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Katharine Ashley Whartenby, Ph.D.

Headshot of Katharine Ashley Whartenby
  • Associate Professor of Neurology

Research Interests

Immunology; Neuroimmunology; Gene Transfer technology; Stem Cells more


Dr. Katharine Ashley Whartenby is associate professor in the The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Department of Neurology, Department of Oncology and in Cellular and Molecular Medicine.

Her research focuses on understanding the biology of multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology. Dr. Whartenby has patents pending for Immune modulation through targeting of the MINOR gene and for use of FLT3 inhibitors as immunosuppressants. Her team is currently engaged in analyzing immunological mechanisms by which people with multiple sclerosis suffer from infectious disease complications. 

Dr. Whartenby received her bachelor of arts in biology and english, Cum Laude, at Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts. She earned a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester in New York, and also completed a post-doctoral fellowship in immunology at the University of Rochester. Dr. Whartenby joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 2003. 

Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Whartenby was a microbiologist at the Food and Drug Administration as well as an assistant professor of medicine at Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, Rhode Island.

She is an active member of  the American Association for Cancer Research and the American Association of Immunologists. more


  • Associate Professor of Neurology
  • Associate Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions

Centers & Institutes



  • B.A.; Amherst College (Massachusetts) (1986)
  • Ph.D.; University of Rochester (New York) (1992)

Research & Publications

Selected Publications

Accelerated axon loss in MOG35-55 experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in myelin-associated glycoprotein-deficient (MAGKO) mice. Jones MV, Nguyen TT, Ewaleifoh O, Lebson L, Whartenby KA, Griffin JW, Calabresi PA. J Neuroimmunol. 2013 Sep 15;262(1-2):53-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2013.06.008. Epub 2013 Jul 27. PMID: 23899666

Behavioral and pathological outcomes in MOG 35-55 experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Jones MV, Nguyen TT, Deboy CA, Griffin JW, Whartenby KA, Kerr DA, Calabresi PA. J Neuroimmunol. 2008 Aug 13;199(1-2):83-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2008.05.013. Epub 2008 Jun 25. PMID: 18582952

Induction of the glucocorticoid-induced leucine zipper gene limits the efficacy of dendritic cell vaccines. Lebson L, Wang T, Jiang Q, Whartenby KA. Cancer Gene Ther. 2011 Aug;18(8):563-70. doi: 10.1038/cgt.2011.23. Epub 2011 May 6. PMID: 21546924

An open-label trial of combination therapy with interferon beta-1a and oral methotrexate in MS. Calabresi PA, Wilterdink JL, Rogg JM, Mills P, Webb A, Whartenby KA. Neurology. 2002 Jan 22;58(2):314-7. PMID: 11805267


Immune modulation through targeting of the MINOR gene
Patent # (pending) | 

Use of FLT3 inhibitors as immunosuppressants
Patent # (pending) | 

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Courses and Syllabi

  • CMM Topics Class
    The Johns Hopkins University
  • Principles of Neuroimmunology Course
    School of Public Health, JHU
  • Graduate Immunology (Noel Rose, course director)

Activities & Honors


  • American Association for Cancer Research, 1999
  • American Association of Immunologists, 2009

Professional Activities

  • Participant, Community Science Day, 2006
  • Advisor, new seminar series for Friends School of Baltimore focusing on introducing high school students to biology and medicine., 2013

Videos & Media

Lectures and Presentations

  • American Society of Bone Marrow Transplant Meeting
    Session Chair (01/01/2005)
  • American Society of Gene Therapy
    Session Chair (01/01/2006)

Recent News Articles and Media Coverage

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