Researcher’s Profile

Donna L. Farber, PhD

Associate Director, Columbia Center for Translational Immunology
Division Chief, Surgical Sciences

Immune memory and protective immunity Influenza immune responses Transplantation immunology Autoimmunity

Research in our laboratory is focused on immunological memory and specifically on memory T cells as essential mediators of protective immunity. While it was previously thought that memory T cells mediate their protective responses through rapid migration and surveillance through tissues, it is now become clear that localization and establishment of non-circulating memory T cells resident in tissue sites is integral to immune protection. We are incorporating fundamental studies on mouse models with novel translational approaches on human samples to investigate tissue immune responses. We have identified a new subset of non-circulating tissue-resident memory T cells (TRM) in the lung that mediate optimal protective immunity in a mouse model of influenza infection. Current studies into mechanisms for how memory T cells become targeted to and maintained in the lung use total transcriptome profiling and bioinformatics approaches. We have identified novel roles for specific integrins and inflammatory mediators in this process, and are studying the signaling pathways involved in resident memory T cell generation and functional recall.      For our translational studies, we have established a unique collaboration and research protocol with the organ procurement organization for the New York Metropolitan area (LiveOnNY ; and transplant surgeons at New York Presbyterian (NYP) where we obtain multiple lymphoid and mucosal tissues from research-consented human organ donors. These studies are part of an NIH-funded Program on “Tissue compartmentalization of human lymphocytes”, involving immunologists, molecular biologists and computational biologists in five institutions to study human adaptive and innate lymphocyte compartmentalization and maintenance in human tissues throughout the human lifespan. Additionally, because memory T cells are critically important to generate in vaccines, we have ongoing studies on infant immunity, to investigate how protective responses can be established in babies who are most susceptible to infection and immune pathologies. These infant studies involve both mouse models and also sampling of site-specific responses in human infants intubated due to virus infection in collaboration with clinicians in the Pediatric Critical care Division at Morgan Stanley/NYP.

Lab Members: 
Thomas Connors, M.D., Associate Research Scientist
Jun-Kui Chen, Graduate Student
Filip Cvetkovski, Graduate Student
Dustin Carpenter, Postdoctoral Surgeon Fellow
Tomer Granot, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate
Brahma Kumar , MD/PhD student
Claire Gordon, MBBS, FRACP, Instructor of Medicine
Michelle Miron, Graduate Student
Daniel Paik, MD/PhD student
Joseph Thome, Graduate Student
Takashi Senda, Associate Research Scientist
Kyra Zens, M.S., Graduate Student
Teijaro, J.R., Turner, D., Nam, Q., Wherry, E.J., LeFrançois, L. and Farber, D.L. (2011) Cutting Edge: Tissue-retentive lung memory CD4 T cells mediate optimal protective responses to influenza. J. Immunol. 187:5510-14. Sathaliyawala, T., Kubota, M., Yudanin, N., Turner, D., Camp, P., Thome, J.C., Bickham, K.L., Lerner, H., Goldstein, M., Sykes, M., Kato, T and Farber, D.L. (2013) Distribution and compartmentalization of human circulating and tissue-resident memory T cells. Immunity. 38: 187-197. (Also see preview article in same issue by Neuenhahn and Busch, D.H., “Whole body anatomy of human T cells”. Immunity. 38:10-12.) Turner, D.L., Bickham, K.L., Farber, D.L. and Lefrancois, L. (2013) Splenic priming of virus-specific CD8 T cells following influenza infection. J. Virol. 87:4496-506. Turner, D.L., Bickham, K.L., Thome, J.J.T., Kim, C., D’Ovidio, F., Wherry, E.J. and Farber, D.L. (2014) Lung resident niches for the generation and maintenance of influenza-specific memory T cells. Mucosal Immunology. 7:501-10. Farber, D.L. , Yudanin, N.A. and Restifio, N.P. (2014) Human Memory T cells: generation, compartmentalization and homeostasis. Nature Reviews Immunology.14:24-35. (featured on cover) PMCID:PMC4032067 Turner, D.L., Gordon, C.L. and Farber, D.L. (2014) Tissue resident T cells, in situ immunity and transplantation. Immunol. Reviews. 258:150-166. Zens, K.D. and Farber, D.L. (2015) Memory CD4 T cell responses to influenza virus. Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology. 386:399-421. Turner, D.L. and Farber, D.L. (2014) Mucosal resident memory CD4 T cells in protection and immunopathology. Front. Immunol. 5:331 Free article Thome, J.J.C., Yudanin, N.A., Ohmura, Y., Kubota, M., Grinshpun, B., Sathaliyawala, T., Kato, T., Lerner, H., Shen, Y. and Farber, D.L. (2014) Spatial map of human T cell compartmentalization and maintenance over decades of life. Cell. 159:814-28. PMCID:PMC4243051 Brestoff,J.R., Kim,B.S., Saenz,S.A., Stine,R.R., Monticelli,L.A., Sonnenberg,G.A., Thome,J.J.T., Farber,D.L., Lutfy,K., Seale, P., and Artis, D. (2015) Group 2 innate lymphoid cells promote beiging of white adipose tissue and limit diet-induced obesity. Nature, 519:242-6. PMCID:PMC4447235 Thome, J.J.C. and Farber, D.L. (2015) Emerging concepts in tissue-resident T cells: lessons from humans. Trends. Immunol. 36:428-35. PMCID:PMC4491028 Yu, M., Owens, D.M., Ghosh, S. and Farber, D.L. (2015) Conditional PDK1 ablation promotes epidermal and T cell-mediated dysfunctions leading to inflammatory skin disease. J. Invest. Derm. 135: 2688-96. PMCID:PMC4640961 Thome, J.J.C., Bickham, K.L., Kubota, M. Ohmura, Y., Matsuoka, N., Gordon, C., Granot, T., Griesemer, A., Lerner, H., Kato, T., and Farber, D.L. (2016) Early-life compartmentalization of T-cell differentiation and regulatory function in mucosal and lymphoid tissues.  Nature Medicine. 22:72-77. PMCID:PMC4703455 Trischler, J., Shiomi, T., Turner, D.L., Sklepkiewicz, P.L., Goldklang, M.P., Farber, D.L. and D’Armiento, J.M. (2016) Immune Modulation of the T cell Response in Asthma through Wnt10b. Amer. J. Resp. Cell and Mol. Biol. 54:584-93.  Zuber, J., Rosen, S., Shonts, B., Sprangers, B., Savage, T., Richman, S., Yang, S., Lau, S.P., DeWolf, S., Farber, D.L., Vlad, G., Zorn, E., Wong, W., Emond, J., Levin, B., Martinez, M., Kato, T., Sykes, M. (2015) Macrochimerism in intestinal transplantation: association with lower rejection rates and multivisceral transplants, without GVHD.  Am. J. Transplant. 15:2691-703.  Connors, T.J., Ravindranath,T.M., Bickham,K.L., Gordon,C.L., Zhang, F., Levin,B., Baird, J.S. and Farber, D.L. (2016) Airway CD8 T-cells are associated with lung injury during infant viral respiratory tract infection. Amer. J. Resp. Cell and Mol. Biol. 54:822-830. Farber,D.L., Netea,M., Radbruch,A., Rajewsky,K. and Zinkernagel, R. (2016) Immunological memory: lessons from the past and a look to the future.  Nat. Rev. Immunol. 16: 124-8. Connors, T.J., Baird, J. and Farber, D.L. (2016) Viral Bronchiolitis in children (correspondance)      N. Engl. J. Med. 374:1791-2. Zens, K.D., Chen, J.-K. and Farber, D.L. (2016) Vaccine-generated lung tissue-resident memory T cells provide heterosubtypic protection to influenza virus infection. J. Clin, Invest. Insight, 1(10):e85832. doi:10.1172/jci.insight.85832.  PMCID: PMC4959801 Murray, A.J., Kwon, K.J., Farber, D.L. and Siliciano, R.F. (2016) The latent reservoir for HIV-1: how immunologic memory and clonal expansion contribute to HIV persistence. J. Immunol. 197:407-417. PMCId:PMC4936486  Zuber J., Shonts, B., Lau, S.-P., Obradovic, A., Fu, J., Yang, S., Lambert, M., Coley, S., Weiner, J., Thome, J.J.C., DeWolf, S., Farber, D.L., Shen, Y., Caillat-Zucman, S., Bhagat, G., Griesemer,A., Martinez,M., Kato, T. and Sykes,M. (2016) Bidirectional intragraft