A photo of Senad Divanovic.

Member, Division of Immunobiology

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics


Biography & Affiliation


My research aims to identify critical knowledge gaps that link immune responses with inflammatory, infectious and metabolic diseases. I gained expertise through the pursuit of studies arising from the reductive analysis of both innate and adaptive immune responses (e.g., TLR, BAFF, Type I IFN and IL-17 signaling) in animal models. These experiences have positioned me well to lead projects aimed at defining the mechanisms underlying immunopathogenesis of various diseases.

Research areas that interest me include immunology, immunometabolism, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and preterm birth. I began my independent research career work at Cincinnati Children's in 2010. My research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 2013.

The overall goal of my research program is to define the fundamental processes, mechanisms and immune pathways underlying disease pathogenesis. My ultimate objective is translational exploitation of such insights for reducing or eliminating the burden of inflammation-associated diseases.

Specifically, the focus of my laboratory is to exploit:

  • The immune pathways underlying obesity development and adipocyte-immune like behavior
  • The immune pathways underling increased infectious susceptibility in obesity
  • Immunopathogenesis of NAFLD
  • Obesity-dependent vertical transmission of adverse offspring health outcomes
  • Immunopathogenesis of preterm birth
  • The role of thermoneutral housing on immune responses and disease pathogenesis

Further, our experimental models are supported by established and ever-developing platforms of primary human samples from individuals clinically stratified into respective disease categories.

Some of my most notable discoveries include identifying RP105 as a negative regulator of TLR4 signaling, demonstrating how IL-17 axis functions in the regulation of NAFLD progression and employing thermoneutrality as an improved, more “human-like” approach, to study inflammatory and metabolic diseases.

It is my honor to have received several awards, including:

  • 2012 Trustee Award, Cincinnati Children’s
  • 2018 Milstein Award, International Cytokine & Interferon Society (ICIS)
  • 2018 Top 7 Breakthrough Discoveries, Cincinnati Children’s
  • 2020 Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation (CCRF) Endowed Scholar
  • 2018 Innovative Basic Science Award, American Diabetes Association (ADA)
  • 2015 Preterm Birth Initiative Award, Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Clinical Interests

Innate immune responses; obesity; NAFLD; preterm birth; echocardiography; fetal cardiology; Cardiology Consult Service; General Cardiology Outpatient Clinic

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Research Divisions

Immunobiology, Inflammation and Tolerance

Blog Posts

Study reveals potential new way to burn fat faster

Diabetes and Obesity

Study reveals potential new way to burn fat faster

Senad Divanovic, PhD5/18/2021

Research Reveals Potential Treatment to Prevent Obesity-Driven Liver Damage

Diabetes and Obesity

Research Reveals Potential Treatment to Prevent Obesity-Driven Liver Damage

Senad Divanovic, PhD5/17/2021

How a Fat Cell’s Immune Response Makes Obesity Worse

Diabetes and Obesity

How a Fat Cell’s Immune Response Makes Obesity Worse

Senad Divanovic, PhD6/2/2020

‘Thermoneutral’ Mouse Model Opens Doors for Obesity Research

Tools for Science

‘Thermoneutral’ Mouse Model Opens Doors for Obesity Research

Senad Divanovic, PhD7/3/2019


BA: DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, 1998.

MS: Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 2000.

PhD: University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, 2005.

Post Doc: Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, 2010


Implications of Inflammatory States on Dysfunctional Immune Responses in Aging and Obesity. Thomas, AL; Alarcon, PC; Divanovic, S; Chougnet, CA; Hildeman, DA; Moreno-Fernandez, ME. 2021; 2.

The induction of preterm labor in rhesus macaques is determined by the  strength of immune response to intrauterine infection. Cappelletti, M; Presicce, P; Feiyang, M; Senthamaraikannan, P; Miller, LA; Pellegrini, M; Sim, MS; Jobe, AH; Divanovic, S; Way, SS; et al. PLoS Biology. 2021; 19.

Hepatic Steatosis in Infancy: The Beginning of Pediatric Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease?. McNelis, K; Yodoshi, T; Divanovic, S; Gandhi, C; Kim, JH; Anton, CG; Trout, AT; Mouzaki, M. 2021; 2.

PIR-B Regulates CD4+ IL17a+ T-Cell Survival and Restricts T-Cell-Dependent Intestinal Inflammatory Responses. Uddin, J; Tomar, S; Sharma, A; Waggoner, L; Ganesan, V; Marella, S; Yang, Y; Noah, T; Vanoni, S; Patterson, A; et al. CMGH Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2021; 12:1479-1502.

Aging mitigates the severity of obesity-associated metabolic sequelae in a gender independent manner. Moreno-Fernandez, ME; Sharma, V; Stankiewicz, TE; Oates, JR; Doll, JR; Damen, MS M A; Almanan, MA T A; Chougnet, CA; Hildeman, DA; Divanovic, S. Nutrition and Diabetes. 2021; 11.

PKM2-dependent metabolic skewing of hepatic Th17 cells regulates pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Moreno-Fernandez, ME; Giles, DA; Oates, JR; Chan, CC; Damen, MS M A; Doll, JR; Stankiewicz, TE; Chen, X; Chetal, K; Karns, R; et al. Cell Metabolism. 2021; 33:1187-1204.e9.

Thermoneutrality Alters Gastrointestinal Antigen Passage Patterning and Predisposes to Oral Antigen Sensitization in Mice. Noah, TK; Lee, JB; Brown, CA; Yamani, A; Tomar, S; Ganesan, V; Newberry, RD; Huffnagle, GB; Divanovic, S; Hogan, SP. Frontiers in Immunology. 2021; 12.

Obeticholic acid ameliorates severity of Clostridioides difficile infection in high fat diet-induced obese mice. Jose, S; Mukherjee, A; Horrigan, O; Setchell, KD R; Zhang, W; Moreno-Fernandez, ME; Andersen, H; Sharma, D; Haslam, DB; Divanovic, S; et al. Mucosal Immunology. 2021; 14:500-510.

Purification and Functional Characterization of the Chloroform/Methanol-Soluble Protein 3 (CM3) From Triticum aestivum in Drosophila melanogaster. Thiel, AL; Ragab, M; Wagner, AE; Divanovic, S; Derer, S; Sina, C. Frontiers in Nutrition. 2020; 7.

Type I interferon sensing unlocks dormant adipocyte inflammatory potential. Chan, CC; Damen, MS M A; Moreno-Fernandez, ME; Stankiewicz, TE; Cappelletti, M; Alarcon, PC; Oates, JR; Doll, JR; Mukherjee, R; Chen, X; et al. Nature Communications. 2020; 11.