoing work aims to translate these finding by developing new therapies for autoimmunity through approaches that boost regulatory T cell number and function. Another area of interest is to understand the mechanisms that promote robust T cell memory and apply this information to enhance tumor immunotherapy.


Emmanuel Thomas, MD, PhD

Emmanuel Thomas, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor, Cell Biology
ethomas1@med.miami.edu

The mission of Dr. Thomas’s program is to develop integrated, multidisciplinary approaches to the study of liver cancer/liver diseases and to bridge clinical medicine and basic science with translation of fundamental knowledge to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of liver diseases.  The laboratory mainly focuses on viral hepatitis (Hepatitis B and C) and has developed models to study interactions between these viruses and cells in the liver including hepatocytes and macrophages.  Cellular pathways studied include innate antiviral responses and the contribution ofthese pathways in oncogenesis.


Marta Torroella-Kouri, PhD

Marta Torroella-Kouri, PhD

Research Associate Professor
mtorroella@med.miami.edu

Chronic inflammation and cancer. The role of macrophages in cancer; impairment in macrophage inflammatory functions as a result of tumor-induced immune suppression; breast cancer in obesity; breast cancer and high fat diets in the absence of obesity: macrophages in breast adipose tissue and their role in breast cancer.