Christine Milcarek, PhD

Christine Milcarek, PhD


Office: E1054 BST

Lab: E1011, E1008 BST

Ph: 412-648-9098

Fax: 412-383-8096


  • B.S. - Duquesne University
  • Ph.D. - Johns Hopkins University
  • Postdoc - Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Academic Affiliation

  • Professor, Immunology
  • Member, Graduate Programs in Immunology and Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
  • Chair, Committee on the Status of Women, American Association of Immunologists (2007-2009)
  • Member, Committee on the Status of Women, American Association of Immunologists (2006-2009)

About Research

We are interested in understanding the regulation of heavy chain immunoglobulin (Ig) RNA processing and the development of immunological memory during B-cell development. Alterations in the homeostatic regulation of Ig secretion may result in immunodeficiency -like states while overproduction can occur in diseases like amyloidosis or myeloma. Understanding the basic mechanisms of secretory mRNA production may lead to insights for control and disease amelioration.

Selected Publications


Ashley M Nelson, Nolan T Carew, Sage M Smith, Christine Milcarek, (2018) RNA Splicing in the Transition from B Cells to Antibody-Secreting Cells: The Influences of ELL2, Small Nuclear RNA, and Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress. J Immunol. 2018 Oct 8. pii: ji1800557. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1800557 

S. Cascio, T.A. Medsger, W.F. Hawse, S.C. Watkins, C. Milcarek, L.W. Moreland, R.A. Lafyatis, P. Fuschiotti (2017) 14-3-3z sequesters cytosolic T-bet, up-regulating IL-13 in Tc2 and CD8+ lymphocytes from patients with scleroderma.  J Allergy & Clinical Immunology Nov 15, pii: S0091-6749: 31760-8. PMID 29155097.

Ashley M. Nelson and Christine Milcarek. (2017) Transcription elongation factor ELL2 in antibody secreting cells, myeloma, and HIV infection: a full measure of activity, Current Trends in Immunology, Vol. 18, 1 – 11

Park KS, Bayles I, Szlachta-McGinn A, Paul J, Boiko J, Santos P, Liu J, Wang Z, Borghesi L, Milcarek CTranscription Elongation Factor ELL2 Drives Ig Secretory-Specific mRNA Production and the Unfolded Protein Response. J Immunol. 2014 Sep 19. pii: 1401608. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 25238757

Feng R, Milcarek CA, Xie XQ. Antagonism of cannabinoid receptor 2 pathway suppresses IL-6-induced immunoglobulin IgM secretion. BMC Pharmacol Toxicol. 2014 Jun 9;15:30. doi: 10.1186/2050-6511-15-30. PMID: 24913620

Smith S, Carew N, Milcarek C. RNA polymerases in plasma cells trav-ELL2 the beat of a different drum. World J Immunol 2015 November 27; 5(3): 99-112. Click here for the full text.

Nolan T. Carew, Ashley M. Nelson, Zhitao Liang, Sage M. Smith, Christine Milcarek *(2018) Linking endoplasmic reticular stress and alternative splicing. International J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(12), 3919; 

View Complete Publications Listing

Research Interests

  • We are studying B cell development from the mature B-cell stage to plasma and memory cells. The role of a transcription elongation factor specific for plasma cells (ELL2) is being explored by a combination of biochemistry, immunology and gene-knock-out

Lab Information

  • Distinguished Mentor (1999) - Survival Skills and Ethics Program, University of Pittsburgh
  • Woman of Distinction (2000) - Girl Scouts of Southwestern PA (Trillium Council)
  • Master Educator, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh (2009-2014)
  • National Board of Medical Examiners Step 1 Test Material Development Committee (2011-2013)