He also will co-direct both the Cancer Immunology Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and the recently expanded Tumor Microenvironment Center.
According to Mark Shlomchik, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair, Department of Immunology, “Dr. Vignali is an eminent scientist with a stellar publication record. For the last two decades, he has produced innovative research focusing on identifying and understanding the disease pathways that prevent the immune system from eliminating cancer cells, as well as the causes of autoimmune disorders.”
“We now stand at an unprecedented point in time when immunotherapy is starting to have a substantial impact on clinical care,” said Vignali. “We have a growing list of novel targets for further therapeutic development and powerful new tools for genomic and mechanistic analysis.”
He plans to continue and expand his research in his new role at Pitt; one of his labs, in the Department of Immunology, will focus on analysis of immune cell function in mouse model systems and disease models of cancer and autoimmune disease, and his second lab, at UPCI, will work on inhibitory immune pathways in human cancers.
Vignali’s research findings have been published in some of immunology’s leading journals, and he has been awarded five patents worldwide with several more awaiting approval. He also is a current member of the scientific advisory boards at two biopharmaceutical companies.
Since 1993, Vignali worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, and served as vice-chair of its immunology department since 2008. He taught in the Department of Pathology at the University of Tennessee Medical Center since 1996.
He received his undergraduate education at North East London Polytechnic, now East London University, and completed his doctoral studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the University of London. Vignali completed two postdoctoral fellowships, one at the Institute for Immunology and Genetics at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, Germany, and the second in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Harvard University.
Vignali moved to Pittsburgh with his wife, Kate, who works as a scientist in his laboratory, and two of their four children.