Skip Navigation
Find a Doctor
 
 
 
 

 

Photo of Dr. Stephen Desiderio

Stephen Vincent Desiderio, M.D., Ph.D.

Director, Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences
Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

See Research on Pubmed

Male

Titles

  • Director, Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences
  • Director, Immunobiology Program, Institute for Cell Engineering
  • Director, Immunology, Translational Science Intersessions
  • Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Centers & Institutes

  • Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences
  • Institute for Cell Engineering
  • Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

Research Interests

Mechanisms of development in the immune system; Molecular mechanisms of lymphocyte differentiation and activation; Immunoglobulin and T-cell receptor gene assembly

Biography

Dr. Stephen Desiderio is a professor of molecular biology and genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His research focuses on the molecular and genetic mechanisms underlying immune system development. Dr. Desiderio serves as the director of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, director of the immunobiology program at the Institute of Cell Engineering (ICE), and course director of immunology for the School of Medicine.

Dr. Desiderio’s research team has contributed significantly to our understanding of how immunity develops in health and disease. Their studies have shed light on the relationship between genetic rearrangement—the process by which immune diversity is generated—and the development of leukemia. They''ve discovered key elements of the triggers that turn on immune responses, and most recently have focused on the signals that instruct stem cells to become cells of the immune system.

Dr. Desiderio received his undergraduate degree in biology and Russian from Haverford College. He earned his Ph.D. and M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Desiderio joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1984.

From 1984 to 2004, Dr. Desiderio was an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. From 1992 to 1999, he was director of the M.D.-Ph.D. program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Dr. Desiderio is a member of several professional societies, including the Association of American Physicians and the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Molecular Medicine. In 2007, the governor appointed him to the Maryland Life Sciences Advisory Board in 2007. In 2013, he was elected as a member in the Association of American Physicians.

Languages

  • English

Memberships

Association of American Physicians

American Society for Clinical Investigation

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Henry G. Kunkel Society

Clinical Immunology Society

Additional Resources +
  • Education +

    Education

    • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 1981, Molecular Biology
    • M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 1981
    • B.A., Haverford College, Haverford, PA, 1974, Biology and Russian

    Fellowships

    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, 1984
  • Research & Publications +

    Research Summary

    Dr. Desiderio's research focuses on the molecular and genetic mechanisms responsible for development of the immune system. His research has shed light on how the immune system is able to respond to a spectacularly diverse set of invaders. His team’s studies have helped explain the relationship between genetic rearrangement—the process by which immune diversity is generated—and the development of leukemia.

    The team has also discovered key elements of the triggers that turn on immune responses, and most recently has turned its attention to signals that instruct stem cells to become cells of the immune system.

    Selected Publications View all on PubMed

    1. Halper-Stromberg E, Steranka J, Giraldo-Castillo N, Fuller T, Desiderio S, Burns KH. "Fine mapping of V(D)J recombinase mediated rearrangements in human lymphoid malignancies." BMC Genomics. 2013 Aug 19;14:565. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-14-565
    2. Rybanska-Spaeder I, Reynolds TL, Chou J, Prakash M, Jefferson T, Huso DL, Desiderio S, Franco S. "53BP1 is limiting for NHEJ repair in ATM-deficient model systems that are subjected to oncogenic stress or radiation." Mol Cancer Res. 2013 Oct;11(10):1223-34. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-13-0252-T. Epub 2013 Jul 15.
    3. Lee J, Baldwin WM 3rd, Lee CY, Desiderio S. "Stat3β mitigates development of atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice." J Mol Med (Berl). 2013 Aug;91(8):965-76. doi: 10.1007/s00109-013-1013-5. Epub 2013 Apr 26.
    4. Newman RH, Hu J, Rho HS, Xie Z, Woodard C, Neiswinger J, Cooper C, Shirley M, Clark HM, Hu S, Hwang W, Jeong JS, Wu G, Lin J, Gao X, Ni Q, Goel R, Xia S, Ji H, Dalby KN, Birnbaum MJ, Cole PA, Knapp S, Ryazanov AG, Zack DJ, Blackshaw S, Pawson T, Gingras AC, Desiderio S, Pandey A, Turk BE, Zhang J, Zhu H, Qian J. "Construction of human activity-based phosphorylation networks." Mol Syst Biol. 2013;9:655. doi: 10.1038/msb.2013.12.
    5. Thapa P, Das J, McWilliams D, Shapiro M, Sundsbak R, Nelson-Holte M, Tangen S, Anderson J, Desiderio S, Hiebert S, Sant'angelo DB, Shapiro VS. "The transcriptional repressor NKAP is required for the development of iNKT cells." Nat Commun. 2013;4:1582. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2580.

    Lab

    The Desiderio lab is interested in the generation of immune cells from blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow. Researchers in the lab have found that hedgehog, a critical morphogenic signal, maintains stromal cells in a state that promotes the generation of immune cells from stem cells. When hedgehog signaling is switched off in stromal cells, their ability to support immune cell differentiation is greatly impaired. By understanding how hedgehog signaling in stromal cells promotes immune development, they hope to be better able to manipulate human immune responses for future therapeutic uses.  

    The lab is also interested in how immune cells respond to environmental cues. Activation of immune cells requires a balance between benefit and risk, and is tightly regulated. Some signals activate immune cells while others block responsiveness (anergy). These signaling mechanisms share common features, including activation of kinases, mobilization of calcium and combinatorial regulation of transcription. They have uncovered a novel way in which calcium is regulated in response to antigen receptor stimulation and are testing whether this mechanism contributes to the decision between activation and anergy.

  • Academic Affiliations & Courses +
  • Activities & Honors +

    Honors

    Elected Member, Association of American Physicians, 2013

    Elected Member, The Henry Kunkel Society, 1999

    Elected Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation, 1996

    Professors' Award for Excellence in Teaching, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1993

    Fellow, Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research, 1981 - 1984

    Alpha Omega Alpha, 1981

    Michael A. Shanoff Research Award, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1980

    Scholar of the Insurance Medical Scientist Scholarship Fund, 1979 - 1981

    Phi Beta Kappa, 1973

    Professional Activities

    Advisory Committee, Leder Human Biology Program, Harvard Medical School, 2009 - present

    Editorial Board, Journal of Molecular Medicine, 2007 - present

    Board, European Genetics Foundation, 2007 - present

    Life Sciences Advisory Board, State of Maryland, 2007 - present

    Reviewer, National Institute on Aging, Board of Scientific Counselors, 2011

    Member, Nanobiotechnology Task Force, State of Maryland, 2010

    Member, Quadrennial Review and Site Visit Committee, NHGRI Genetic Disease Research Branch, 2010

    Invited Participant, International Conference on Biosafety and Biosecurity (sponsored by the World Health Organization and the Center for Biosecurity), 2005

    Invited Participant, Strategic Concepts for Biodefense, Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies and Defense Science Board, 2003

    Organizer, Mid-Atlantic Immunobiology Conference, Signal Transduction Session, 1994

    Member, Allergy and Immunology Study Section, National Institutes of Health, 1993 - 1996

    Director, M.D.-Ph.D. Program, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1992 - 1999

    Member Ad Hoc, Molecular Biology Study Section, American Cancer Society, 1991

    Member Ad Hoc, Allergy and Immunology Study Section, National Institutes of Health, 1990 - 1992

  • Videos & Media +

    Videos

    Stephen Desiderio - How Making Antibodies is Like a Slot Machine

    Dr. Stephen Desiderio describes how the human body can make more than a billion different antibodies, despite having only a few billion letters of DNA code in its entire genome.

    Stephen Desiderio - Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences

    Dr. Stephen Desiderio, director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, talks about the center and what it has to offer for graduate education at Johns Hopkins in the basic sciences.

    The Need for Funding Basic Research

    Dr. Stephen Desiderio, director of Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, explains the current federal funding climate for biomedical research, the need for change and the dangers of not continuing to fund basic research. Dr. Desiderio's speech was recorded on October 29, 2013, at the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences' Molecules & Martinis event held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    Recent News Articles & Media Coverage

  • Events +
  • Contact & Locations +

    Department/Division

    • Molecular Biology and Genetics

    For Research Inquiries Contact

    Phone: 443-955-4735
    Fax: 443-287-3109
    Email: sdesider@jhmi.edu

Is This You? Edit Profile

 
 
 
 

© The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy and Disclaimer