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Department of Immunology
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Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
Phone: 412-383-9737
Fax: 412-383-8098
morel_head.jpg Penelope Morel , M.D.
E1048 (Office)
E1014 (Lab)
Pittsburgh, PA 
Phone: 412.624.0343
Fax: 412.383.8098
Faculty Research Interests
Research Interests
  • Development of novel computational and mathematical models of immune responses in the context of infectious disease in the lung. This interdisciplinary project involves immunologists, mathematicians and computer scientists from Pitt, CMU and University of Michigan.
  • Role of dendritic cells in therapy of autoimmune diabetes using a murine diabetes model, the NOD mouse. We have identified dendritic cell subsets that protect NOD mice from diabetes development. Current studies are focused on the mechanism of action of the induced protection. We are collaborating with Dr, Eric Ahrens from CMU to develop novel MRI techniques to track cells and inflammation in vivo.
  • Fc receptor function on human NK cells. In this study the function of normal NK cells from individuals with defined allelic polymorphisms is analyzed. A more recently funded project is concerned with the assessment of FcR allelic polymorphisms as risk factors of disease severity for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • B.M. - Univ. Southampton Medical School (1979)
  • M.D. - Univ. Geneva Fac. Med. (1983)
  • Postdoc - Scripps Clin. Res. Fndn. (1983-1985)
  • Postdoc - Stanford Univ. (1985-1987)
  • Postdoc - Univ. Pittsburgh (1988)
Academic Affiliation
  • Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Member, University of Pittsburgh Arthritis Institute
  • Member, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
Selected Publications
Schmitt DM, O'Dee DM, Brown MJ, Horzempa J, Russo BC, Morel PA, Nau GJ. Role of NK cells in host defense against pulmonary type A Francisella tularensis infection. Microbes Infect. 2013 Mar;15(3):201-11. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2012.11.008. Epub 2012 Dec 1. PubMed PMID: 23211929.

Stefanovic-Racic M, Yang X, Turner MS, Mantell BS, Stolz DB, Sumpter TL, Sipula IJ, Dedousis N, Scott DK, Morel PA, Thomson AW, O'Doherty RM. Dendritic cells promote macrophage infiltration and comprise a substantial proportion of obesity-associated increases in CD11c+ cells in adipose tissue and liver. Diabetes. 2012 Sep;61(9):2330-9. doi: 10.2337/db11-1523. Epub 2012 Jul 30. PubMed
PMID: 22851575; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3425427.

Zinman G, Brower-Sinning R, Emeche CH, Ernst J, Huang GT, Mahony S, Myers AJ, O'Dee DM, Flynn JL, Nau GJ, Ross TM, Salter RD, Benos PV, Bar Joseph Z, Morel PA. Large scale comparison of innate responses to viral and bacterial pathogens in mouse and macaque. PLoS One. 2011;6(7):e22401. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0022401. Epub 2011 Jul 18. PubMed PMID: 21789257; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3138787.

Morel PA, Turner MS. Dendritic cells and the maintenance of self-tolerance.
Immunol Res. 2011 Aug;50(2-3):124-9. doi: 10.1007/s12026-011-8217-y. Review. PubMed PMID: 21717078.

Medsger TA Jr, Ivanco DE, Kardava L, Morel PA, Lucas MR, Fuschiotti P. GATA-3 up-regulation in CD8+ T cells as a biomarker of immune dysfunction in systemic sclerosis, resulting in excessive interleukin-13 production. Arthritis Rheum. 2011 Jun;63(6):1738-47. doi: 10.1002/art.30489. PubMed PMID: 21638273.

Morel PA, Srinivas M, Turner MS, Fuschiotti P, Munshi R, Bahar I, Feili-Hariri
M, Ahrens ET. Gene expression analysis of dendritic cells that prevent diabetes
in NOD mice: analysis of chemokines and costimulatory molecules. J Leukoc Biol.
2011 Sep;90(3):539-50. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0311126. Epub 2011 May 31. PubMed PMID: 21628331; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3157898.

Xue J, Gochuico BR, Alawad AS, Feghali-Bostwick CA, Noth I, Nathan SD, Rosen
GD, Rosas IO, Dacic S, Ocak I, Fuhrman CR, Cuenco KT, Smith MA, Jacobs SS, Zeevi
A, Morel PA, Pilewski JM, Valentine VG, Gibson KF, Kaminski N, Sciurba FC, Zhang
Y, Duncan SR. The HLA class II Allele DRB1*1501 is over-represented in patients
with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. PLoS One. 2011 Feb 23;6(2):e14715. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014715. PubMed PMID: 21373184; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3044131.

Diehl AD, Augustine AD, Blake JA, Cowell LG, Gold ES, Gondré-Lewis TA, Masci AM, Meehan TF, Morel PA, Nijnik A, Peters B, Pulendran B, Scheuermann RH, Yao QA, Zand MS, Mungall CJ. Hematopoietic cell types: prototype for a revised cell ontology. J Biomed Inform. 2011 Feb;44(1):75-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2010.01.006. Epub 2010 Feb 1. PubMed PMID: 20123131; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2892030.

Morel PA, Turner MS. Designing the optimal vaccine: the importance of cytokines and dendritic cells. Open Vaccine J. 2010;3:7-17. PubMed PMID: 21822455; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3149857.

Turner MS, Kane LP, Morel PA. Dominant role of antigen dose in CD4+Foxp3+
regulatory T cell induction and expansion. J Immunol. 2009 Oct 15;183(8):4895-903. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0901459. PubMed PMID: 19801514; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3142864.
  • Title: 19F MRI Proves and Autoimmune Disease Protection
    Agency: NIH
    Role: Co-P.I.
    Funding Period: 2005-2009

  • Title: Modeling Immunity for Biodefense
    Agency: NIH/NIAID
    Role: Project Director and Project Leader
    Funding Period: 2005-2010

  • Title: Dendritic cells prevent type 1 diabetes by inducing Treg cells
    Agency: ADA
    Role: P.I.
    Funding Period: 2006-2008
Lab Personnel
Postdoctoral Associate
William Hawser
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