Matthew L. Nicotra, Ph.D.

Matthew L. Nicotra, Ph.D.


Campus: Biomedical Science Tower, 203 Lothrop St

Office: W1557

Lab: W1500 U-Z

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Ph: 412-648-0177

Website »


  • Ph.D. Yale University
  • M.S., Yale University
  • B.S., Yale University

Academic Affiliation

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery

About Research

We study allorecognition, which is the ability of most encrusting marine invertebrates—animals like corals and sponges—to distinguish between themselves and other members of their species via cell-cell contact. Our lab seeks to understand the molecular basis, evolutionary history, and medical relevance of invertebrate allorecognition using the colonial hydroid, Hydractinia symbiolongcarpus, as a model system.

Selected Publications

Houser BL, Tilburgs T, Hill J, Nicotra ML, Strominger JL. Two unique human decidual macrophage populations. J Immunol. 2011 Feb 15;186(4):2633-42. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003153. Epub 2011 Jan 21. PubMed PMID: 21257965; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3712354.

Rosengarten RD, Nicotra ML. Model systems of invertebrate allorecognition. Curr Biol. 2011 Jan 25;21(2):R82-92. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.11.061. Review. PubMed PMID: 21256442.

Rosa SF, Powell AE, Rosengarten RD, Nicotra ML, Moreno MA, Grimwood J, Lakkis FG, Dellaporta SL, Buss LW. Hydractinia allodeterminant alr1 resides in an immunoglobulin superfamily-like gene complex. Curr Biol. 2010 Jun 22;20(12):1122-7. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.04.050. Epub 2010 May 27. PubMed PMID:20537535; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2921677.

Li C, Houser BL, Nicotra ML, Strominger JL. HLA-G homodimer-induced cytokine secretion through HLA-G receptors on human decidual macrophages and natural killer cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Apr 7;106(14):5767-72. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0901173106. Epub 2009 Mar 20. PubMed PMID: 19304799; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2667005.

Nicotra ML, Powell AE, Rosengarten RD, Moreno M, Grimwood J, Lakkis FG, Dellaporta SL, Buss LW. A hypervariable invertebrate allodeterminant. Curr Biol. 2009 Apr 14;19(7):583-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.02.040. Epub 2009 Mar 19. PubMed PMID: 19303297; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2681180.

Research Interests

  • Immunological Tolerance
  • Innate Immunity