Honors & News

  • July 1, 2013

    Mosmann Awarded Novartis Prize for Basic Immunology

    Tim R. Mosmann, Ph.D., Director of the David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, was awarded the 2013 Novartis Prize for Basic Immunology. He shares the prize, which is awarded every three years for breakthrough contributions to the fields of basic and clinical immunology, with Robert L. Coffman, Ph.D., Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Dynavax.

    The prize was awarded for Mosmann and Coffman's research on how the body responds to different invaders, for example, bacteria versus parasitic worms. In the early 1980's, they zeroed in on a group of white blood cells called helper T cells or TH cells, which communicate with other cells to activate the immune system and wipe out intruders. They discovered that TH cells fall into two distinct groups: TH1 cells, designed to eliminate bacteria and viruses; and TH2 cells, which are more effective against extracellular organisms, like worms and other parasites.

    When Tim started this research, scientists thought that helper T cells could be divided into at least two subgroups, but no one had been able to prove this, said Stephen Dewhurst, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Medical Center. Tim elegantly showed that these cells could be divided into two subsets that produced different secreted proteins (cytokines) and that had different functions – a finding that profoundly changed the way people think about the immune system.

  • November 7, 2011

    Tim Mosmann Presents at TEDx Event

    Tim Mosmann, Ph.D., director of the David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology at the Medical Center presented at a 2011 independently organized TEDx Rochester event. Dr. Mosmann's talk starts by explaining the complexity behind the immune system. Then goes on to tell how we're being overwhelmed by new data on that subject and how best to handle that overload.

  • May 18, 2009

    Computer Simulation Captures Immune Response to Flu

    Researchers have successfully tested for the first time a computer simulation of major portions of the body's immune reaction to influenza type A, with implications for treatment design and preparation ahead of future pandemics, according to work accepted for publication, and posted online, by the Journal of Virology. The new global flu model is built out of preexisting, smaller-scale models that capture in mathematical equations millions of simulated interactions between virtual immune cells and viruses.

    A team of immunologists, mathematical modelers, statisticians and software developers created the new model over three years within the Center for Biodefense Immune Modeling at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The project was led by Hulin Wu, Ph.D., principal investigator of the project, director of the Center for Biodefense Immune Modeling (CBIM) and division chief of the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology, and by Martin S. Zand, M.D., Ph.D., co-director of the CBIM. The work was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

    High-speed, accurate computer simulation tools are urgently needed to dissect the relative importance of each attribute of viral strains in their ability to cause disease, and the contribution of each part of the immune system in a successful counterattack, said Zand. Real world experiments simply cannot be executed fast enough to investigate so many complex surprises, and we must keep pace with viral evolution to reduce loss of life.

  • October 19, 2007

    URMC Researcher Receives Prestigious International Award

    A researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center has won the 2008 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize for his contribution to the field of immunology.

    The prize, which includes with a cash award of 100,000 euros, has been awarded to Tim Mosmann, Ph.D., director of the David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology at the Medical Center. The Scientific Council of the Paul Ehrlich Foundation, a German organization gives the award each year to recognize achievement in Ehrlich's fields: immunology, oncology, haematology and microbiology.

  • May 23, 2007

    Wilmot Cancer Center Scientist gets $1.5M to Advance Lymphoma Research

    Mantle cell lymphoma as seen under a microscope.

    A James P. Wilmot Cancer Center scientist recently received two research grants, totaling more than $1.5 million, for separate, divergent studies of new therapies for follicular and mantle cell lymphomas.

    In the first Lymphoma Research Foundation-funded project, Steven Bernstein, M.D., co-director of Wilmot's Lymphoma Biology Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center, will investigate whether rituximab, an antibody treatment for follicular lymphoma, causes the body's immune response to fight the disease. Rituximab, also known as Rituxan, is effective in treating the disease, but how it actually works remains unclear to scientists and oncologists.

    Bernstein's team, which includes immunologists Shannon Hilchey, Ph.D., Tim Mosmann, Ph.D., and Alexandra Livingstone, Ph.D., will examine whether rituximab therapy generates an immune response specifically targeting the lymphoma cells.

  • December 14, 2006

    Could the Ability to Expel Worms Lead to a Future Asthma Treatment?

    Based on experiments with worms similar to those that infest millions of children in the tropics, researchers see potential for a new way to treat asthma. Parasitic infections and asthma may cause the human immune system to react in some of the same ways, and may one day be cured by manipulating some of the same proteins, according to research published today in the journal Science.

    To be effective, the immune system must decide which cells and chemicals need to be ramped up to best destroy the invader at hand, be it bacterium, virus or worm. In 1986, Tim Mosmann, Ph.D., now director of the David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, led a team that first described a new concept for how the immune system might make such choices: the Th1/Th2 Model.

  • August 21, 2006

    Medical Center Researchers Receive Second Set of Johnson & Johnson Grants

    Three researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have been chosen to receive research awards from Johnson & Johnson based on the potential of their work to lead to medical breakthroughs. The awards, announced today, represent the second round from the Discovery Concept Fund, an academic-industry partnership launched in 2005. The fund is designed to nurture early-stage research by scientists who have promising ideas, but not ready access to research funding for a given project. Combined with the first round of awards given out in January 2006, the new funding brings J&J's total investment in Medical Center research this year to $400,000.

    The second round award-winners were Deborah Fowell, Ph.D., assistant professor of Microbiology & Immunology; Ian Nicholas Crispe, Ph.D., associate director of the David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology; and Andrei Yakovlev, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biostatistics and Computational Biology.

    With support from the award, Fowell is researching new ways to harness the body's natural regulatory lymphocytes to hold the immune system in check. Her work with regulatory T cells could lead to new drugs that either damp down the immune system when it mistakes our own cells for foreign invaders (e.g. autoimmune diseases) or pump up the immune system's attack on disease-related molecules that have fooled our system into passing them by (e.g. tumors and chronic infection).

  • August 4, 2006

    Pioneering Researcher to Discuss the Body’s Defenses Against Disease

    Immunologist Tim Mosmann, Ph.D., will discuss the immune system – the assortment of defenses that keep our bodies from being overrun by an ever-adapting array of microbes, viruses, parasites, and other threats – as part of a lecture series highlighting biological and biomedical research at the University of Rochester.

    Mosmann will discuss his work on the immune system at 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 11, in the Case Methods Room (Room 1-9576) at the Medical Center. It's the latest installment of the Second Friday Science Social lecture series geared mainly to faculty, staff and students at the University, though the general public is welcome as well. The lectures are free. More information.

  • June 12, 2006

    Rochester Awarded New MS Research Center

    A new research center whose scientists are working on better ways to treat multiple sclerosis has been established in Rochester by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

    The University of Rochester Medical Center is bringing together experts who normally focus on Alzheimer's disease, HIV vaccines, and spinal cord repair, as well as multiple sclerosis, in a unique center designed to stimulate MS research by drawing on the expertise of scientists from a wide array of disciplines. The new Collaborative Multiple Sclerosis Research Center Award – the only one in the nation established by the society this year – is headed by neurologist Benjamin Segal, M.D., associate professor of Neurology and director of Neuroimmunology Research. Segal has enlisted several of his colleagues to direct their attention on new ways to investigate the disease.

    Also taking part in the project are neurologists Steven Schwid, M.D., and Andrew Goodman, M.D., who have extensive experience with clinical trials in MS; and Howard Federoff, M.D., Ph.D., and Tim Mosmann, Ph.D., who head research centers in aging and in vaccine biology, respectively.

  • November 5, 2002

    University Leading Nation's Largest Smallpox Vaccine Study

    Rochester doctors and nurses have been chosen to lead the largest study of smallpox vaccine to date, a nationwide study of approximately 900 patients that will be conducted at seven sites around the country, including Rochester. Approximately 200 people in the Rochester area who were vaccinated against the disease as children will receive a booster shot as part of the study. John Treanor, M.D., associate professor of medicine and director of the medical center's Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit, will lead the national study, coordinating doctors at all seven sites and guiding the effort to evaluate the results.

    Besides Treanor, scientists involved in this study are immunologists David Topham, Ph.D., and Tim Mosmann, Ph.D., of the David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology; and molecular biologist Mark Sullivan, Ph.D., of the Center for Human Genetics and Molecular Pediatric Disease.