Avram Lab

Avram lab



Avram Lab

Dorina Avram, PhD
Professor of Medicine and Immunology
Preeminence Professor
Director, Pulmonary Immunology

Avram Lab

Xiaoping Linda Luo | Laboratory Manager

Avram Lab

Theodore Drashansky | PhD Student


Kyle James Lorentsen | Graduate Research Assistant

Avram Lab Members, Jonathan Cho, MD/PhD student

Jonathan J. Cho, ENS, MC, USNR | MD/PhD Student


Avram lab

Ashley Zuniga, PHD Student

Upasana Parthasarathy, PHD Student


Eric Helm, PHD Student


Research Interests

  • Transcriptional and epigenetic control of mature T cell differentiation and effector function and of innate lymphoid cells
  • Altered immune regulatory mechanisms in autoimmune diseases (multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease) and asthma
  • Ubiquitin ligases in immune regulation and cancer
  • Treatments for multiple sclerosis and lung diseases through induction of tolerance and by altering the migration of pathogenic immune cells

Current Research Projects/Grants

  • NIH/NIAID 1R01AI133623 (Avram, multi-PI with Ben Keselowsky); Tolerogenic dual microparticle system for treatment of multiple sclerosis, 05/05/17- 04/30/22.
  • NIH/NIAID R21 AI13120501A1 (Avram, PI); Transcriptional control of genes implicated in suppression function of Treg cells, 7/1/2017–6/30/2019.
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society: (Avram, PI) A novel ubiquitin ligase with role in EAE severity – 2014-2018.
  • NIH/NIAID R01-AI067846-11 (Avram, PI) Role of BCL11B in CD4+ T Cells, 09/16/07-01/31/18.

Completed Research Projects/Grants

  • NIH/NIAID 1R21AI112492-01 (Avram, PI; Transcriptional control in innate lymphoid type II cells, 07/01/2014 – 06/30/2016.
  • NIH/NIAID  R01-AI078273 (Avram, PI); Bcl11b in immune regulation, 03/01/08-06/30/14.
  • National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Disease K01 AR-02194  (Avram, PI); A novel zinc finger transcriptional modulator of T cells, 08/01/01-07/31/06.
  • American Cancer Society: Transcriptional Regulatory Function of the Novel Oncoproteins CTIP/BCL11; 2004-2009.
  • Leukemia Fund (Avram, PI); Role of BCL11 Transcription Factors in Leukemia and Lymphoma, 05/1/06-8/31/08.


  • FEBS Fellowship, 1990
  • NATO Fellowship, 1991
  • IREX Fellowship, 1992
  • Soros Foundation Fellowship, 1993
  • American Society for Enology and Viticulture Fellowship, 1993-1996
  • NIH-K01 Career Development Award, National Institute of Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, Arthritis Branch, 2001-2006
  • American Cancer Society Research Scholar, 2004-2008


  • Cho JJ, Stewart JM, Drashansky TT, Brusko MA, Zuniga AN, Lorentsen KJ, Keselowsky BG, Avram D. An antigen-specific semi-therapeutic treatment with local delivery of tolerogenic factors through a dual-sized microparticle system blocks experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Biomaterials. 2017 Oct;143:79-92. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2017.07.029. Epub 2017 Jul 24.
  • Mohammad Nizam Uddin, Dil Afroz Sultana, Kyle J. Lorentsen, Jonathan J. Cho, Mariana E. Kirst, Mark L. Brantly, Danielle Califano, Derek B. Sant’Angelo and Dorina Avram. Transcription factor Bcl11b sustains iNKT1 and iNKT2 cell programs, restricts iNKT17 cell program and governs iNKT cell survival, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Jun 21. pii: 201521846. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Danielle Califano, Jonathan J. Cho, Mohammad N. Uddin, Kyle J. Lorentsen, Qi Yang, Avinash Bhandoola, Hongmin Li and Dorina Avram. Transcription factor Bcl11b controls identity and function of mature innate lymphoid cells type II. Immunity. 2015 Aug 18;43(2):354-68.
  • Califano D, Van Valkenburgh J, Yager E, O’Connor W, Kennedy JS, Jones DM, Avram D. Diverting Thelper cell trafficking through increased plasticity attenuates autoimmune encephalomyelitis. J Clin Invest. 2014 Jan 2;124(1):174-87. (PMID: 24316973).
  • Mohammad Uddin, Yubin Zhang, Jonathan Harton, Katherine MacNamara, Dorina Avram. TNF-a-dependent hematopoiesis following Bcl11b deletion in T cells restricts metastatic melanoma. J Immunol. 2014 Feb 15;192(4):1946-53.
  • Van Valkenburgh J,  Albu DI, Bapanpally C, Casanova S, Califano D, Jones DM, Ignatowicz L, Kawamoto S, Fagarasan S, Jenkins NA, Copeland NG, Liu P, Avram D.  Critical role of Bcl11b in suppressive function of T regulatory cells and prevention of inflammatory bowel disease.  J Exp Med 208(10):2069-2081, 2011.
  • Albu DI, Jeffrey Van Valkenburgh, Nicole Morin, Danielle Califano, Jenkins NA, Copeland NG, Liu P, Avram D. Transcription factor Bcl11b controls selection of invariant natural killer T-cells by regulating glycolipid presentation in double-positive thymocytes. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108(15):6211-6, 2011.
  • Zhang S, Rozell M, Albu DI, Randall T, Jenkins NA, Copeland NG, Liu P, Avram D. Antigen-specific clonal expansion and cytolytic effector function of CD8+ T lymphocytes depend on the transcription factor Bcl11b.   J Exp Med 207(8):1687-99, 2010.
  • Albu DI, Feng D, Bhattacharya D, Jenkins NA, Copeland NG, Liu P, Avram D.  BCL11B is required for positive selection and survival of double positive thymocytes.  J Exp Med 204(12): 3003-3015, 2007.
  • Cismasiu VB, Adamo K, Gecewicz J, Duque J, Lin Q, Avram D. BCL11B functionally associates with the NuRD complex in T lymphocytes to repress targeted promoter.  Oncogene 24:6753-6764, 2005.
  • Avram D, Fields A, Senawong T, Topark A, Leid M. COUP-TF-interacting protein 1 (CTIP1) is a sequence specific DNA binding protein.  Biochem J 368:555-563, 2002.
  • Avram D, Fields A, Nevrivy D, Ischmael J, Pretty On Top K, Leid M.  Isolation of a novel family of C2H2 zinc finger proteins implicated in transcriptional repression mediated by COUP-TF orphan nuclear receptors.  J Biol Chem 275:10315-10322, 2000.

Dr. Avram’s Bibliography


  • Mohammad Uddin, PhD
  • Dil Sultana, PhD
  • Danielle Califano, PhD
  • Safi Moshkani, PhD
  • Jeff Van Valkenburgh
  • Sarah Casanova
  • Raj Verma, PhD
  • Chandra Bapanpally, PhD
  • Diana Albu, PHD
  • Mike Rozell, MD
  • Vali Cisamasiu, PhD