Pushpa Pandiyan, PhD

Associate Professor
Biological Sciences
School of Dental Medicine
Immune Oncology Program
Case Comprehensive Cancer Center

My research includes mucosal immunology, immune dysfunction during infections, T-cell subsets and immunoregulation during inflammation and tumorigenesis.

Pushpa Pandiyan's Biography 

Research Information

Research Interests

  • Tregs
  • Th17 Cells
  • Candidiasis
  • HIV
  • Candida Infection
  • Inflammation
  • IBD

Research Projects

Optimal immune responses are required to fight infections. However, if the immune responses are not regulated appropriately, they can cause inflammatory disorders. I am studying the mechanisms by which unwanted immune responses are regulated. I am focusing on how regulatory T cells (Tregs) and cytokine networks control inflammatory cells in different disease settings.

Recent Funding

Mechanisms of Th17 and Treg cell dysregulation in oral mucosal inflammation during HIV disease
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: NIH – NIDCR (R01 DE026923)
Project Period: 04/01/2017 - 01/31/2022

Metabolome Analyses of Saliva Samples from HIV+ Patients on cART
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: NIH – NIDCR (3R01 DE026923)
Project Period: 08/26/2020 - 01/31/2022

Immunosuppressive Cells and Propensity to Oral Cancer: Head and Neck Cancer SPORE Pilot Grant under Case Comprehensive Cancer Center Support Grant
Role: Principal Investigator (Pilot Project)
Sponsor: NIH – NCI (P30 CA04373 - PI: S.Gerson)
Project Period: 04/01/2020 - 03/31/2021

COVID19: Role of naïve T cells, age associated T cell senescence, and dysfunctional immune regulation in host response to COVID-19
Role: Co-Investigator
Sponsor: Louis Stokes VAMC (BX20-001 - PI: D. Anthony)
Project Period: 11/01/2020 - 10/31/2022

Identification and Elimination of HIV Reservoirs in Oral Lymphoid Tissues by Engineered NK Cells
Role: Co-Investigator
Sponsor: NIH – NIDCR (R01 DE025464 - PI: J. Karn)
Project Period: 08/01/2015 - 10/31/2020

Fusobacterial Associated Beta Defensin Inducer
Role: Co-Investigator
Sponsor: NIH – NIDCR (R56 DE018276 - PI: A. Weinberg)
Project Period: 09/01/2016 - 08/31/2018

Defining the Role of CD4+Foxp3+ Regulatory T cells in Immunopathogenesis of HIV Disease - CFAR Catalytic Fund
Role: Principal Investigator of sub-project
Sponsor: University Hospitals (PI: J. Karn)
Project Period: 07/01/2016 - 06/30/2017


Awards and Honors

Performance Award for Special Achievement
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Performance Award for Special Achievement
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Performance Award for Special Achievement
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Post-doctoral Fellow Award
International Cytokine Society
Paper of the Year
National Institutes of Health Cytokine Interest Group
Travel Award
American Association of Immunologists
Invitrogen Trainee Achievement Award
American Association of Immunologists
Travel Grant
National Institutes of Health Keystone Conference
Travel Grant
Humboldt University
PhD Fellowship Grant
Humboldt University


Pandiyan, P., Zheng, L., Ishihara, S., Reed, J., and Lenardo, M.: CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells induce cytokine deprivation–mediated apoptosis of effector CD4+ T cells. Nature Immunology. 8: 1353-1362, 2007. (RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS in Science, NEWS & VIEWS in Nature Immunology).

Pandiyan, P., Conti HR, Zheng L, Peterson AC, Mathern DR, Hernández-Santos N, Edgerton M, Gaffen SL and Lenardo MJ. CD4+ CD25+ Foxp3+ regulatory T cells promote Th17 cells in vitro and enhance host resistance in mouse Candida albicans Th17 cell infection model. Immunity. 34(3): 422-34. March 2011. (highlighted in RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS - in Immunity and Nature Review Immunology., Vol 11, 2011). PMCID: PMC3258585

Pandiyan, P., Yang, X, Saravanamuthu S, Ishihara S, Zheng, L, O’Shea J and Lenardo MJ. The role of IL-15 in activating STAT5 and fine-tuning IL-17A production in CD4 T lymphocytes. J Immunol. 89(9): 4237–4246. 2012. PMCID: PMC3647038

Pandiyan, P., Bhaskaran N, Zou M, Schneider E, Jayaraman S, and Huehn J., Microbiome dependent regulation of Tregs and Th17 cells in mucosa. Front Immunol; 10:426. (2019). PMCID: PMC6419713.

Pandiyan P, Zhu J. Origin and functions of pro-inflammatory cytokine producing Foxp3+ regulatory T cells. Cytokine. 2015. Jul 9; (15). PMCID: PMC4969074

Natarajan Bhaskaran, Cheriese Quigley, Clarissa Paw, Shivani Butala, Elizabeth Schneider, and Pandiyan P.  Role of short chain fatty acids in controlling Tregs and immunopathology during mucosal infection. Frontiers in Microbiology; 2018. 9:1995. PMCID: PMC6117408

Bhaskaran N, Faddoul F, Paes da Silva A, Jayaraman S, Schneider E, Mamileti P, Weinberg A, Pandiyan P. IL-1β-MyD88-mTOR Axis Promotes Immune-Protective IL-17A+Foxp3+ Cells During Mucosal Infection and Is Dysregulated With Aging. Frontiers of Immunology, 2020 Nov 6;11:595936.PMCID: PMC7677307

Pandiyan P, Souheil-Antoine Younes, Susan Pereira Ribeiro, Aarthi Talla, David McDonald, Natarajan Bhaskaran, Aaron Weinberg and Rafick P Sekaly. Mucosal CD4+ T lymphocytes in HIV associated immune activation, Frontiers of Immunology, 2016. Jun 20; 7(228) PMCID: PMC4913236

Complete list of published works in My Bibliography


Postdoctoral Fellowship
National Academy of Sciences
Doctor of Philosophy
Humboldt University
Master of Science
Bharathidasan University