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

Amphiregulin-Immunometabolism axis in oral immunity and inflammation during HIV infection
Role: Principal Investigator
Sponsor: NIH – NIDCR (2R01 DE026923)
Project Period: 06/01/2022 - 05/31/2027

Impact of preexisting immune profile in elderly on influenza vaccine response
Role: Co-Investigator
Sponsor: Louis Stokes VAMC MERIT Grant (BX006011 - PI: Shive)
Project Period: 03/01/2022 - 10/31/2023

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 - 05/31/2022

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 MERIT Grant (BX005480 - PI: D. Anthony)
Project Period: 11/01/2020 - 10/31/2023

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


Polyamine metabolism impacts T cell dysfunction in the oral mucosa of people living with HIV.
Mahalingam, SS, Jayaraman, S, Bhaskaran, N, Schneider, E, Faddoul, F, Paes da Silva, A, Lederman, MM, Asaad, R, Adkins-Travis K, Shriver LP, and Pandiyan, P. Nature Communications. 2023 Jan 25;14(1):399.  PMID: 36693889  PMCID: PMC9873639  DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-36163-2.

Inflammation, Immune Senescence, and Dysregulated Immune Regulation in the Elderly.
Shive C, Pandiyan P. Front Aging. 2022 Apr 27;3:840827. doi: 10.3389/fragi.2022.840827. eCollection 2022. PMID: 35821823 Free PMC article. Review.

Fungal Colonization and Infections-Interactions with Other Human Diseases.
Mahalingam SS, Jayaraman S, Pandiyan P. Pathogens. 2022 Feb 6;11(2):212. doi: 10.3390/pathogens11020212. PMID: 35215155 Free PMC article. Review.

Regulation of IL-17A-Producing Cells in Skin Inflammatory Disorders.
Pandiyan P, McCormick TS. J Invest Dermatol. 2022 Mar;142(3 Pt B):867-875. doi: 10.1016/j.jid.2021.06.036. Epub 2021 Sep 22. PMID: 34561088 Review.

Oral immune dysfunction is associated with the expansion of FOXP3+PD-1+Amphiregulin+ T cells during HIV infection.
Bhaskaran N, Schneider E, Faddoul F, Paes da Silva A, Asaad R, Talla A, Greenspan N, Levine AD, McDonald D, Karn J, Lederman MM, Pandiyan P. Nat Commun. 2021 Aug 26;12(1):5143. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-25340-w. PMID: 34446704 Free PMC article.

The Role of Dectin-1 Signaling in Altering Tumor Immune Microenvironment in the Context of Aging.
Bhaskaran N, Jayaraman S, Quigley C, Mamileti P, Ghannoum M, Weinberg A, Thuener J, Pan Q, Pandiyan P. Front Oncol. 2021 Apr 22;11:669066. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2021.669066. eCollection 2021. PMID: 33968777 Free PMC article.

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.

Complete list of published works in My Bibliography


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