Prabir 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 Associate, Molecular Biology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1990
  • Postdoctoral Associate, Molecular Biology, Cornell University, 1987
  • PhD in Molecular Biology, Calcutta University, 1985
  • MSc in Biochemistry, Calcutta University, 1979
  • BSc in Chemistry, Calcutta University, 1977

Research Interests

Dr. Ray is interested in immunoregulatory mechanisms of lung inflammation as they relate to disease inception and resolution. He pioneered the development of inducible cell-specific transgenic mice in the early years of his career at Yale University using which he demonstrated an important role of the growth factor KGF in protection from lung injury. More recently, his group identified a central role of the c-kit-PI3 kinase axis in promoting Th17 and Th2 differentiation and asthma using an experimental model. This work was chosen for the Year in Immunology 2010 publication of the New York Academy of Sciences.

His current research is focused on immune responses to pulmonary infections. His work has shown an important role of lung myeloid cells resembling MDSCs in resolution of lung inflammation during bacterial pneumonia. His group is also studying immune responses to infection by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV infection is common in infants and can cause severe bronchiolitis requiring hospitalization. Currently, there is no effective vaccine against RSV. Epidemiological studies have associated severe RSV-mediated illness with asthma development in later life and recent work from his lab suggests impairment of Treg function by RSV as one underlying mechanism. This study received significant attention nationally and internationally. Ongoing research in his lab is directed at understanding interactions between cells of the innate immune system and airway epithelial cells during RSV infection using both human samples and animal models, which may lead to new approaches to defend against RSV.