Associate Professor | RCMI Deputy Director
Dr. Pezzano is a cellular immunologist studying thymic epithelial stem cells and their contribution to the development and maintenance of thymic microenvironments. His research is directed at understanding how the immune system learns to distinguish self from non-self; this basic problem is fundamental to adaptive immune responses, while defects lead to development of autoimmune disease. His work has clinical applications in counteracting age-associated thymic involution, as well as enhancing bone marrow transplants used for cancer therapy.
Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology, The City University of New York, 1993
B.S. in Biology, William Paterson University, 1985
Biology 22900 - Cell and Molecular Biology
Biology V1800 - Immunology (Graduate level)
The thymus represents the key organ where the development and selection of T cells occurs. This process is critical to the function of the adaptive immune response. The thymus is composed of mixture of epithelial and bone hematopoietic derived stromal components, which interact to provide a series of complex microenvironments responsible for regulating the attraction, selection, survival and differentiation of developing T cells. Most of these functions are mediated through the actions of as yet poorly defined subsets of thymic epithelial cells. Research in my lab is focused on defining the function of specific thymic epithelial subsets in thymocyte selection, as well as understanding the cross talk mechanisms, which regulate the initial development and subsequent maintenance of the complex 3D microenvironment of the thymus. TECs have recently been shown to express a wide range of tissue specific antigens (TSAs) that are critical to ensuring a self-tolerant mature T cell repertoire. Understanding the complex interactions that occur between developing thymocytes and TECs will be critical for intervention in autoimmune disease, thymic recovery after cancer therapy and in regulating immune function in the aging population. We have two NIH funded research projects in the lab for which we are currently recruiting graduate students. The first focuses on understanding the role of Wnt signaling in the development and maintenance of the thymus. The second project initiated as a collaborative study through the CCNY/ MSKCC Collaborative Cancer Center is aimed at identifying a thymic epithelial stem cell population and understanding how this population can be used to enhance thymic recovery in bone marrow transplant patients.
Osada M, Jardine L, Misir R, Andl T, Millar SE and Mark Pezzano (2010) DKK1 Mediated Inhibition of Wnt Signaling in Postnatal Mice Leads to Loss of TEC Progenitors and Thymic Degeneration. PLoS ONE 5(2): e9062. PMID: 20161711 PMCID: PMC2817005.
Pezzano, M., Kovolovski, D., Osada, M., and Sant ‘Angelo, D.B. (2010) Growth of the Thymic Medulla requires Negative Selection. Manuscript in Preparation for JI.
Kovolovski, D., Pezzano, M., Ortiz, B. and Sant ‘Angelo, D.B. (2010) A Novel TCR Transgenic Model Reveals that Negative Selection Involves an Immediate, Bim-Dependent Pathway and a Delayed, Bim-Independent Pathway PLoS One 13;5(1):e8675. PMID: 20072628. PMCID: PMC2800196.
Martinez, M.*, Samms, M.*, Hendrix, T.*, Adeosun, O.*, Pezzano, M., and Guyden, J.C. (2007) The Organization of the Thymic Nurse Cell Multi-Cellular complex within the Thymus of HY-TCR Transgenic Mice Demonstrates Their Association with MHC Restriction Journal of Experimental Biology and Medicine 232 (6):780-8 (Feature Article for June).
Osada, M., Ito, E., Vazquez-Cintron, E*., Venkatesh, T., Friedel, R.H., and Pezzano, M. (2006) The Wnt Signaling Antagonist Kremen1 is Required for the Development of Thymic Architecture Clinical and Developmental Immunology 13 (2-4) 299-319.
Webb, O.*, Kelly, F.*, Benitez, J.*, Li, J., Parker, M.*, Martinez, M.*, Samms, M.*, Blake, A.*, Pezzano, M. and Guyden, J.C. (2004) The Identification of Thymic Nurse Cells In Vivo and the Role of Cytoskeletal Proteins in Thymocyte Internalization Cellular Immunology 228(2):119-29.
Characterization of Thymic Epithelial Stem Cells and their Capacity to Reconstitute Thymic Function Masako Osada, Logan Jardine, Ruth Misir, Derek B. Sant’ Angelo and Mark Pezzano MSKCC/CCNY Cancer Research Symposium Cancer Heath Disparities: A Translational Approach April 23 2010.
DKK1 Mediated Inhibition of Wnt Signaling in Postnatal Mice Leads to Loss of TEC Progenitors and Thymic Degeneration Masako Osada, Logan Jardine, Ruth Misir, Thomas Andl, Sarah E. Millarand Mark Pezzano AAI meeting Oral Platform Presentation May 7th-11th Baltimore Maryland 2010 A# 36.32.
Use of Medullary Reconstitution to Analyze mTEC Development Masako Osada1, Agnes Sisa, Hector Fermin1, Derek. B. Sant’Angelo2 and Mark Pezzano1International Symposium on Health Disparities Honolulu Hawaii Dec 1-4 2008.
Characterization of Kremen 1 Function. Logan Jardin, Masako Osada, Hector Fermin, and Mark Pezzano Einsteins in the City II International Student Research Conference Oct 30-31st 2007.
The Use of Medullary Reconstitution to Analyze mTEC Development Agnes Sisa, Masako Osada, Hector Fermin, Derek B. Sant’Angelo and Mark Pezzano Einsteins in the City II International Student Research Conference Oct 30-31st 2007.
Crosstalk control of thymic epithelial development. M. Pezzano, M. Osada, H. Fermin and D.B. Sant’Angelo (2007) Guest Lecture Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis Program-Scientific Retreat. Mohonk Mountain House Conference Center, New Paltz, New York.
Use of Medullary Reconstitution to Analyze mTEC Development. Osada, M., Fermin, H.* Sant’Angelo, D.B. and Pezzano, M. (2007) THYMUS- Workshop on T cell Development 2007 Rolduc Netherlands May 19-22 ) (BD-Outstanding Poster Award) Abstract P81.
Characterization of Kremen-1 Functional Domains. Logan Jardine*, Masako Osada and Mark Pezzano. CCAAP Poster Presentation CCNY Nov. 2006.
The Microenvironment Niche Provided by Thymic Nurse Cells Facilitates the Attraction of Thymocytes and Macrophages. Oluwaseun, O Adeosun*, Jerry Guyden, Tonya Hendrix*, Marcia Martinez*, Michael Samms* and Mark Pezzano ABRCMS 2006 06-A-1451. (Outstanding Poster Award)
Osada, M, Ito, E., Vasquez, E.*, Venkatesh, T., Friedel, R.H. and Pezzano, M. Kremen-1 Knockout Mice Exhibit Altered Thymic Architecture (Platform Presentation) RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities San Juan PR Dec.15 2006.
Osada, M, Ito, E., Vasquez, E.*, Venkatesh, T., Friedel, R.H. and Pezzano, M. Kremen-1 Knockout Mice Exhibit Altered Thymic Architecture AAI Meeting May 12-16, 2006 Boston MA (Abstract J. Immunol. C67 p.2).
Vasquez, E.*, Osada, M, Ito, E.*, Venkatesh, T., Friedel, R.H. and Pezzano, M. Kremen-1 Knockout Mice Exhibit Altered Thymic Architecture. Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) 14th Annual Journeys Beyond Excellence Statewide Student Conference. The Sagamore on Lake George, NY, April 21-23. (Second Place in the Outstanding Poster Awards)
Pezzano, M. The Wnt Signaling Antagonist Kremen1 is required for Development of Thymic Architecture-Oral Presentation Biology Department and MARC program University of Texas El Paso, March 10th 2006.
Pezzano, M. The Wnt Signaling Antagonist Kremen1 is required for Development of Thymic Architecture-Oral Presentation Memorial Sloan Kettering-Sloan Kettering Institute Immunology Seminar Series, Feb. 27th 2006.
Vasquez-Cintron, E.*, Osada, M, Ito, E.*, Venkatesh, T., Friedel, R.H. and Pezzano, M. Kremen-1 Knockout Mice Exhibit Altered Thymic Architecture Nov 3, 2005 ABRCMS Meeting Atlanta Georgia. (Outstanding Poster Award)
Mark Pezzano, Juncheng Li, Marcia Martinez*, Michael Samms*, and Masako Osada. Presentation of Peripheral Antigens to Developing Thymocytes by PECs. Oral Platform Presentation RCMI International Symposium on Health Disparities Baltimore Maryland Dec. 2004 A# G34.