Federica Sallusto is an expert in the field of human cellular immunology. Her research has focused on dendritic cell and T cell traffic, mechanisms of T cell differentiation and immunological memory. She is known particularly for the definition of central and effector memory T cell subsets, of non-classic T helper 1 cells and T helper 22 cells and for the in depth characterization of the T cell response in patients with infectious diseases, autoimmunity, or primary immunodeficiencies. Federica Sallusto received the degree of Doctor in Biology from the University of Rome, Italy, in 1988 and performed postdoctoral work at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome and at the Basel Institute for Immunology, Switzerland, where she was a member from 1997 to 2000. Since 2000 she is a group leader at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Bellinzona, where she leads the Cellular Immunology Laboratory and where she has also established the Center of Medical Immunology. Since 2017, she is Full Professor in Medical Immunology at the ETH Zurich and at the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI). She is member of the German Academy of Science Leopoldina and of EMBO. She was president of the Swiss Society for Allergology and Immunology and currently she is president of the European Federation of Immunological Societies.

Research Interests

Federica Sallusto's research aims to address fundamental questions in the context of the human immune response to different classes of antigens and to gain insights into mechanisms that induce host protection or immune-mediated pathology. Among her original contributions are the development of a method to culture human dendritic cells, the discovery that human Th1, Th2 and Th17 cells express distinct sets of chemokine receptors, the definition of central and effector memory T cell subsets, and of skin-homing Th22 cells of two distinct types of pro-inflammatory or immunoregulatory Th17 cells. By combining antigenic stimulation and T cell receptor deep sequencing, they demonstrated that the T cell response induced by pathogens or vaccines is heterogeneous and can comprise clones whose progeny have acquired multiple fates. The team's efforts towards human immunology have resulted in the development of high-throughput cell-based screening methods to address fundamental and medically relevant questions in the fields of infectious diseases, autoimmunity and immunodeficiencies. The methods were used to show that T cells specific for Mycobacterium tuberculosis in latent TB-infected individuals are largely contained in a non-classic Th1 subset and which is dysfunctional in immunodeficient patients with mycobacterial disease, to dissect specific and cross-reactive T cell responses to Dengue, Zika and SARS-CoV viruses and to commensal and pathogenic bacteria and to identify autoreactive T cells in patients with narcolepsy.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 43: Immunology and Inflammation