About

Research in immunology and immune therapies is central to Mayo Clinic's priorities to invent, teach and practice the medicine of tomorrow. The center provides cohesion for effective research collaborations and cross-fertilization of training efforts focused on the immune system. These efforts are designed to unify leadership and engage teams of clinicians and researchers while nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit.

The importance of the study of inflammation and immunity to advancing the Mayo mission is reflected in the assortment of clinician and scientific faculty participating in the center. Inaugural members are from all areas of the institution, representing a diverse array of expertise. This knowledge includes organ-specific diseases that may share overlapping inflammatory pathogenic mechanisms, treatments using immune-based therapies, and the processes of inflammation and immunity.

Center leadership

The center is directed by a council of leaders consisting of a director, a partner from administration and seven physician and scientist associates who are jointly responsible for developing and executing the center’s vision in alignment with Mayo Clinic’s practice, research and education priorities. The current leaders are:

Larry R. Pease, Ph.D., Director
Dr. Pease is a professor in the Department of Immunology with a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He served as department chair for the Department of Immunology for 11 years. He is a 2011 Distinguished Mayo Clinic Investigator and holds the Gordon H. and Violet Bartels Professorship in Cellular Biology.

Diane F. Jelinek, Ph.D., Associate Director
Dr. Jelinek is professor and chair of the Department of Immunology and has a joint appointment in the Division of Hematology. Dr. Jelinek served as dean of Mayo Graduate School for 9 years. She holds the Gene and Mary Lou Kurtz Professorship in Multiple Myeloma Research.

Hirohito Kita, M.D., Associate Director
Dr. Kita is a professor of immunology and medicine with joint appointments in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, the Division of Allergic Diseases and the Department of Immunology. Dr. Kita is director of the Clinical Immunology and Immunotherapeutics Program and is the Walter and Leonore Annenberg Professor of Pulmonary Medicine II.

Richard G. Vile, Ph.D., Associate Director
Dr. Vile is a professor of immunology with joint appointments in the Department of Molecular Medicine and the Department of Immunology. He is co-director of the Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center and holds the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Professorship.

Sandra J. Gendler, Ph.D., Associate At-Large (Mayo Clinic in Arizona)
Dr. Gendler is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with joint appointments in the Department of Immunology and the Division of Hematology/Oncology. She holds the David F. and Margaret T. Grohne Research Professorship in Therapeutics in Cancer Research.

Thomas A. Gonwa, M.D., Associate At-Large (Mayo Clinic in Florida)
Dr. Gonwa is a professor of medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and is chair of the Department of Transplantation.

Joseph A. Murray, M.D., Associate At-Large
Dr. Murray is a professor of medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Gregory A. Poland, M.D., Associate At-Large
Dr. Poland is a professor of medicine with joint appointments in the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Dr. Poland directs the Vaccine Research Group and is the Mary Lowell Leary Professor in Medicine.

Core laboratories and resources

The center advocates to keep core resources cutting-edge and to provide funding strategies that are easy and affordable for all investigators. Efforts are underway to tap the communal knowledge of immunity across many disciplines. The goal is to design novel platforms for monitoring the immune system and advancing clinical care.

Center members use existing core research resources, including: