John G. Frelinger, Ph.D.

John G. Frelinger, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 704
Rochester, NY 14642

Research Bio

My laboratory has a number of interests united by the common theme of T cell recognition. One focus of research has been the generation and maintenance of effective T cell responses to tumors. It has become apparent that anti-tumor responses can be directed against differentiation antigens. Thus, even with multiple mechanisms of establishing and maintaining tolerance, tolerance is not absolute. We hypothesize that it is possible to direct an effective response against tumors by inducing an autoimmune response to organ-specific antigens. To examine this hypothesis, we will use transgenic mice lines we have developed which specifically express human PSA in the prostate and investigate how this expression affects their ability to generate CTL responses to human PSA using novel immunization strategies.

In this light, we have been working on developing novel viral vectors for immunization. Helper free herpes amplicons, plasmid based vectors that have an extremely large coding capacity, are attractive viral vaccine candidates for expressing recombinant proteins in vivo for immunization. The amplicon system has particular promise since it encodes no viral gene products and we have shown it very effectively infects dendritic cells. In collaboration with Edith Lord and in conjunction with Tom Foster's laboratory in the Department of Imaging Sciences, we have devised imaging approaches to look at the early steps in immunization and at the effector T cells generated. These studies will contribute to the rational design of immunotherapy for tumors as well as for HIV. We also believe that many of the techniques and approaches will be applicable to other infectious agents as well. In this regard, we are collaborating with investigators at University of North Carolina to identify T cell epitopes of Francisella tularensis. Francisella tularensis (FT) is a gram negative bacterium that is able to infect a wide range of mammalian hosts. FT has several properties that suggest could be developed as a biological weapon, including its ability to be aerosolized and its low LD50. Indeed, it has been asserted that FT was used as a bioweapon in World War II. Unfortunately relatively little information is available concerning the detailed cellular mechanism of resistance to re-infection either in humans or in experimental animals. However, as expected for a pathogen that grows largely intracellularly, T cells are believed to be a critical component in resistance to reinfection and recovery from primary infection. My laboratory has developed a technique called the TCAD ( the T-Cell antigen discovery technique) to identify and improve T cell epitopes, originally in the context of tumor vaccines. We have recently modified this system to large-scale screens for the identification of T cell epitopes from FT using this system which takes advantage of the tremendously enhanced efficiency particulate antigen cross-priming and a novel reporter system of T cell activation. It is hoped that the identification of the T cell epitopes recognized will yield to a batter understanding of the nature of a protective response and ultimately a defined vaccine.

Awards & Honors (National)

Chair Education Committee (AAI) | AAI 2014
Distinguished Speaker | University of Texas at San Antonio 2000
Junior Faculty Research Award | American Cancer Society 1986 - 1988
Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship 1981 - 1983
National Merit Scholarship 1971 - 1975

Awards & Honors (Local)

Manuel D. Goldman Prize for Excellence in Teaching Medical School 2016
Special Commendation for Teaching-Medical School 2015
Alumni Gold Medal Teaching Award 2012
AAI Education Committee | American Association of Immunologists 2011 - 2014
Special Commendation Teaching-Medical School 2002
Faculty Speaker, Medical School Class of 2000 Awards Ceremony 2000
Herbert W. Mapstone Prize for Teaching Excellence 1998
Special Commendation Teaching-Medical School 1996
Herbert W. Mapstone Prize for Teaching Excellence 1995
Special Commendation Teaching-Medical School 1994
Andrew W. Mellon Deans Teaching Scholar | Excellence in Teaching and Research 1991 - 1993
American Cancer Society Senior Fellowship, California Division 1983 - 1984
B.S. with Distinction and Departmental Honors 1975


Transgenic Mice Expressing Human PSA

United States Serial NO.: 08/797,722
Filed Date: February 11, 1997
Title: Prostate Specific Regulatory Nucleic Acid Sequences and Transgenic Non-Human Animals Expressing Prostate Specific Antigen
Invented by: John Frelinger, Richard Barth, Chungwen Wei
Transgenic Mice Expressing Human PSA

United States Serial NO.: 09/607,549
Filed Date: June 7, 2001
Title: Prostate-Specific Regulatory Nucleic Acid Sequences and Transgenic Non-Human Animals Expressing Prostate Specific Antigen
Invented by: John Frelinger, Richard Barth, Chungwen Wei
Human Glandular Kallikrein (hK2)-Specific Monoclonal Antibodies that Enhance or Inhibit the Enzymatic Activity of hK2

United States Serial NO.: 10/491,761
Filed Date: October 3, 2002
Title: Human Glandular Kallikrein (HK2)-Specific Monoclonal Antibodies that Enhance or Inhibit the Enzymatic Activity of HK2
Invented by: John Frelinger, Terrence Fisher, Mary Ann Nocera-March, Edith Lord
Protease Activated Cytokines to Enhance Immune Reponses to Tumors

United States Serial NO.: 13/639,006
Filed Date: March 31, 2011
Title: Protease Activated Cytokines
Invented by: John Frelinger, John Puskas, Baek Kim, Mark Sullivan

Recent Journal Articles

Showing the 5 most recent journal articles. 91 available »

2016 May
Mikucki ME, Skitzki JJ, Frelinger JG, Odunsi K, Gajewski TF, Luster AD, Evans SS. "Unlocking tumor vascular barriers with CXCR3: Implications for cancer immunotherapy." Oncoimmunology. 2016 May; 5(5):e1116675. Epub 2016 Feb 11.
2015 Sep
Skrombolas D, Wylie I, Maharaj S, Frelinger JG. "Characterization of an IL-12 p40/p35 Truncated Fusion Protein That can Inhibit the Action of IL-12." Journal of interferon & cytokine research : the official journal of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2015 Sep; 35(9):690-7. Epub 2015 May 04.
2015 Jun 25
Mikucki ME, Fisher DT, Matsuzaki J, Skitzki JJ, Gaulin NB, Muhitch JB, Ku AW, Frelinger JG, Odunsi K, Gajewski TF, Luster AD, Evans SS. "Non-redundant requirement for CXCR3 signalling during tumoricidal T-cell trafficking across tumour vascular checkpoints." Nature communications. 2015 Jun 25; 6:7458. Epub 2015 Jun 25.
2014 Feb
Skrombolas D, Frelinger JG. "Challenges and developing solutions for increasing the benefits of IL-2 treatment in tumor therapy." Expert review of clinical immunology. 2014 Feb; 10(2):207-17.
2013 Oct
Sedlacek AL, Gerber SA, Randall TD, van Rooijen N, Frelinger JG, Lord EM. "Generation of a dual-functioning antitumor immune response in the peritoneal cavity." The American journal of pathology. 2013 Oct; 183(4):1318-28. Epub 2013 Aug 08.

Current Appointments

Professor - Department of Microbiology and Immunology (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Biochemistry | California Institute of Technology1980
BS with Distinction and Departmental Honors | Biology | Stanford University1975

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, American Cancer Society, California Division, Stanford University. Mentor: Dr. C.G. Fathman, Immunology 1984
Jane Coffin Childs Fellow, Immunology, Stanford University, Mentor: Dr. C.G. Fathman, Immunology 1983
NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Caltech, Pasadena, CA. Mentor: Dr. Leroy Hood, Molecular Biology 1981