Michael J. Lenardo is a molecular immunologist and geneticist recognized for his work on fundamental immunological mechanisms. He is particularly known for discovering the genetic basis, pathogenesis, and treatment of several congenital disorders of the immune system. Lenardo was born in Chicago, Illinois and graduated from The Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in Natural Sciences in 1977. He then obtained his MD from Washington University-St. Louis and carried out clinical and postdoctoral training at the University of Iowa and then at the Whitehead Institute at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He became an investigator in the intramural program of NIAID, NIH in 1989, later becoming a Section Chief and Director, NIAID Clinical Genomics Program. He has also served as an educator by creating doctoral training programs between NIH and the University of Pennsylvania, where he is appointed adjunct Professor of Pathology, as well as Oxford and Cambridge universities and co-founding the intramural MD/PhD partnership training program. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Michael Lenardo's laboratory explores regulatory pathways in the human immune system by three approaches:
1. Setting basic molecular mechanisms of T cell activation and apoptosis;
2. Examining the regulation of Mg2+ in immune cell processes, and
3. Using genomics to discover the genetic pathogenesis and potential treatment of congenital disorders of the immune system. His work has elucidated principles of cellular homeostasis involving Fas, caspases 8 and 10, PI-3 kinase p110, CTLA-4 and its regulator LRBA, CD55, and the MagT1 magnesium transporter by studying human genetic anomalies through patient-based research integrated with molecular, biochemical, and immunological approaches. This has allowed his group to define the first human genetic disease for each of these molecules. His work has shown how these molecules each play a role in governing the homeostasis of both immune and non-immune cell types and has revealed fundamental disease mechanisms and concepts for new successful treatments for these disorders. The mechanisms uncovered have broad applicability to common, non-Mendelian diseases including cancer. His work has shown that genomic research can lead to precision medicine diagnosis and treatments for human disease.

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Primary Section

Section 43: Immunology and Inflammation

Secondary Section

Section 41: Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology