Anuradha Ray, PhD

  • Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine
  • Professor, Department of Immunology
  • UPMC Endowed Chair in Lung Immunology

Education & Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Cornell University, 1986
  • PhD in Molecular Biology, Calcutta University, 1984
  • MSc in Biochemistry, Calcutta University, 1978
  • BSc in Chemistry, Calcutta University, 1976

Research Interests

Over the years, Dr. Ray has pursued two main areas of research. In one, she has studied immune responses elicited in the airways by allergens and pathogens to understand the immunological and molecular basis of inflammatory diseases like asthma. In the second, she has investigated mechanisms that counter inflammation. Dr. Ray's early research showed for the first time that corticosteroids suppress inflammation not via DNA-binding of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) to promoters of target pro-inflammatory genes, which was then the prevailing theory of steroid­mediated regulation of gene transcription, but by direct protein-protein interactions between GR and the transactivator NF-kB rendering it unavailable for transcriptional activation. In studies of the immunological underpinnings of asthma, her work led to the discovery of GATA-3 as an essential regulator of Th2 cells, which promote asthma and allergic diseases. More recently, her studies have shown that corticosteroid-refractory severe asthma involves a more complex immune response with Th1 dominance in many patients. On the flip side, to understand how the pulmonary immune system maintains immune homeostasis or tolerance despite constant provocation by environmental antigens, her work identified an important role of Tregs in preventing unwarranted airway inflammation. The primary goal of Dr. Ray’s current research is to unravel the heterogeneity in immune networking in both severe and milder asthma to allow better therapeutic management of disease. In this context, ongoing work in her laboratory is focused on dendritic cell-T cell interactions as they relate to diseases like severe asthma or to immune tolerance to prevent such diseases using both human samples and animal models. She is also interested in mechanisms by which pathogens subvert the immune system. Dr. Ray is an invited member of the Faculty of 1000 Biology in the Immunology discipline. Her research has been continuously funded by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health.