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Daniel Hawiger, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology


M.D., University of Vienna Medical School, Vienna, Austria 
Ph.D., Rockefeller University, New York, NY


Dendritic cells (DCs) have crucial roles in priming effector T cells but DCs also have critical tolerogenic functions in the peripheral immune system, extending the maintenance of immune homeostasis and blocking autoimmune responses.  However, broad tolerogenic functions of DCs including induction of peripheral regulatory T cells (pTreg cells) could hamper protective immune responses against some pathogens and tumors, whereas an inadvertent activation of autoregressive T cells in the presence of pro-inflammatory stimuli could lead to autoimmunity. Therefore the maintenance of immune homeostasis by DCs requires specific mechanisms that actively adjust T cell functions to promote tolerance while preserving an overall high plasticity of the immune responses.

cover(DCs with specialized tolerogenic functions are represented here as red flowers attracting naïve T cells depicted as green bees that can acquire regulatory functions, symbolized as purple halos. Trends in Immunology, 2017, Nov;38(11):793-804)
Cover image by Htoi Jones.

To clarify the mechanisms by which DCs govern T cell tolerance in the context of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and other immune responses, studies in my laboratory are focused on the roles of specialized subsets of DCs and their specific functions in tolerance as well as the relevant molecular mechanisms induced by such DCs in T cells. Our work has elucidated the functions of specific immunomodulatory pathways, cell signaling regulators and transcription factors that establish tolerogenic outcomes of the interactions between T cells and DCs. 

Labs and Facilities

Lab Members

Jessica Bourque

Graduate Student (M.D.,Ph.D.)

Courtney Iberg
Graduate Student (Ph.D.)

Ian Fallahee
Graduate Student (Ph.D.)

Alexey Surnov
Postdoctoral Fellow

Lab Alumni

Jacob Henderson, (2015, Ph.D.)
Andrew Jones, (2017, Ph.D., 2019, M.D.)
Adeleye Opejin, (2019, Ph.D.)                          


Recent Publications

Iberg CA, and Hawiger D
Natural and Induced Tolerogenic Dendritic Cells
Journal of Immunology, 2020, Feb 15, 204(4), 733-744. PMID: 32015076

Iberg CA, and Hawiger D
Advancing immunomodulation by in vivo antigen delivery to DEC-205 and other cell surface molecules using recombinant chimeric antibodies
International Immunopharmacology, 2019 Aug;73:575-580. PMID: 31228685

Bourque J and Hawiger D
The BTLA - HVEM - CD5 immunoregulatory axis - an instructive mechanism governing pTreg cell differentiation
Frontiers in Immunology, 2019 May 22;10:1163. PMID: 31191536

Bourque J and Hawiger D
Immunomodulatory Bonds of the Partnership between Dendritic Cells and T Cells
Critical Reviews in Immunology, 2018, 38(5):p.379-401. PMID: 30792568

Iberg CA, Jones A and Hawiger D  
Dendritic cells as inducers of peripheral tolerance. 
Trends in Immunology,  2017, 38(11):793-804.  PMID: 28826942

Ye J, Wang Y, Liu X, Li L, Opejin A, Hsueh EC, Luo H, Wang T, Hawiger D and Peng G
TLR7 Signaling Regulates Th17 Cells and Autoimmunity: Novel Potential for Autoimmune Therapy
Journal of Immunology, 2017 1;199(3):941-954.  PMID: 28652396

Jones A and Hawiger D
Peripherally Induced Regulatory T Cells: Recruited Protectors of the Central Nervous System against Autoimmune Neuroinflammation
Frontiers in Immunology, 2017, 8:532. PMID: 28536579 

Jones A, Bourque J, Kuehm L, Opejin A, Teague RM , Gross C and Hawiger D
Immunomodulatory functions of BTLA and HVEM govern induction of extrathymic regulatory T cells and tolerance by dendritic cells
Immunity, 2016, 45(5): p.1066-1077.  PMID: 27793593

Henderson JG and Hawiger D
Regulation of extrathymic Treg cell conversion by CD5
Oncotarget, 2015, 6(29): p. 26554-555.  PMID: 26450851

Jones A, Opejin A, Henderson JG, Gross C, Jain R, Epstein JA, Flavell RA and Hawiger D
Peripherally Induced Tolerance Depends on Peripheral Regulatory T Cells That Require Hopx To Inhibit Intrinsic IL-2 Expression
Journal of Immunology, 2015, 15;195(4): p. 1489-97.  PMID: 26170384

Henderson JG, Opejin A, Jones A, Gross C, and Hawiger D
CD5 instructs extrathymic regulatory T cell development in response to self and tolerizing antigens
Immunity, 2015, 42(3): p. 471-483.  PMID: 25786177