Thirumala Kanneganti, St. Jude’s Hospital, USA
Dr. Kanneganti’s

Dr. Kanneganti’s research program focuses on understanding the molecular basis of innate immune sensors and inflammasomes in inflammation and host responses. Research interests:
1. Innate Immunity
2. NLRs, inflammasomes and cell death
3. Inflammatory and infectious diseases
4. Signaling pathways

Mutations in several of the innate immune genes are associated with inflammatory disorders, including Crohn’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, period fever syndromes, asthma, Blau syndrome and inflammatory skin disease. Dr. Kanneganti entered the field of innate immunity by discovering the role of NLRP3 in caspase-1 activation in response to microbial RNA and by providing insights regarding the pathogenesis of autoinflammatory syndromes (Nature 440(7081):233-6, 2006). She followed up on these initial studies on inflammasomes by discovering specific roles for inflammasome sensors and non-inflammasome NLRs in autoinflammation, infectious diseases and cancer biology (Cancer Cell 20(5):649-60, 2011; Nature 488(7411):389-93, 2012; Nature Immunology 14(5):480-488, 2013). Her research has now broadened to the identification of signaling crosstalk between inflammasomes and apoptotic and necroptotic cell death pathways. Using novel genetic mouse models and in-depth molecular and biochemical analysis, she discovered distinct and previously unrecognized functions and signaling pathways for IL-1β and IL-1α in bone disease and autoinflammatory skin diseases (Nature. 498(7453):224-7. 2013; Nature. 516(7530):246-9. 2014). Recent studies from her lab have described a non-canonical pathway driving activation of the AIM2 inflammasome by cytosolic pathogens (Nature Immunology. 16:467-475. 2015) and a critical role for AIM2 in stem cell proliferation and cancer (Cell. 162(1):45-58. 2015). The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) recognized her contributions to the field of immunology by selecting her for the AAI-BD Biosciences Investigator Award.

Website : www.stjude.org/kanneganti

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