The Immunology Graduate Program (ImmGP) is an inter-departmental program within the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children’s that offers PhD and MS degrees in Immunology. The program is managed by Director Dr. David Hildeman, and a steering committee composed of members of several departments/divisions at Cincinnati Children's and UC. Dr. Jonathan Katz is the Director of the MS program. Notably, the ImmGP is partially supported through an NIH T32 training grant, “Pathogenesis and therapeutic targeting of Immune disorders”.

The ImmGP provides broadly based instruction in immunology, along with rigorous research training that emphasizes cutting-edge approaches to understanding the function of the immune system in health and disease. To this end, the program currently has 51 faculty members from 6 departments and 15 divisions within UC College of Medicine and Cincinnati Children's. We currently have a total of 44 outstanding students (31 PhD students and 11 MS students) from around the country and abroad. This academic year we celebrated the graduation of 9 PhD students and 6 MS students. Graduates are highlighted on the below student lists in bold. Our students have distinguished themselves this year by receiving several travel and research awards (Provost Graduate Fellowship, Yates Scholarship Award, and an NIH F31 Award).

The program is supported financially by a variety of sources. This year, tuition support was provided through University Graduate Scholarships awarded by UC. Student stipends were supported through a variety of sources including funds from an NIH T32 training grant, UC, NIH NRSA grants, external grants to their advisors, and funds from Cincinnati Children's Research Foundation.

In spring 2013, the ImmGP established an International Research Training Group (IRTG) with the University of Lübeck/Research Center Borstel in Lübeck, Germany. Largely due to the dedication and stellar research programs of the faculty here at Cincinnati Children's, this international grant was renewed again earlier this year.

The research focus of the IRTG is:

  1. Humoral and Cellular Pathways of Allergic Inflammation
  2. Immuno-regulation of infection-driven inflammation

Students interested in research projects encompassed by these areas may have the opportunity to study and perform research in the beautiful city of Lübeck in north-central Germany for a 3-6 month period. Over this last year, the ImmGP hosted 9 research scholars (7 grad students and 2 med students from the University of Lubeck and the Research Center Borstel in Germany).

Doctoral Students

Students in bold graduated with their PhD.

Start Year Student Name Lab
2011 Dan Giles Divanovic
2011 Mike Horwath Deepe
2011 Kun-Po Li Hildeman
2011 Sara Stoffers Lewkowich
2012 Maha Almanan Hildeman
2012 Laura Brungs S Thompson
2012 Jeremy Kinder Way
2012 Xioaming Lu Harley
2012 Shannon Rapovy Qualls
2012 Carolyn Rydyznski Waggoner
2013 Paige Bolcas Rotating
2013 Kaitlin Carroll Rotating
2013 Jonathan Fletcher Ratner
2013 Courtney Jackson Chougnet
2013 Zubin Patel Harley
2013 Andrew Patterson Hoebe
2013 Jared Travers Rothenberg
2014 Tony Jiang Way
2014 Katelyn Melgar Starczynowski
2014 Anna Sliz Hoebe
2014 Kathryn Sullivan Herr
2015 Sara Abrahams Flick
2015 Calvin Chan Divanovic
2015 Sydney Felker Mailk
2015 Seth Reighard Waggoner
2015 Sharmila Shanmuganad Hildeman
2015 Amnah Yamani Hogan
2016 Corinne Foley Hwa
2016 Tammy Hunter Herr
2016 Tzu-Yu Shao  
2016 Alyssa Thomas Janssen
2016 Jazib Uddin Hogan
2016 Nicholas Weaver Spearman
2016 Adrienne Wilburn Divanovi

MS Students

Students in bold graduated with their MS.

Start Year Student Name Lab
2013 Reshmi Indulga N/A
2015 Abigail Johnson Haslam
2015 Caroline Patel Ridgeway
2015 Sushmitha Vallabh Barski
2015 Brynne Whitacre Caldwell
2015 Fazeela Yaqoob Waggoner
2016 Rachel Cantrell Janssen
2016 Lakshmi Prakruthi Rao Venkata Barski
2016 Sribava Sharma Wang
2016 Vishaka Sharma Divanovic
2016 Jake (Joseph) Stevens Katz

Student Awards

Maha Almanan 2012: AAI Travel Award and AAI Oral Presentation Award

Kate Carroll 2013: 1st place for outstanding poster presentation: ORVCA Annual Conference (travel award)

Courtney Jackson 2013 - 2017: AAI Trainee Abstract Award- Immunology Washington, D.C.2017 Immunology Washington, D.C.

Jeremy Kinder Alum: Dissertation chosen to represent the University of Cincinnati for the national CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Awards

Shannon Lange (Rapovy) 2012: AIC 2016 oral presentation award

Xiaoming Lu 2012: Data Analysis Competition Reward;  MS Business Analytics Students Place 4th (1st US Team) in Prestigious INFORMS Operations Research and Analytics International Student Competition. Read More.

Laura McIntosh (Brungs) 2012: ACR travel awards: Student and Resident ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting Scholarship and Student Achievement Award and Poster Presentation Award: 2016 Annual Immunology Retreat

Jarren Oates 2017: Provost Graduate Fellowship and Yates Scholarship

Carolyn Rydyznski 2012: AAI trainee abstract award

Katelyn Melgar 2014: CancerFree Christmas Research Grant - CancerFree Kids 2017; Minority Graduate Student Abstract Achievement Award - ASH Annual Meeting 2016; CancerFree Kids - Grant that's award to researchers at Cincinnati Children's and/or OSU. $50,000 to go toward research costs

Fellowship, Grants

Katelyn Melgar 2014: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD Fellowship, 1F31CA217140-01, Role: PI. Project Title: Novel mechanisms and therapeutic strategies of refractory leukemia

Student Publications

Maha Almanan 2012

  • Almanan M, Raynor J, Sholl A, Wang M, Chougnet C, Cardin RD, Hildeman DA.  Tissue-specific control of latent CMV reactivation by regulatory T cells.  PLoS Pathog. 2017 Aug 10;13(8):e1006507. PMID: 28796839

Kate Carroll 2013

  • Carey AN, Zhang W, Setchell KDR, Simmons JR, Shi T, Lages CS, Mullen M, Carroll K, Karns R, Bessho K, Sheridan R, Zhao X, Weeber SN, Miethke AG. Hepatic MDR3 expression impacts lipid homeostasis and susceptibility to inflammatory bile duct obstruction in neonates.  Pediatr Res. 2017 May 3. PMID: 28355206
  • Li KP, Shanmuganad S, Carroll K, Katz JD, Jordan MB, Hildeman DA.  Dying to protect: cell death and the control of T-cell homeostasis.  Immuno Rev. 2017 May; 277(1):21-43. PMID: 28462527
  • McNally JP, Millen SH, Chaturvedi V, Lakes N, Terrell CE, Elfers EE, Carroll KR, Hogan SP, Andreassen PR, Kanter J, Allen CE, Henry MM, Greenberg JN, Ladisch S, Hermiston ML, Joyce M, Hildeman DA, Katz JD, Jordan MB. Manipulating DNA damage-response signaling for the treatment of immune-mediated diseases. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Jun 13;114(24):E4782-E4791.  PMID:  28533414

Calvin Chan 2015

  • Giles DA, Moreno-Fernandez ME, Stankiewicz TE, Graspeuntner S, Cappelletti M, Wu D, Mukherjee R, Chan CC, Lawson MJ, Klarquist J, Sünderhauf A, Softic S, Kahn CR, Stemmer K, Iwakura Y, Aronow BJ, Karns R, Steinbrecher KA, Karp CL, Sheridan R, Shanmukhappa SK, Reynaud D, Haslam DB, Sina C, Rupp J, Hogan SP, Divanovic S. Thermoneutral housing exacerbates nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice and allows for sex-independent disease modeling. Nat Med. 2017 Jul;23(7):829-838. doi: 10.1038/nm.4346. Epub 2017 Jun 12.
  • Cappelletti M, Presicce P, Lawson MJ, Chaturvedi V, Stankiewicz TE, Vanoni S, Harley IT, McAlees JW, Giles DA, Moreno-Fernandez ME, Rueda CM, Senthamaraikannan P, Sun X, Karns R, Hoebe K, Janssen EM, Karp CL, Hildeman DA, Hogan SP, Kallapur SG, Chougnet CA, Way SS, Divanovic S.  Type I interferons regulate susceptibility to inflammation-induced preterm birth.  JCI Insight. 2017 Mar 9;2(5):e91288. PMID: 28289719

Jonathan Fletcher 2013

  • Choi K, Komurov K, Fletcher JS, Housma E, Cancelas JA, Wu J, Ratner N.  An inflammatory gene signature distinguishes neurofibroma Schwann cells and macrophages from cells in the normal peripheral nervous system.   Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 3;7:43315. doi: 10.1038/srep43315. PMID: 28256556

Daniel Giles 2011

  • Giles DA, Moreno-Fernandez ME, Stankiewicz TE, Graspeuntner S, Cappelletti M, Wu D, Mukherjee R, Chan CC, Lawson MJ, Klarquist J, Sünderhauf A, Softic S, Kahn CR, Stemmer K, Iwakura Y, Aronow BJ, Karns R, Steinbrecher KA, Karp CL, Sheridan R, Shanmukhappa SK, Reynaud D, Haslam DB, Sina C, Rupp J, Hogan SP, Divanovic S. Thermoneutral housing exacerbates nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in mice and allows for sex-independent disease modeling. Nat Med. 2017 Jul;23(7):829-838. doi: 10.1038/nm.4346. Epub 2017 Jun 12.
  • Cappelletti M, Presicce P, Lawson MJ, Chaturvedi V, Stankiewicz TE, Vanoni S, Harley IT, McAlees JW, Giles DA, Moreno-Fernandez ME, Rueda CM, Senthamaraikannan P, Sun X, Karns R, Hoebe K, Janssen EM, Karp CL, Hildeman DA, Hogan SP, Kallapur SG, Chougnet CA, Way SS, Divanovic S.  Type I interferons regulate susceptibility to inflammation-induced preterm birth.  JCI Insight. 2017 Mar 9;2(5):e91288. PMID: 28289719

Michael Horwath 2011

  • Horwath M, Bell-Horwath T, Lescano V, Krishnan K, Merino E, Deepe GS. Antifungal Activity of the Lipophilic Antioxidant Ferrostatin-1. Chembiochem. 2017 Aug 7. PMID:  28783875
  • Hsieh H, Horwath MC, Genter MB.  Zinc gluconate toxicity in wild-type vs. MT1/2-deficient mice.  Neurotoxicology. 2017 Jan;58:130-136. PMID: 27979773
  • Fecher RA, Horwath MC, Friedrich D, Rupp J, Deepe GS Jr.  Inverse Correlation between IL-10 and HIF-1α in Macrophages Infected with Histoplasma capsulatum.  J Immunol. 2016 Jul 15;197(2):565-79.  PMID: 27271565

Tony Jiang 2014

  • Jiang TT, Martinov T, Xin L, Kinder JM, Spanier JA, Fife BT, Way SS.  Programmed Death-1 Culls Peripheral Accumulation of High-Affinity Autoreactive CD4 T Cells to Protect against Autoimmunity.  Jiang TT, Martinov T, Xin L, Kinder JM, Spanier JA, Fife BT, Way SS.  Cell Rep. 2016 Nov 8;17(7):1783-1794. PMID: 27829150

Courtney Jackson 2013

  • Rueda CM, Rodriguez- Perea AL, Moreno-Fernandez M, Jackson CM, Melchoir JT, Davidson WS, Chougnet CA.  High Density Lipoproteins Selectively Promote the Survival of Human Regulatory T-cells. J Lipid Res. 2017 Apr 4. pii: jlr.M072835. PMID: 28377425
  • Feldhoff LM, Rueda CM, Moreno-Fernandez ME, Sauer J, Jackson CM, Chougnet CA, Rupp J.  IL-1β induced HIF-1α inhibits the differentiation of human FOXP3+ T cells.  Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 28;7(1):465. PMID: 28352109
  • Jackson CM, Wells CB, Tabangin ME, Meinzen-Derr J, Jobe AH, Chougnet CA. Pro-inflammatory immune responses in leukocytes of premature infants exposed to maternal chorioamnionitis or funisitis. Pediatr Res. 2017 Feb;81(2):384-390. PMID:  27814345

Jeremy Kinder 2012

  • Jiang TT, Martinov T, Xin L, Kinder JM, Spanier JA, Fife BT, Way SS.  Programmed Death-1 Culls Peripheral Accumulation of High-Affinity Autoreactive CD4 T Cells to Protect against Autoimmunity.  Jiang TT, Martinov T, Xin L, Kinder JM, Spanier JA, Fife BT, Way SS.  Cell Rep. 2016 Nov 8;17(7):1783-1794. PMID: 27829150
  • Kinder JM, STelzer IA, Arck PC, Way SS.  Immunological implications of pregnancy-induced microchimerism.  Nat Rev Immunol.2017 May 8. PMID: 28480895

Kun-Po Li 2011

  • Li KP, Shanmuganad S, Carroll K, Katz JD, Jordan MB, Hildeman DA.  Dying to protect: cell death and the control of T-cell homeostasis.  Immuno Rev. 2017 May; 277(1):21-43. PMID: 28462527
  • Li KP, Fähnrich A, Roy E, Cuda CM, Grimes HL, Perlman HR, Kalies K, Hildeman DA. Temporal Expression of Bim Limits the Development of Agonist-Selected Thymocytes and Skews Their TCRβ Repertoire.  J Immunol. 2017 Jan 1;198(1):257-269. Epub 2016 Nov 16. PMID:  27852740
  • Ladle BH, Li KP, Phillips MJ, Pucsek AB, Haile A, Powell JD, Jaffee EM, Hildeman DA, Gamper CJ.De novo DNA methylation by DNA methyltransferase 3a controls early effector CD8+ T-cell fate decisions following activation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Sep 20;113(38):10631-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1524490113. Epub 2016 Aug 31. PMID:  27582468

Xioaming Lu 2012

  • Miller DE, Patel ZH, Lu X, Lynch AT, Weirauch MT, Kottyan LC.  Screening for Functional Non-coding Genetic Variants Using Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (EMSA) and DNA-affinity Precipitation Assay (DAPA). J Vis Exp. 2016 Aug 21;(114).  PMID: 27585267

Laura McIntosh 2012

  • McIntosh LA, Marion MC, Sudman M, Comeau ME, Becker ML, Bohnsack JF, Fingerlin TE, Griffin TA, Haas JP, Lovell DJ, Maier LA, Nigrovic PA, Prahalad S, Punaro M, Rosé CD, Wallace CA, Wise CA; Boston Children's JIA Registry; German Society for Pediatric Rheumatology (GKJR); JIA Gene Expression Studies; NIAMS JIA Genetic Registry; TREAT Study; Understanding TNF Therapy in JIA Project, Moncrieffe H, Howard TD, Langefeld CD, Thompson SD. Genome-wide association meta-analysis reveals novel juvenile idiopathic arthritis susceptibility loci. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017 Jul 18. PMID: 28719732

Zubin Patel 2013

  • Miller DE, Patel ZH, Lu X, Lynch AT, Weirauch MT, Kottyan LC.  Screening for Functional Non-coding Genetic Variants Using Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay (EMSA) and DNA-affinity Precipitation Assay (DAPA). J Vis Exp. 2016 Aug 21;(114).  PMID: 27585267

Caroline Rydyznski 2012

  • Lee N, Rydyznski CE, Rasch MS, Trinh, Maclennan AJ.  Adult ciliary neurotrophic factor receptors help maintain facial motor neuron choline acetyltransferase expression in vivo following nerve crush. J Comp Neurol. 2017 Apr 1;525(5):1206-1215. Epub 2016 Nov 7.  PMID: 27696410

Sharmilla Shanmuganad 2015

  • Li KP, Shanmuganad S, Carroll K, Katz JD, Jordan MB, Hildeman DA.  Dying to protect: cell death and the control of T-cell homeostasis.  Immuno Rev. 2017 May; 277(1):21-43. PMID: 28462527

KC Locker (Sullivan) 2014

  • Epp A, Sullivan KC, Herr AB, Strait RT. Immunoglobulin Glycosylation Effects in Allergy and Immunity. Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2016 Nov;16(11):79. Review. PMID:  27796794

Jared Travers 2013

  • Rochman M, *Travers J, Miracle CE, Bedard MC, Wen T, Azouz NP, Caldwell JM, KC K, Sherrill JD, Davis BP, Rymer JK, Kaufman KM, Aronow BJ, Rothenberg ME.Profound loss of esophageal tissue differentiation in patients with eosinophilic esophagitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2017 Jan 17. pii: S0091-6749(17)30036-2. PMID: 28104354
  • Travers J, Rochman M, Miracle CE, Cohen JP, Rothenberg ME.  Linking impaired skin barrier function to esophageal allergic inflammation via IL-33.  J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2016 Nov;138(5):1381-1383.  PMID:  27664378
  • Kamal FA, Travers JG, Schafer AE, Ma Q, Devarajan P, Blaxall BC.  G Protein-Coupled Receptor-G-Protein βγ-Subunit Signaling Mediates Renal Dysfunction and Fibrosis in Heart Failure.  Kamal FA, Travers JG, Schafer AE, Ma Q, Devarajan P, Blaxall BC.  J Am Soc Nephrol. 2017 Jan;28(1):197-208. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2015080852. Epub 2016 Jun 13. PMID: 27297948

Whitacre, Brynne  2015 (MS)

  • Kunz N, Xia BT, Kalies Ku, Klinger M, Gemoll T, Habermann JK, Whitcare BE, Seitz AP, Kallies K, Caldwell CC.  Cell-Derived Nanoparticles are Endogenous Modulators of Sepsis with Therapeutic Potential.  Shock. 2017 Feb 22. PMID: 28230708

Amnah Yamani  2016

  • Richgels PK, Yamani A, Chougnet CA, Lewkowich IP. Maternal house dust mite exposure during pregnancy enhances severity of house dust mite-induced asthma in murine offspring.  J  Allergy Clin Immuol. 2017 Feb 9. pii: S0091-6749(17)30220-8. PMID: 28192144

Presentations

Maha Almanan 2012

  • Type 1 regulatory T cells (Tr1) homeostasis and function in aging. Aging and Immunity Symposium 2017, Oral and Poster Presentation 
  • Type 1 regulatory T cells (Tr1) homeostasis and function in aging. (AAI 2017 Washington, DC) Oral and Poster Presentation 

Kate Carroll 2013 

  • Extending the Utility of Mitoxantrone by p53 Potentiation in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Sclerosis, University of Cincinnati Graduate Student Expo, University of Cincinnati; Poster presentation
  • Extending the Utility of Mitoxantrone by p53 Potentiation in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Sclerosis, University of Cincinnati Graduate Student Research Forum, Cincinnati OH; Poster presentation
  • Extending the Utility of Mitoxantrone by p53 Potentiation in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis and Multiple Sclerosis, Ohio River Valley Cytometry Association Annual Conference, Cincinnati OH; Poster presentation
  • Prolonging Remission and Reversing New Onset Type 1 Diabetes by the Targeted Manipulation of p53 and Cell Cycle Checkpoints to Selectively Eliminate Autoreactive T Cells, Keystone Symposia "Cell Death and Inflammation," Dublin, Ireland; Poster presentation

Calvin Chan - 2015

  • Activation of the Type I IFN/IFNAR Axis Promotes Adipocyte Inflammatory Vigor and Pathogenesis of Obesity-Associated Sequelae, Keystone Symposia: Obesity and Adipose Tissue, Keystone, CO; Poster presentation
  • Activation of the Type I IFN/IFNAR Axis Promotes Adipocyte Inflammatory Vigor and Pathogenesis of Obesity-Associated Sequelae, MSTP Spring Retreat; Poster presentation

Mike Horwath 2011

  • Unexpected Antifungal Potency of Ferrostatin-1, University of Cincinnati MSTP retreat. Hueston Woods State Park,  4/22/2017; Oral presentation

Courtney Jackson 2013

  • Emergence of inflammatory Treg in premature fetal Rhesus macaques in a model of LPS-induced chorioamnionitis  2017 AAI Trainee Abstract Award- Immunology Washington, D.C.2017 Immunology Washington, D.C.; Poster presentation
  • Emergence of inflammatory Treg in premature fetal Rhesus macaques in a model of LPS-induced chorioamnionitis AAI; Poster presentation

Katelyn Melgar 2014

  • Molecular analysis and in vivo efficacy studies on a novel chemical series of FLT3 inhibitors in human FLT3-ITD AML. ASH 58th Annual Meeting and Exposition. San Diego, CA. December 2016; Oral presentation

Laura McIntosh (Brungs) 2012

  • Genome-wide association reveals novel juvenile idiopathic arthritis susceptibility loci, American College of Rheumatology, Washington D.C.; Oral presentation

Zubin Patel 2013

  • A plausibly causal functional lupus-associated risk variant in the STAT1-STAT4 locus ASCI-AAP-APSA Joint Meeting - Chicago, IL; Poster presentation
  • Identification of SLE-associated risk variants in the STAT1-STAT4 locus and their effect on differential Transcription Factor Binding, ASHG Annual Meeting - Vancouver, BC, Canada; Poster presentation

Seth Reighard 2015

  • The Therapeutic Potential of Natural Killer Cells in Treating Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Immunology 2017 Washington, DC; Poster presentation

Carolyn Rydyznski 2012

  • Natural killer cells modulate B cell affinity maturation in an antigen dose-dependent manner, AAI Annual meeting 2017; Oral and poster presentation

Jared Travers 2013

  • Dynamic binding to chromatin regulates the extracellular release of interleukin-33 (IL-33) American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, 2017; Poster presentation

Tzu-Yu Shao 2016

  • Optimizing a liposomal drug delivery strategy to target dendritic cells. 45th Autumn Immunology Conference, Chicago. November 2016.; Poster presentation

Sushmitha Vallabh 2015 (MS)

  • Epigenetic reprogramming at the Il4 locus in Th2 cells, Digestive Health Center, Cincinnati Children's; Poster presentation

Amnah Yamani  2014 (MS)

  • Dysregulation of Vascular Endothelial Function in Severe Anaphylaxis, Autumn Immunology Conference Chicago; oral presentation and a poster presentation
  • Vascular endothelial specific IL-4Rα-signaling axis regulates severity of IgE-mediated anaphylactic reactions, AAAAI Atlanta; Poster presentation

Fazeela Yaqoob 2015

  • The Transcription Factor PU.1 Is Enriched At Inflammatory Bowel Disease Risk Loci In CD56+ Cells, Digestive Health Center Annual symposium-2017 Cincinnati Children's; Poster presentation