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Penelope Morel M.D.

  • Professor, Department of Immunology
  • Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology
  • Member, University of Pittsburgh Arthritis Institute
  • Member, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
  • Affiliate, Center for Vaccine Research
  • PMI Graduate Faculty

    Education & Training

  • Postdoc - Univ. Pittsburgh
  • Postdoc - Stanford Univ
  • Postdoc - Scripps Clin. Res. Fndn.
  • M.D. - Univ. Geneva Fac. Med.
  • B.M. - Univ. Southampton Medical School
Representative Publications

A Jenner, R Aogo, S Alfonso, V Crowe, PA Morel, CL Davis, AM Smith, M Craig. COVID-19 virtual patient cohort suggests immune mechanisms driving disease outcomes. 2021. PLoS Pathogens 17(7):e1009753.

S Wu, H Huang, R Sun, DS Gao, F Ye, J Huang, E Li, A Ni, KG Lu, K Chen, J Jiang, PA Morel, Z Zhong, B Lu. Synergism between IL21 and anti-PD-1 combination therapy is underpinned by the coordinated transformation of the immune cellular network in the tumor microenvironment. 2023. Cancer Res. Comm. 3:1460-1472

Y Jin, H Yuan, I Mehta O Ezenwa, and PA. Morel. Alternatively spliced variants of murine CD247 influence T cell development and activation revealing the importance of the CD3ζ C-terminal region. 2024. J Immunol. 212:541-550

TLA White, Y Jin, S Roberts, MJ Gable, PA Morel. Phosphorylation of hnRNP A1-Serine199 is not Required for T Cell Differentiation and Function. 2024. ImmunoHorizons. 8:136-146

Morel PA. Differential T cell signals for T helper cell programming. 2018. Immunology 155:63-71

WF Hawse, WC Boggess, PA Morel. TCR signal strength regulates Akt substrate specificity to induce alternate murine Th and T regulatory cell differentiation programs. 2017. J Immunol 199:589-597

Morel PA, Lee RE, Faeder JR. Demystifying the cytokine network: Mathematical models point the way. 2017. Cytokine 98:115-123

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Research Interests

Dendritic cells and the control of autoimmunity and cancer
Mathematical modeling of Th cell differentiation.

Our research is focused on the control of the T cell immune response and we are particulary interested in the factors that determine the differentiation of specific Th cell subsets, including T regulatory cells. This general area of research is being pursued in the several related projects.

Dendritic cells and the control of autoimmunity and cancer

We have identified dendritic cell subsets that protect NOD mice from diabetes development. DC therapy in this context leads to increases in the number of regulatory T cells such as Foxp3+ Treg and Th2 cells. We also observe an increase in Treg in the context of DC vaccines against cancer. We are examining how the DC can be manipulated to either enhance Treg induction in autoimmunity or induce robust anti-tumor immunity.

Mathematical modeling of Th cell differentiation.

This multidisciplinary project studies the important factors necessary to drive Treg and Th cell differentiation using a novel computer model. Predictions from the model are tested experimentally using T cells from TCR transgenic mice, analysis of signaling events and the tracking of immune responses in vivo.