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Senior Investigator

Dorian McGavern, Ph.D.

Viral Immunology and Intravital Imaging Section

Building 10 Room 5N240C
10 Center Drive
Bethesda MD 20892-1430
Office: (301) 443-7949
Lab: (301) 443 7984
Fax: (301) 402-1007

Dr. McGavern received his B.S degree in microbiology from The Pennsylvania State University and his Ph.D. in molecular neuroscience from the Mayo Clinic. Following an academic appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbial Sciences at The Scripps Research Institute, Dr. McGavern joined the NINDS in March 2009. Dr. McGavern is the recipient of the prestigious Ray Thomas Edwards Foundation Award and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award. His laboratory at the NIH is focused on states of acute and persistent infection of the central nervous system (CNS) as well as traumatic brain injury (TBI). As Chief of the Viral Immunology and Intravital Imaging Section, Dr. McGavern investigates how the innate and adaptive immune systems participate in different neurological disorders such as meningitis, encephalitis, cerebral malaria, and TBI. 

My laboratory focuses on innate and adaptive immune responses to acute and persistent infection of the central nervous system (CNS) as well as sterile immune responses that develop following mild traumatic brain injury.  The CNS is an immunologically specialized tissue containing a population of nonreplicative cells (neurons) responsible for a symphony of electrochemical signaling. The communication between neurons is exceedingly complex and contributes to nearly every aspect of our day-to-day functions. The immune system is equally complex (possessing both innate and adaptive components) and is assigned to the tasks of warding off microbes that invade all parts of the body as well as dealing with damaged tissues. For this reason, the immune system is highly mobile and equipped with effector mechanisms that neutralize pathogens and also molecules that facilitate tissue repair. Despite this balance, immune cells sometimes employ mechanisms that further damage tissues following infection or injury. From an immunological perspective, the CNS is an interesting compartment because it must preserve neuronal function while still enabling immune cells to survey the environment for pathogens and injury. The CNS and immune systems communicate with one another during states of health and disease, and it is the unique dialogue between two systems that guides much of our research. We focus specifically on immune cell surveillance of the infected CNS, pathogenesis of viral meningitis (a disease of the CNS lining), viral encephalitis, mechanisms that give rise to viral persistence, therapeutic approaches to purge infections, the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria (a disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium berghei), and immune reactions to traumatic brain injury. We use many contemporary approaches to gain novel insights into these research areas, the most exciting of which is intravital two-photon microscopy. This approach allows us to watch immune cells clear pathogens, cause diseases, or repair damaged tissues in real-time. Overall, our laboratory crosses the disciplines of virology/microbiology, immunology, and neuroscience in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the different scenarios that unfold when the CNS is invaded by pathogens or is damaged by injury.

NIH scientists watch the brain’s lining heal after a head injury

Staff Image
  • Leonel Ampie, M.D.
    Clinical Fellow

  • Monica Buckley, M.D., Ph.D.
    Clinical Fellow

  • Bo-Ran Choi, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Tristan Dyson, B.S.

  • Zachary Fitzpatrick, M.Sc
    Graduate Student

  • Selamawit Gossa, M.Sc

  • Hannah Mason, B.S.
    Graduate Student

  • Panos Mastorakos, M.D., Ph.D.
    Clinical Fellow

  • Nicole Mihelson, B.S.
    Graduate Student

  • Luciana Negro, Ph.D.
    Postdoctoral Fellow

  • Angelina Saitta, B.S.
    Office Manager

  • Tianzan Zhou, M.D.
    Clinical Fellow

  • 1) Moseman EA, Blanchard AC, Nayak D, McGavern DB (2020)
  • T cell engagement of cross-presenting microglia protects the brain from a nasal virus infection
  • Sci Immunol, 5(48), eabb1817
  • 2) Elsaesser HJ, Mohtashami M, Osokine I, Snell LM, Cunningham CR, Boukhaled GM, McGavern DB, Zúñiga-Pflücker JC, Brooks DG (2020)
  • Chronic virus infection drives CD8 T cell-mediated thymic destruction and impaired negative selection
  • Proc Natl Acad Sci, 117(10), 5420-5429
  • 3) Kolev M, West EE, Kunz N, Chauss D, Moseman EA, Rahman J, Freiwald T, Balmer ML, Lötscher J, Dimeloe S, Rosser EC, Wedderburn LR, Mayer-Barber KD, Bohrer A, Lavender P, Cope A, Wang L, Kaplan MJ, Moutsopoulos NM, McGavern D, Holland SM, Hess C, Kazemian M, Afzali B, Kemper C (2020)
  • Diapedesis-Induced Integrin Signaling via LFA-1 Facilitates Tissue Immunity by Inducing Intrinsic Complement C3 Expression in Immune Cells
  • Immunity, 52(3), 513-527
  • 4) Lago N, Kaufmann FN, Negro-Demontel ML, Alí-Ruiz D, Ghisleni G, Rego N, Arcas-García A, Vitureira N, Jansen K, Souza LM, Silva RA, Lara DR, Pannunzio B, Abin-Carriquiry JA, Amo-Aparicio J, Martin-Otal C, Naya H, McGavern DB, Sayós J, López-Vales R, Kaster MP, Peluffo H (2020)
  • CD300f immunoreceptor is associated with major depressive disorder and decreased microglial metabolic fitness
  • Proc Natl Acad Sci, 117(12), 6651-6662
  • 5) Riggle BA, Manglani M, Maric D, Johnson KR, Lee MH, Lopes Abath Neto O, Taylor TE, Seydel KB, Nath A, Miller LH, McGavern DB, Pierce SK (2020)
  • CD8+ T cells target cerebrovasculature in children with cerebral malaria
  • J Clin Invest, 130(3), 1128-1138
  • 6) Tiwari R, de la Torre JC, McGavern DB, Nayak D (2019)
  • Beyond Tethering the Viral Particles: Immunomodulatory Functions of Tetherin (BST-2)
  • DNA Cell Biol, 38(11), 1170-1177
  • 7) Collins N, Han SJ, Enamorado M, Link VM, Huang B, Moseman EA, Kishton RJ, Shannon JP, Dixit D, Schwab SR, Hickman HD, Restifo NP, McGavern DB, Schwartzberg PL, Belkaid Y (2019)
  • The Bone Marrow Protects and Optimizes Immunological Memory during Dietary Restriction
  • Cell, 178(5), 1088-1101
  • 8) Vacchio MS, Ciucci T, Gao Y, Watanabe M, Balmaceno-Criss M, McGinty MT, Huang A, Xiao Q, McConkey C, Zhao Y, Shetty J, Tran B, Pepper M, Vahedi G, Jenkins MK, McGavern DB, Bosselut R (2019)
  • A Thpok-Directed Transcriptional Circuitry Promotes Bcl6 and Maf Expression to Orchestrate T Follicular Helper Differentiation
  • Immunity, 51, 1-14
  • 9) Mastorakos P, McGavern D (2019)
  • The anatomy and immunology of vasculature in the central nervous system
  • Sci Immunol, 4(37), eaav0492
  • 10) Yao C, Sun HW, Lacey NE, Ji Y, Moseman EA, Shih HY, Heuston EF, Kirby M, Anderson S, Cheng J, Khan O, Handon R, Reilley J, Fioravanti J, Hu J, Gossa S, Wherry EJ, Gattinoni L, McGavern DB, O'Shea JJ, Schwartzberg PL, Wu T (2019)
  • Single-cell RNA-seq reveals TOX as a key regulator of CD8+ T cell persistence in chronic infection
  • Nat Immunol, 20(7), 890–901
  • 11) Rua R, Lee JY, Silva AB, Swafford IS, Maric D, Johnson KR, McGavern DB (2019)
  • Infection drives meningeal engraftment by inflammatory monocytes that impairs CNS immunity
  • Nat Immunol, 20(4), 407-419
  • 12) Manglani M, Rua R, Hendricksen A, Braunschweig D, Gao Q, Tan W, Houser B, McGavern DB, Oh K (2019)
  • Method to Quantify Cytokines and Chemokines in Mouse Brain Tissue Using Bio-Plex Multiplex Immunoassays
  • Methods, S1046-2023(18)30234-2
  • 13) Greenhalgh AD, Zarruk JG, Healy LM, Baskar Jesudasan SJ, Jhelum P, Salmon CK, Formanek A, Russo MV, Antel JP, McGavern DB, McColl BW, David S (2018)
  • Peripherally derived macrophages modulate microglial function to reduce inflammation after CNS injury
  • PLoS Biol, 16(10), e2005264
  • 14) Manglani M, Gossa S, McGavern DB (2018)
  • Leukocyte Isolation from Brain, Spinal Cord, and Meninges for Flow Cytometric Analysis
  • Curr Protoc Immunol, 121(1), e44
  • 15) Urata S, Kenyon E, Nayak D, Cubitt B, Kurosaki Y, Yasuda J, de la Torre JC, McGavern DB (2018)
  • BST-2 controls T cell proliferation and exhaustion by shaping the early distribution of a persistent viral infection
  • PLoS Pathog, 14(7), e1007172
  • 16) Rua R, McGavern DB (2018)
  • Advances in Meningeal Immunity
  • Trends Mol Med, 24(6), 542-559
  • 17) Russo MV, Latour LL, McGavern DB (2018)
  • Distinct myeloid cell subsets promote meningeal remodeling and vascular repair after mild traumatic brain injury
  • Nat Immunol, 19(5), 442-452
  • 18) Manglani M, McGavern DB (2018)
  • Intravital Imaging of Neuroimmune Interactions Through a Thinned Skull
  • Curr Protoc Immunol, 120, 24.2.1-24.2.12
  • 19) Manglani M, McGavern DB (2018)
  • New advances in CNS immunity against viral infection
  • Curr Opin Virol, 29(28), 116-126
  • 20) Kwong B, Rua R, Gao Y, Flickinger J Jr, Wang Y, Kruhlak MJ, Zhu J, Vivier E, McGavern DB, Lazarevic V (2017)
  • T-bet-dependent NKp46+ innate lymphoid cells regulate the onset of TH17-induced neuroinflammation
  • Nat Immunol, 18(10), 1117-1127
  • 21) Jassam YN, Izzy S, Whalen M, McGavern DB, El Khoury J (2017)
  • Neuroimmunology of Traumatic Brain Injury: Time for a Paradigm Shift
  • Neuron, 95(6), 1246-1265
  • 22) Atanasijevic T, Bouraoud N, McGavern DB, Koretsky AP (2017)
  • Transcranial manganese delivery for neuronal tract tracing using MEMRI
  • Neuroimage, 156, 146-154
  • 23) Pandya H, Shen MJ, Ichikawa DM, Sedlock AB, Choi Y, Johnson KR, Kim G, Brown MA, Elkahloun AG, Maric D, Sweeney CL, Gossa S, Malech HL, McGavern DB, Park JK (2017)
  • Differentiation of human and murine induced pluripotent stem cells to microglia-like cells
  • Nat Neurosci, 20(5), 753-759
  • 24) Konradt C, Ueno N, Christian DA, Delong JH, Pritchard GH, Herz J, Bzik DJ, Koshy AA, McGavern DB, Lodoen MB, Hunter CA (2016)
  • Endothelial cells are a replicative niche for entry of Toxoplasma gondii to the central nervous system.
  • Nat Microbiol, 1, 1-8
  • 25) Swanson PA 2nd, Hart GT, Russo MV, Nayak D, Yazew T, Peña M, Khan SM, Janse CJ, Pierce SK, McGavern DB (2016)
  • CD8+ T Cells Induce Fatal Brainstem Pathology during Cerebral Malaria via Luminal Antigen-Specific Engagement of Brain Vasculature.
  • PLoS Pathog, 12, 12
  • 26) Moseman EA, Wu T, de la Torre JC, Schwartzberg PL, McGavern DB (2016)
  • Type I interferon suppresses virus-specific B cell responses by modulating CD8+ T cell differentiation
  • Sci Immunol, 1(4), eaah3565
  • 27) Russo MV, McGavern DB (2016)
  • Inflammatory neuroprotection following traumatic brain injury.
  • Science, 353(6301), 783-5
  • 28) Akassoglou K, Agalliu D, Chang CJ, Davalos D, Grutzendler J, Hillman EM, Khakh BS, Kleinfeld D, McGavern DB, Nelson SJ, Zlokovic BV (2016)
  • Neurovascular and Immuno-Imaging: From Mechanisms to Therapies. Proceedings of the Inaugural Symposium.
  • Front Neurosci, 10(46)
  • 29) Russo MV, McGavern DB (2015)
  • Immune Surveillance of the CNS following Infection and Injury
  • Trends Immunol, 36(10), 637-50
  • 30) Rua R, McGavern DB (2015)
  • Elucidation of monocyte/macrophage dynamics and function by intravital imaging
  • J Leukoc Biol, 98(3), 319-32
  • 31) Herz J, Johnson KR, McGavern DB (2015)
  • Therapeutic antiviral T cells noncytopathically clear persistently infected microglia after conversion into antigen-presenting cells
  • J Exp Med, 212(8), 1153-1169
  • 32) Cardoso FL, Herz J, Fernandes A, Rocha J, Sepodes B, Brito MA, McGavern DB, Brites D (2015)
  • Systemic inflammation in early neonatal mice induces transient and lasting neurodegenerative effects
  • J Neuroinflammation, 12(1), 82
  • 33) Rua R, McGavern DB (2015)
  • Pentraxin 3 innately preps damaged tissue for wound healing
  • J Exp Med, 212(6), 829
  • 34) Corps KN, Roth TL, McGavern DB (2015)
  • Inflammation and Neuroprotection in Traumatic Brain Injury
  • JAMA Neurol, 72(3), 355-62
  • 35) Swanson PA, McGavern DB (2015)
  • Viral diseases of the central nervous system
  • Cur Opin Virol, 11C, 44-54
  • 36) Gossa S, Nayak D, Zinselmeyer BH, McGavern DB (2014)
  • Development of an Immunologically Tolerated Combination of Fluorescent Proteins for In vivo Two-photon Imaging
  • Scientific Reports, 4:6664
  • 37) Nayak D, Roth TL, McGavern DB (2014)
  • Microglia Development and Function.
  • Annu Rev Immunol, 32, 367-402
  • 38) Roth TL, Nayak D, Atanasijevic T, Koretsky AP, Latour LL, McGavern DB (2014)
  • Transcranial amelioration of inflammation and cell death after brain injury
  • Nature, 505(7482), 223-8
  • 39) Zinselmeyer BH, Heydari S, Sacristan C, Nayak D, Cammer M, Herz J, Cheng X, Davis SJ, Dustin ML, McGavern DB (2013)
  • PD-1 promotes immune exhaustion by inducing antiviral T cell motility paralysis
  • J Exp Med., 210(4), 757-74
  • 40) Nayak D, Johnson KR, Heydari S, Roth TL, Zinselmeyer BH, McGavern DB (2013)
  • Type I Interferon Programs Innate Myeloid Dynamics and Gene Expression in the Virally Infected Nervous System
  • PLoS Pathog., 9(5), e1003395
  • 41) Moseman EA, McGavern DB (2013)
  • The great balancing act: regulation and fate of antiviral T cell interactions
  • Immunol Rev., 255(1), 110-24
  • 42) Nayak D, Zinselmeyer BH, Corps K, McGavern DB (2012)
  • In vivo dynamics of innate immune sentinels in the CNS
  • Intravital., 1, 12-Jan
  • 43) Herz J, Zinselmeyer BH, McGavern DB (2012)
  • Two-photon imaging of microbial immunity in living tissues
  • Microsc Microanal., 18, 730-741
  • 44) Garidou L, Heydari S, Gossa S, McGavern DB (2012)
  • Therapeutic blockade of transforming growth factor beta fails to promote clearance of a persistent viral infection.
  • J Virol., 86(13), 7060-71
  • 45) McGavern DB, Kang SS (2011)
  • Illuminating viral infections in the nervous system
  • Nat Rev Immunol, 11(5), 318-29
  • 46) Kang SS, Herz J, Kim JV, Nayak D, Stewart-Hutchinson P, Dustin ML, McGavern DB (2011)
  • Migration of cytotoxic lymphocytes in cell cycle permits local MHC I-dependent control of division at sites of viral infection
  • J Exp Med, 208(4), 747-59
  • 47) Kang SS, McGavern DB (2010)
  • Microbial induction of vascular pathology in the CNS
  • J Neuroimmune Pharmacol, 5(3), 370-86
  • 48) Kim JV, Kang SS, Dustin ML, McGavern DB (2009)
  • Myelomonocytic cell recruitment causes fatal CNS vascular injury during acute viral meningitis
  • Nature, 457(7226), 191-5
  • 49) Truong P, McGavern DB (2009)
  • Persistent viral infection elevates CNS MHC I through chronic production of interferons
  • J Immunol. , 183(6), 3895-905
  • 50) Garidou L, Heydari S, Truong P, Brooks DG, McGavern DB (2009)
  • Therapeutic memory T cells require costimulation for effective clearance of a persistent viral infection
  • J Virol., 83(17), 8905-15
  • 51) Kang S, McGavern DB (2009)
  • Inflammation on the mind: visualizing immunity in the central nervous system
  • Curr Top Microbiol Immunol, 334, 227-63
  • 52) Truong P, McGavern DB (2008)
  • A novel virus carrier state to evaluate immunotherapeutic regimens: regulatory T cells modulate the pathogenicity of anti-viral memory cells
  • J Immunol, 181, 1161-1169
  • 53) Kang SS, McGavern DB (2008)
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection of the central nervous system
  • Front Biosci, 13, 4529-43
  • 54) Lauterbach H, Truong P, McGavern, DB (2007)
  • Clearance of an immunosuppressive virus from the CNS coincides with immune reanimation and diversification
  • Virology J, 4:53
  • 55) McGavern DB (2006)
  • Immunotherapeutic relief from persistent infections and amyloid disorders
  • Neurology., 66(Suppl 1), S59-S64
  • 56) Lauterbach H, Zuniga EI, Truong P, Oldstone, MB, McGavern, DB (2006)
  • Adoptive immunotherapy induces CNS dendritic cell recruitment and antigen presentation during clearance of a persistent viral infection
  • J Exp Med., 203, 1951-1961
  • 57) Brooks DG, Trifilo MJ, Edelmann KH, Teyton L, McGavern DB, Oldstone MB (2006)
  • Interleukin-10 determines viral clearance or persistence in vivo.
  • Nat Med., 12(11), 1301-9
  • 58) Brooks DG, McGavern DB, Oldstone MB (2006)
  • Reprogramming of antiviral T cells prevents inactivation and restores T cell activity during persistent viral infection.
  • J Clin Invest., 116(6), 1675-85
  • 59) McGavern DB (2005)
  • The role of bystander T cells in CNS pathology and pathogen clearance
  • Crit Rev Immunol., 25(4), 289-303
  • 60) Brooks DG, Teyton L, Oldstone MB, McGavern DB (2005)
  • Intrinsic functional dysregulation of CD4 T cells occurs rapidly following persistent viral infection
  • J Virol., 79, 10514-10527
  • 61) McGavern DB, Truong, P (2004)
  • Rebuilding an immune-mediated CNS disease: Weighing the pathogenicity of antigen-specific versus bystander T cells
  • J Immunol., 173(8), 4779-90
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