« Back

Richard P. Ciavarra

    • Title:
    • Professor

    • Role:
    • Faculty

    • Faculty Appointments:
    • Additional Certifications:
    • Focus Areas:
    • Office Location:
    • Lewis Hall

    • Undergraduate Education:
    • Graduate Education:
    • MS, American University
      PhD, Tufts University School of Medicine

    • Postdoctoral Education:
    • Postdoctoral Training, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

    • Medical Education:
    • Residency:
    • Fellowship(s):
    • Board Certification(s):
    • Affiliation(s):
    • Research Interests:
    • Dr. Ciavarra and his team are currently focused on analysis of the cellular interactions essential for responses against infectious agents (viruses) or tumor cells. With respect to host resistance to viral pathogens, current studies focus on how innate and adaptive antiviral immune responses are regulated in the central nervous system (CNS).

      The brain and spinal cord represent special challenges for the immune system to achieve viral clearance without destroying sensitive and irreplaceable nerve cells. Within this focus, his laboratory is investigating how CNS resident cells such as microglia (brain macrophages) and astrocytes contribute to anti-viral immunity and how these cells interact with other blood cells that infiltrate the brain during viral encephalitis to achieve viral clearance from this organ.

      A second area of interest in this laboratory is the production of novel cellular vaccines for the treatment of prostate cancer. Tumor cells have been modified to contain specific genes that should boost the anti-tumor immune response. These genes are activated within the tumor microenvironment at distinct times during tumor progression and the development of metastatic disease. His laboratory has developed several animal models to assess the efficacy of these novel cellular vaccines.

    • Primary Specialty:
    • Hospital:
    • Courses Taught:
    • Immunology, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology

      Biomedical Sciences Program Tracks: Molecular Integrative Biosciences (MIB); Molecular and Cellular Biology

    • Current Projects:
    • Bio:


Peripheral dendritic cells are essential for both the innate and adaptive antiviral immune response in the CNS.

Regulated expression of CCL21 in the prostate tumor microenvironment inhibits tumor growth and metastases in an orthotopic tumor model.

Role of Peroxynitrite in the Establishment of an Immunosuppressive Prostate Tumor Microenvironment.

View More »