Jelani Chinelo Zarif, Ph.D., M.S.

Headshot of Jelani Chinelo Zarif
  • The Robert E. Meyerhoff endowed Professor
  • Assistant Professor of Oncology

Research Interests

Prostate Cancer Immunology


Dr. Jelani Zarif is the Robert E. Meyerhoff Endowed Professor and Assistant Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Zarif is also a member of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. The Zarif laboratory studies molecular mechanisms by immune cells within the tumor microenvironment that ultimately promote tumor growth, therapeutic resistance, and metastasis. The Zarif laboratory also focuses on discovering and investigating new biomarkers that may be expressed on myeloid cells that could predict clinical response to standard of care treatments for prostate cancer.

Dr. Zarif received his Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from Michigan State University.  He then completed two post-doctoral fellowships at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 

He has been the recipient of several awards, including the Prostate Cancer Foundation's Young Investigator award, The Patrick C. Walsh Prostate Cancer Research Fund, Department of Defense Translational Research award, and the NCI K22 Career Transition award. more


  • The Robert E. Meyerhoff endowed Professor
  • Assistant Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions

  • Oncology - Genitourinary Cancer Disease



  • B.S.; Jackson State University (Mississippi) (2005)
  • M.S.; Jackson State University (Mississippi) (2007)
  • Ph.D.; Michigan State University (Michigan) (2014)

Additional Training

  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Urology, The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Urology  (2017)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Oncology, Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine / Oncology - Immunology/Hematopoeisis (2018)

Research & Publications

Technology Expertise Keywords

Prostate Cancer

Selected Publications

Zarif, J. C., Baena-Del Valle, J.A., Hicks, J. L., Heaphy, C. M., Vidal, I., Lotan, L. T., Hooper, E. J., Isaacs, W. B., Pienta, K. J., De Marzo, A. M. (2019) Mannose Receptor-positive Macrophage Infiltration Correlates with prostate cancer onset and metastatic castration-resistant disease. Eur Urol Oncol. Jul; 2(4): 4290436

Jaynes, J.M.,* Sable, R.,* Ronzetti, M.,* Bautista-Guzman,W.,* Knotts, Z., Abisoye-Ogunniyan, A., Li, D., Calvo, R., Dashnyam, M., Singh, A., Guerin, T., White, J., Ravichandran, S. , Kumar, P., Talsania, K., Chen, V., Ghebremedhin, A. Karanam, B., Bin Salam, A., Amin, R., Odzorig, T., Aiken, T., Nguyen, V., Bian, Y., Zarif, J. C., de Groot, A. E., Mehta, M., Fan, L., Hu, X., Simeonov, A., Pate, N., Abu-Asab, M., Ferrer,M., Noel Southall, N., Chan-Young Ock, C.-Y., Zhao,Y., Lopez, H., Kozlov, S., de Val, N., Yates, C.C., Baljinnyam, B., Marugan, J., Rudloff, U. (2020) Mannose receptor (CD206) activation in tumor-associated macrophages enhances adaptive and innate antitumor immune responses. Sci Transl Med. 12(530):eaax6337

Nirschl, T.R., El Asmar, M., Ludwig, W.W., Ganguly, S., Gorin, M.A., Johnson, M.H., Pierorazio, P.M., Drake, C.G., Allaf, M.E., Zarif, J. C. (2020) Transcriptional profiling of tumor associated macrophages in human renal cell carcinoma reveals significant heterogeneity and opportunity for immunomodulation. Am J Clin Exp Urol. 8(1):48-58

Theodros, D., Murter, B. M., Sidhom, J.-W., Nirschl, T. R., Clark, D. J., Chen, L., Tam, A. J., Blosser, R. L., Schwen, Z. R., Johnson, M. H., Pierorazio, P. M., Zhang, H., Ganguly, S., Pardoll, D. M., Zarif, J. C. (2020) High-Dimensional Cytometry (ExCYT) and Mass Spectrometry of myeloid infiltrate in clinically localized clear cell Renal Cell Carcinoma identifies novel potential myeloid targets for immunotherapy. Mol Cell Proteomics. Nov;19(11):1850-1859

Yamaguchi. Y., Gibson, J., Ou, K., Ng, R., Leggett, N., Jonsson, V. D., Zarif, J. C., Martinez, C., Wang, X., Dorff, T. B., Forman, S. J., Priceman, S. J. (2022) PD-L1 blockade restores CAR T cell activity through IFN?-regulation of CD163+ macrophages. J Immunother Cancer. Jun;10(6): e004400

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation



Cellular and Molecular Medicine

Courses and Syllabi

  • Fundamentals of Immune Recognition and Response (ME.250.721)
    Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Activities & Honors


  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
  • Society for Basic Urologic Research (SBUR)

Videos & Media

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

Dr. Zarif Wins PCF Young Investigator Award, Discovery (Winter 2017)

Immune Profiling of High-Risk Prostate Cancer, The Patrick C. Walsh Prostate Cancer Research Fund, (November 4, 2018)

Dr. Zarif named the Robert E. Meyerhoff endowed Professor 

Dr. Zarif awarded the 2023 Michigan State College of Natural Science Recent alumni award 

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