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Welcome to the Fowell Lab
at Cornell University

Understanding how tissue micro-environments shape immune function in infectious and inflammatory disease.

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OUR RESEARCH

We are actively engaged in defining the signals that enable effector T cells to ‘find’ areas of infection and damage within inflamed tissues. We utilize intravital multiphoton microscopy and optogenetic tools to visualize and manipulate effector CD4+ T cells in situ. 
 
These approaches have revealed extrinsic control of effector CD4+ T cell movement; with roles for chemokines in regulating accumulation and activation at inflamed sites, and roles for T cell integrins in promoting interactions with the extracellular matrix for guided movement. Intrinsic programming of effector CD4+ T cell subsets sets distinct thresholds for sensitivity to these extrinsic cues. By identifying key parameters for T cell effector activity in the inflamed dermis we aim to inform new inflammation-specific therapies.

LAB NEWS

May 2024

Congratulations and farewell to our graduating undergraduate researchers, Lwiza AitDowd and Pamela Perez! Lwiza is headed to Boston Children's Hospital as a Research Assistant, and Pam will be a Clinical Research Coordinator at MGH. We wish them the best of luck in these exciting new roles.

April 2024

The lab caught a glimpse of the total solar eclipse through the clouds from Dr. Fowell's backyard in Rochester, NY.

March 2024

Welcome BBS students Ziehyun Shim and Katelyn Raney, who will spend the spring with us for their third rotations!

January 2024

Alex McGurk gave a short talk at the Keystone symposium Myeloid Cell Diversity: From Fundamental Biology to Disease States in Banff, Canada.

Noor Bala, Evan Carter, and Marinel Ocasio-Rivera traveled to Pacific Grove, California to present their research posters at the 62nd Midwinter Conference of Immunologists at Asilomar.

Happy New Year from the Fowell Lab!

December 2023

Congratulations to Alex McGurk for winning a scholarship from the Keystone Symposia scholarship program! Alex will present his work at Myeloid Cell Diversity: From Fundamental Biology to Disease States hosted by Keystone early next month.

Congratulations to Noor Bala for winning a 2024 MCI Trainee Travel Award! Noor's abstract was selected from abstracts submitted for the Midwinter Conference of Immunologists this coming January.

We all brought in treats for our second annual Cookie Exchange to celebrate the past year of research. Happy Holidays!

Welcome BBS students Francesca Byun and Nick Vazquez, who will spend the next few months with us for their second rotations!

November 2023

Welcome Xiang Yang, MD/PhD, our first Postdoctoral Associate at Cornell!

October 2023

Graduate students from our lab and others across the Ithaca campus joined trainees and mentors from Weill Cornell Medicine and Memorial Sloan-Kettering for the annual Weill Immunology & Microbial Pathogenesis (IMP) Retreat. This reunion serves as a space to exchange ideas and present on the diverse scientific research conducted at these interconnected institutions.

Dr. Fowell presented at the 25th Annual Upstate New York Immunology Conference (NYIC) in Cooperstown, New York.

Farewell and good luck to laboratory technician Dan Netti, now at Quadrant Biosciences as a Laboratory Analyst.

Welcome Caleb Goillandeau, our newest undergraduate student researcher.

Tiago Zilch presented his research on Tfh and germinal centers at the T and B Cell Collaboration in Germinal Centers and Beyond symposium hosted by Keystone in Whistler, Canada.

September 2023

Marinel Ocasio-Rivera represented Cornell University during Ivy+ Puerto Rico, through which Cornell and other top U.S. research universities work together to recruit undergraduate students for master’s and doctoral programs, with the goal of increasing diversity in higher education.

Welcome Rucha Deo and Anastasia Rup, our first BBS rotation students of the academic year!

August 2023

Congratulations to Dr. Fowell for receiving the prestigious NIH MERIT Award! Only a select few researchers receive the award each year, which is reserved for investigators with especially strong records of research accomplishment. Read more about Dr. Fowell's plans for the award in this article from the College of Veterinary Medicine:  

→ https://www.vet.cornell.edu/news/dr-deborah-fowell-awarded-nih-merit-grant

The lab attended the 22nd Annual Biomedical & Biological Sciences (BBS) Symposium in the College of Veterinary Medicine, where first-year PhD students were introduced to the variety of research in Cornell BBS. Second-year students donned lab coats in a ceremony recognizing their transition into research labs as official mentees, and our PhD candidates Noor Bala, Alex McGurk, and Tiago Zilch presented research posters.

July 2023

Our recent collaboration with the White Lab is now published, check it out in Cancer Research:

→ https://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-22-2841

June 2023

Check out this recent publication from the Geha Lab at Boston Children's Hospital, featuring our very own Alex McGurk as second author:

→ https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2023.05.025

Congratulations to Alex McGurk, now PhD candidate, for passing your A-exam!

Welcome (back) Marinel Ocasio-Rivera, our newest PhD student from the BBS program! Marinel spent her first rotation with us during the 2022 Fall Semester, and we're happy to have her join the lab officially as a graduate student.

May 2023

Congratulations and farewell to Nuzat Zaman, our graduating undergraduate researcher. Good luck at the Broad Institute!

Congratulations and good luck to PhD candidate Noor Bala and undergraduate Lwiza AitDowd on their summer internships! Lwiza is off to AbbVie, while Noor is interning in Precision Medicine at Regeneron.

April 2023

Thanks to all in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology who attended our second TGIF Sushi Social, it was a great opportunity to catch up with everyone.

Dr. Fowell presented at the Cold Spring Harbor Systems Immunology meeting, which brought system biologists and immunologists together to share their diverse research on the organization, functions, and regulation of the immune system across experimental, computational, and mathematical disciplines.

March 2023

We held our (very belated) celebratory New Year's dinner at Coltivare in downtown Ithaca. The white elephant gift exchange was great fun, and it was wonderful to catch up with the partners and spouses who joined us.

February 2023

Congratulations to Anastasia Rup for her acceptance into the Biomedical & Biological Sciences PhD Program here at Cornell!

January 2023

We are actively seeking postdocs interested in studying the mechanisms of CD4 effector function, with open positions in Immunology, Bioinformatics, Computational biology, or In vivo imaging. See our Academic Jobs Online posting here.

December 2022

We had our first annual Cookie Exchange in lab to celebrate the past year of research. Happy Holidays!

November 2022

Congratulations to Marinel Ocasio-Rivera for completing her rotation project! This was her first rotation in BBS, and we wish her the best for her future placements.

October 2022

Welcome Daniel Netti, a new technician in the lab.

Congratulations to Tiago Zilch for winning an AAI/NYIC Young Investigator Award! He received the award for his research presented at NYIC. 

The lab visited Cooperstown, New York for the 24th Annual Upstate New York Immunology Conference (NYIC). Tiago Zilch was selected for a poster talk, and Anastasia Rup and Evan Carter jointly presented a poster.

Welcome Pamela Perez, our newest undergraduate student researcher.

September 2022

The lab attended the Cornell Immunogenomics Symposium hosted by the Center for Immunology, the Center for Vertebrate Genomics, and the Provost's Genome Biology Task Force. We enjoyed a number of talks from leading researchers in genomic immunology, gene editing, gut microbiome studies, and bioinformatics. Evan Carter and Anastasia Rup jointly presented a poster.

Thanks to all the students, staff, and faculty who came to the lab's Sushi Social, our take on the biweekly TGIF event held in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. It was a nice afternoon of socializing and rest to start the weekend.

August 2022

The lab attended the 21st Annual Biomedical & Biological Sciences (BBS) Symposium in the College of Veterinary Medicine, organized in part by our very own Tiago Zilch. Noor Bala, Alex McGurk, Anastasia Rup, Evan Carter, and Tiago exhibited posters at the end of the day, where first-year PhD students had the chance to sample research done in the BBS program.

We had a celebratory lunch outing in Collegetown for Lwiza AitDowd and Nuzat Zaman, our undergraduate researchers. Congratulations and thank you for your hard work this summer!

The lab attended the CCFI/CIHMID Research Symposium at Cornell University, where our undergraduates Lwiza AitDowd and Nuzat Zaman presented posters on their summer research projects. Anastasia Rup and Evan Carter also presented during the poster session.

July 2022

Congratulations to Tiago Zilch, now PhD Candidate, for passing your A-exam!

June 2022

Noor Bala and Dr. Fowell both gave talks at Chemotactic Cytokines, a Gordon Research Conference (GRC) held in Les Diablerets, Switzerland.

May 2022

The lab flew out to Portland, Oregon for IMMUNOLOGY2022, the annual meeting organized by AAI. Noor Bala and Tiago Zilch both presented posters. Noor also gave a podium presentation on her research during the Lymphocyte Homeostasis and Regulation symposium.

April 2022

Dr. Fowell gave the first talk of the 2nd Intercampus Immunology Symposium held at Cornell Tech in New York City, where Tiago Zilch, Anastasia Rup, and Evan Carter presented posters. The meeting brought together researchers from the Cornell Ithaca campus and Weill Cornell Medicine to establish collaborations and share their work on imaging, tissue immunity, immunogenomics, and the microbiome.

March 2022

The lab attended the 2022 CIHMID/CCFI Research Symposium on campus at Cornell University, where Alex McGurk and Tiago Zilch presented posters, and we heard a number of great talks from trainees and faculty.

February 2022

Congratulations to Lwiza AitDowd and Nuzat Zaman for their acceptance into the CIHMID Undergraduate Research Experience Program!

Congratulations Noor Bala for winning an AAI Trainee Abstract Award! Her abstract has been selected for oral presentation in Block Symposia at IMMUNOLOGY2022, hosted by The American Association of Immunologists.

January 2022

Welcome Lwiza AitDowd, Shiveen Kumar, and Nuzat Zaman, our new undergraduate student researchers!

December 2021

We had a lovely holiday dinner out at The Heights to celebrate the end of the year. Thank you to the spouses and partners in attendance, it was wonderful to meet and catch up with you all.

Check out the lab’s recent review on T cell activation niches for Immunological Reviews:

 https://doi.org/10.1111/imr.13047

October 2021

Congrats Noor Bala for winning an AAI NYIC Young Investigator Award! She received the award after giving her poster talk at NYIC in Cooperstown, New York. 

Lab off to the 23rd Annual Upstate New York Immunology Conference (NYIC) – Cooperstown here we come.

September 2021

Welcome Anastasia Rup, Technician, to the lab!

August 2021

Hen Prizant’s perivascular activation niche paper is now out in Cell Reports. Congrats to all those who contributed:

→ https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2021.109523

July 2021

Congrats Noor Bala on passing your A exam. Awesome job!

Check out Dr. Fowell’s review on spatio-temporal control of effector T cell migration:

→ https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-021-00507-0

Farewell Alex Iankoulska. Good luck in grad school!

May 2021

Welcome Tiago Zilch to the lab as a new grad student from the Biomedical & Biological Sciences PhD Program.

April 2021

Welcome Evan Moss Carter, our new Technician, to the lab!

March 2021

​Congratulations Hen Prizant on your new Scientist position in the Oncology Biomarker Development, Cancer Immunotherapy group at Genentech. You’re going to do great things.

January 2021

The Fowell Lab arrives at Cornell. Thanks to the grad students who came with me on this journey, Noor Bala and Alex McGurk. Huge thanks to Scott Leddon, Senior Research Associate for making this move possible and for setting up the lab.

The Fowell Lab welcomes students, postdocs, visiting scholars, and staff regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender identification, sexual orientation, age, disability status, or socioeconomic background.

Selected Publications

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CXCL10+ peripheral activation niches couple preferred sites of Th1 entry with optimal APC encounter
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The spatiotemporal control of effector T cell migration
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In situ neutrophil efferocytosis shapes T cell immunity to influenza infection
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Programming of distinct chemokine-dependent and
-independent search strategies for Th1 and Th2 cells optimizes function at inflamed sites
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Pivotal role for αV integrins in sustained Tfh support of the germinal center response for long-lived plasma cell generation
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T cell activation niches—Optimizing T cell effector function in inflamed and infected tissues
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CD4+ T cell interstitial migration controlled by fibronectin in the inflamed skin
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CCL7 is a negative regulator of cutaneous inflammation following 
Leishmania major infection
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