Stephen N. Waggoner, PhD

Academic Affiliations

Assistant Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Phone 513-803-4607


Viral immunology; natural killer cells; immunoregulation; vaccines; autoimmunity; immune dysfunction in aging.

Visit the Waggoner Lab.

Stephen Waggoner, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology (CAGE) within the Division of Rheumatology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center within the UC Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Waggoner received his PhD from the University of Virginia, conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and joined the faculty at Cincinnati Children’s in 2013. He has garnered international recognition for his discovery that natural killer (NK) cells play a crucial regulatory role during persistent virus infection involving suppression of virus-specific T cell responses. His lab continues to explore the relevance of this phenomenon to chronic infection, vaccine efficacy, autoimmune disease, and age-associated immune dysfunction.

BA: St. Mary's College of Maryland, St. Mary's City, MD, 2000.

PhD: University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 2007.

Post Doc: University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA.

View PubMed Publications

Severa M, Islam SA, Waggoner SN, Jiang Z, Kim ND, Ryan G, Kurt-Jones E, Charo I, Caffrey DR, Boyartchuk VL, Luster AD, Fitzgerald KA. The transcriptional repressor BLIMP1 curbs host defenses by suppressing expression of the chemokine CCL8. The Journal of Immunology. 2014; 192(5):2291-304.

Waggoner SN, Daniels KA, Welsh RM. Therapeutic depletion of natural killer cells controls persistent infection. Journal of Virology. 2014; 88(4):1953-60.

Cornberg M, Kenney LL, Chen AT, Waggoner SN, Kim SK, Dienes HP, Welsh RM, Selin LK. Clonal exhaustion as a mechanism to protect against severe immuno-pathology and death from an overwhelming CD8 T cell response. Frontiers in Immunology. 2013; 4:475.

Welsh RM, Waggoner SN. NK cells controlling virus-specific T cells: Rheostats for acute vs. persistent infections. Virology. 2013; 435(1):37-45. Review.

Waggoner SN, Kumar V. Evolving role of 2B4/CD244 in T and NK cell responses during virus infection. Frontiers in Immunology. 2012; 3:377. Review.

Waggoner SN, Cornberg M, Selin LK, Welsh RM. Natural killer cells act as rheostats modulating anti-viral T cells. Nature. 2011; 481(7381):394-398.
This paper is “Faculty of 1000 recommended.”

Rathinam VA, Jiang Z, Waggoner SN, Sharma S, Cole LE, Waggoner L, Vanaja SK, Monks BG, Ganesan S, Latz E, Hornung V, Vogel SN,  Szomolanyi-Tsuda E, Fitzgerald KA. The AIM2 inflammasome is essential for host defense against cytosolic bacteria and DNA viruses. Nature Immunology. 2010; 11(5):395-402.
This paper is “Faculty of 1000 recommended.”

Waggoner SN, Taniguchi RT, Mathew PA, Kumar V, Welsh RM. Absence of mouse 2B4 promotes NK cell–mediated killing of activated CD8+ T cells, leading to prolonged viral persistence and altered pathogenesis. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2010; 120(6): 1925-38.

Waggoner SN, Hall CH, Hahn YS. HCV core protein interaction with gC1q receptor inhibits Th1 differentiation of CD4+ T cells via suppression of dendritic cell IL-12 production. Journal of Leukocyte Biology. 2007; 82(6):1407-1419.

Waggoner SN, Cruise MW, Kassel R, Hahn YS. gC1q receptor ligation selectively down-regulates human interleukin-12 production through activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathway. Journal of Immunology. 2005; 175(7):4706-4714.

Effect of aging on natural killer cell regulation of T cells in viral pathogenesis. Principal Investigator. Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging. July 2012-July 2016.

A revolutionary vaccine approach to prevent HIV infection in substance abuse. Principal Investigator. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Avant-Garde Award For HIV/AIDS Research. June 2014-May 2019.