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Department of Immunology
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Phone: 412-383-9737
Fax: 412-383-8098
olja_small.jpg Olivera J. Finn , Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor
E1044 BST (Office)
E1001, E1002, E1018 BST (Lab)
Pittsburgh, PA 
Phone: 412.648.9816
Fax: 412.648.7042
Faculty Research Interests
Research Interests
The central theme of the laboratory is human tumor specific immunity: how it is generated; how it functions; how it can be manipulated. As tools we use two human tumor antigens that we discovered, MUC1 and Cyclin B1, and transgenic mouse models that express these antigens and also develop precancerous diseases and cancer. By using different formulations of vaccines based on these tumor antigens we induce immune responses in the mouse models and study the conditions under which effective immunity can be generated versus tolerance. Our work is beginning to reveal novel mechanisms of regulation of anti-tumor immunity that depend on the form of the tumor antigen and how different it is from the tolerogenic self. Some of our findings have already been applied to the design of therapeutic and prophylactic cancer vaccines that are being tested in small Phase I/II clinical trials.
Ph.D. - Stanford University (1980)

Postdoc - Stanford University (1980-1982)
Academic Affiliation
Distinguished Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Distinguished Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Co-Leader, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute Immunology Program
Selected Publications
Reichenbach, D.K. and O.J. Finn, Early in vivo signaling profiles in MUC1-specific CD4 T cells responding to two different MUC1-targeting vaccines in two different microenvironments. Oncoimmunology, 2013. 2(3): p. e23429.

Farkas, A.M., D.M. Marvel, and O.J. Finn, Antigen choice determines vaccine-induced generation of immunogenic versus tolerogenic dendritic cells that are marked by differential expression of pancreatic enzymes. J Immunol, 2013. 190(7): p. 3319-27.

Kimura, T., et al., MUC1 vaccine for individuals with advanced adenoma of the colon: a cancer immunoprevention feasibility study. Cancer Prev Res (Phila), 2013. 6(1): p. 18-26.

Kimura, T. and O.J. Finn, MUC1 immunotherapy is here to stay. Expert Opin Biol Ther, 2013. 13(1): p. 35-49.

Zhang, L., et al., Human mucin MUC1 RNA undergoes different types of alternative splicing resulting in multiple isoforms. Cancer Immunol Immunother, 2013. 62(3): p. 423-35.

Beatty, P., S. Ranganathan, and O.J. Finn, Prevention of colitis-associated colon cancer using a vaccine to target abnormal expression of the MUC1 tumor antigen. Oncoimmunology, 2012. 1(3): p. 263-270.

Cascio, S., L. Zhang, and O.J. Finn, MUC1 protein expression in tumor cells regulates transcription of proinflammatory cytokines by forming a complex with nuclear factor-kappaB p65 and binding to cytokine promoters: importance of extracellular domain. J Biol Chem, 2011. 286(49): p. 42248-56.

Yang, Q., et al., IL-33 synergizes with TCR and IL-12 signaling to promote the effector function of CD8+ T cells. Eur J Immunol, 2011. 41(11): p. 3351-60.

Cramer, D.W. and O.J. Finn, Epidemiologic perspective on immune-surveillance in cancer. Curr Opin Immunol, 2011. 23(2): p. 265-71
Title: T-cell immunity to epithelial tumor mucins.
Agency: NIH
Role: P.I.
Funding Period: 1991-2014

Title: Cancer Center Support Grant
Agency: NIH
Role: Program Leader for Immunology
Funding Period: 1999-2015

Title: Training in Cellular and Molecular
Mechanisms of Tumor Rejection
Agency: NIH
Role: P.I
Funding Period: 2004-2014

Title: Lung Cancer Trial
Agency: V Foundation for Cancer Research
Role: - Co-PI
Funding Period: 2009-2013

Title: MUC1 Immunity and Tolerance: Basic and Preclinical Studies in Mice and Primates
Agency: NIH/NCI
Role: PI
Funding Period: 2011-2016
Lab Personnel
Research Associates
John McKolanis, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Associates
Sandra Cascio, Ph.D.
Jason Lomueller, Ph.D.
Staff Scientist
Pamela Beatty, Ph.D.

Research III
Jia Xue

Graduate Student Researchers
Doug Marvel
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