Kevin Nickerson, Ph.D.

Kevin Nickerson, Ph.D.


Campus: The Assembly, 5051 Centre Ave

Office: 3077

Pittsburgh, PA 15213


  • B.S. - Yale University
  • Ph.D. - University of Michigan
  • Postdoc - Yale University

Academic Affiliation

  • Research Assistant Professor, Department of Immunology

About Research

As a member of Dr. Shlomchik's research group, my main research interest is understanding the regulatory and pathogenic roles of Toll-like receptor signaling and related pathways in systemic lupus erythematosus.  Using transgenic and knockout murine models of SLE, we have shown that TLR9, the endosomal sensor of dsDNA, is required for production of anti-nucleosome autoantibody specificities.   Similarly, TLR7 is necessary for formation of anti-RNA and anti-Sm autoantibodies.  Unexpectedly, knockouts of these TLRs have divergent effects on clinical disease parameters, with TLR9 knockout animals having significantly worse disease despite the absence of anti-DNA specificities, the major clinical diagnostic hallmark of SLE.  Understanding the regulatory and stimulatory roles of TLR9 and TLR7 in establishing and breaking B cell tolerance and in mediating overall lupus disease is a major research goal.


Selected Publications

Nickerson KM, Wang Y, Bastacky S, Shlomchik MJ. (2017) "Toll-like receptor 9 suppresses lupus disease in Fas-sufficient MRL Mice."  PLoS ONE 12(3):e0173471.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0173471

Nickerson KM and Shlomchik MJ.  (2016)  "Animal Models of Autoimmunity"  In: Ratcliffe, MJH (ed.) Encyclopedia of Immunobiology. Oxford: Academic Press; Vol 5, p. 227-40.

Nickerson KM, Cullen J, Kashgarian M, and Shlomchik MJ.  (2013) "Exacerbated Autoimmunity in the Absence of TLR9 in MRL.Faslpr Mice Depends on IFNaR1"  J. Immunol. 190(8):3889-94.  PMCID: PMC3622185

Nickerson KM, Christensen SR, Cullen J, Meng W, Luning Prak ET, and Shlomchik MJ. (2013) "TLR9 Promotes Tolerance by Restricting Survival of Anergic Anti-DNA B Cells, Yet Is Also Required for Their Activation"  J. Immunol.  190(4):1447-56.  PMCID: PMC3563726

Nickerson KM, Christensen SR, Shupe J, Kashgarian M, Kim D, Elkon K, and Shlomchik MJ.  (2010) "TLR9 Regulates TLR7- and MyD88-Dependent Autoantibody Production and Disease in a Murine Model of Lupus."  J. Immunol.  184(4):1840-1848.  PMID: 20089701

Christensen SR, Shupe J, Nickerson K, Kashgarian M, Flavell RA, Shlomchik MJ. (2006) “TLR7 and TLR9 dictate autoantibody specificity and have opposing inflammatory and regulatory roles in lupus.” Immunity.  25(3):417-28.  PMID: 16973389

Complete List of Publications

Research Interests

  • B cell tolerance
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus