Erika Pearce is a leading immunologist known for her work on immune cell metabolism, which has illuminated fundamental mechanisms in cell biology. Her research investigates how metabolic pathways in immune cells can lead to disease and how to target these pathways for therapy, and holds promise for important clinical applications.
Pearce’s research group uses a variety of approaches to address key questions in immune cell metabolism, and how this impacts immunity to infection and cancer. Her work is focused on the role of metabolism in regulating the development and function of T cells, white blood cells that play a central role in the body’s immune response. Having found that structural changes to the mitochondria affect the mitochondrial metabolism, and that this metabolism fuels the differentiation, survival, and function of T cells, Pearce is now working to develop ways to make better, long-lived T cells that will improve immune therapies against tumors, pathogens, and other diseases.
Pearce joined Johns Hopkins University as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in 2020 from the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics.