Penelope Morel, M.D.

Penelope Morel, M.D.


Campus: The Assembly, 5051 Centre Ave

Office: 3037

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Ph: 412-624-0343


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

Academic Affiliation

  • 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

About Research

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.

Selected Publications

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

WF Hawse, RP Sheehan, N Miskov-Zivanov, AV Menk, LP Kane, JR Faeder and PA Morel. Cutting Edge: Differential regulation of PTEN by TCR, Akt and FoxO1 controls CD4+ T cell fate decisions. 2015. J Immunol 194:4615-9

MS Turner, K Isse, Fischer DK, HR Turnquist and PA Morel. Low TCR signal strength induces combined expansion of Th2 and regulatory T cell populations that protect mice from the development of type 1 diabetes. 2014. Diabetologia 57:1428-36

N Miskov-Zivanov, MS Turner, LP Kane, PA Morel* and JR Faeder*. The duration of T cell stimulation is a critical determinant of cell fate and plasticity. 2013. Science Signaling; 6; ra97. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.2004217. * joint senior authors

View Complete Publications Listing

Research Interests

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