• Principal Investigator, Center for Global Infectious Disease Research
  • Assistant Professor, Pediatrics - Infectious Diseases
Benjamin Gern

Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Center for Global Infectious Disease Research
307 Westlake Ave N
Seattle, WA

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Dr. Gern’s research program focuses on characterizing spatially organized host-pathogen interactions, with a particular focus on the immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which kills 1.5 million people per year. Unfortunately, the limited efficacy of the only licensed tuberculosis vaccine (BCG) and the need for challenging, prolonged antibiotic treatment hamper our efforts to combat this deadly pandemic. To develop improved vaccines and treatments to combat tuberculosis, we need a better understanding of what is happening at the epicenter of infection: the pulmonary granuloma. To better understand the events within this epicenter of infection, Dr. Gern's lab investigates host-pathogen interactions within the granuloma, with the ultimate goal of informing the design of improved treatments and vaccines. Dr. Gern's lab utilizes a combination of physiologic mouse models, human tissues, advanced immunologic tools, and cutting edge quantitative imaging to investigate: what factors dictate immune cell localization to sites of infection, what inhibits their function within these spaces. The lab harnesses this knowledge to test therapies that can improve immune responses directly at the site of infection.

  • MD, University of Wisconsin
Country Affiliations 
Health Topics 
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pathobiology
  • TB

Cohen SB, Gern BH, Urdahl KB. The Tuberculous Granuloma and Preexisting Immunity. 35130029 Annual review of immunology, 2022 April 26 : 40589-614

Gern BH, Adams KN, Plumlee CR, Stoltzfus CR, Shehata L, Moguche AO, Busman-Sahay K, Hansen SG, Axthelm MK, Picker LJ, Estes JD, Urdahl KB, Gerner MY. TGFβ restricts expansion, survival, and function of T cells within the tuberculous granuloma. 33711270 Cell host & microbe, 2021 April 14 : 29(4)594-606.e6PMCID:PMC8624870

Plumlee CR, Duffy FJ, Gern BH, Delahaye JL, Cohen SB, Stoltzfus CR, Rustad TR, Hansen SG, Axthelm MK, Picker LJ, Aitchison JD, Sherman DR, Ganusov VV, Gerner MY, Zak DE, Urdahl KB. Ultra-low Dose Aerosol Infection of Mice with Mycobacterium tuberculosis More Closely Models Human Tuberculosis. 33142108 Cell host & microbe, 2021 Jan. 13 : 29(1)68-82.e5PMCID:PMC7854984

Stoltzfus CR, Filipek J, Gern BH, Olin BE, Leal JM, Wu Y, Lyons-Cohen MR, Huang JY, Paz-Stoltzfus CL, Plumlee CR, Pöschinger T, Urdahl KB, Perro M, Gerner MY. CytoMAP: A Spatial Analysis Toolbox Reveals Features of Myeloid Cell Organization in Lymphoid Tissues. 32320656 Cell reports, 2020 April 21 : 31(3)107523PMCID:PMC7233132

Cohen SB, Gern BH, Delahaye JL, Adams KN, Plumlee CR, Winkler JK, Sherman DR, Gerner MY, Urdahl KB. Alveolar Macrophages Provide an Early Mycobacterium tuberculosis Niche and Initiate Dissemination. 30146391 Cell host & microbe, 2018 Sept. 12 : 24(3)439-446.e4PMCID:PMC6152889


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