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Fine-tuning the immune system's molecular machines

University of Arizona assistant professor is named Pew biomedical researcher of the month

Pew Charitable Trusts

WHAT: Immunobiologist Michael Kuhns, The Pew Charitable Trusts' biomedical researcher of the month for his creative work on immunobiology. He studies T cell activation and regulation.

Kuhns aims to decode the "conversations" that take place between those immune cells and other cells in the human body as they work together to respond to infections, vaccines, and growing tumors. His long-term research goal is to develop techniques to manipulate the molecular machinery of the immune system for a desired outcome, such as enhancing response to vaccines or developing therapies to fight tumors.

Kuhns' story is the latest in Pew's biomedical researcher of the month series. Since 1985, the institution's biomedical programs have provided funding to more than 500 early-career investigators who, like Kuhns, show outstanding promise in science with the potential to advance human health. The scholars' exceptional research has earned them Nobel prizes, Lasker awards, MacArthur Foundation "genius" grants and other distinctions.

WHO: Experts are available for interviews regarding Kuhns' research and the program:

  • Michael Kuhns, Ph.D., 2011 Pew scholar and assistant professor, Department of Cell Immunobiology, University of Arizona College of Medicine

  • Anita Pepper, Ph.D., director of the Pew programs in the biomedical sciences

Pew's biomedical programs include the Pew scholars and the Pew Latin American fellows programs.


WHERE: Visit to view the video profile of Kuhns.

CONTACT: Chelsea Toledo at 202-540-6846,

For information regarding the Pew scholars program in the biomedical sciences, please visit

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public, and stimulate civic life.

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