Alan Sher, Ph.D.

NIH Distinguished Investigator

Immunobiology Section


Building 33, Room 1W10A.6
33 North Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892


Research Topics

The Immunobiology Section studies host resistance and immune regulation in parasitic and other infections of global importance. The ultimate goal of this work is immunologic disease intervention in the form of vaccination or immunotherapy. At the same time, our research on the host response to infection has provided insights into the effector functions and regulatory mechanisms used by the vertebrate immune system and in the role of innate pathogen recognition in these processes. Much of the work of the section is focused on the immunologic analysis in murine models of diseases induced by parasitic and bacterial agents (e.g., Toxoplasma gondii, Mycobacterium spp.), although the group is also engaged in several major clinical collaborations. The lab also has a major interest in the regulation of Th1-dependent immunopathology in T. gondii and mycobacterial infections as well as tuberculosis-HIV co-infection.

X-ray from a pulmonary tuberculosis patient presenting with paradoxical immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome two weeks after initiation of anti-retroviral therapy.


Dr. Sher received his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego, and did his postdoctoral training in the Division of Parasitology at the National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, London. In 1980, after several years as a research associate and then assistant professor in the department of pathology at Harvard Medical School, he joined NIAID as a section chief in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases. Sher became chief of LPD in 2003 and was promoted to NIH Distinguished Investigator in 2011.


  • Bonazinga Award (Society for Leuckocyte Biology)
  • Bailey K. Ashford Medal (The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene)
  • U.S. PHS Superior Service Award
  • NIH Director’s Mentoring Award


  • Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • Brazilian Academy of Sciences

Editorial Boards

  • The Journal of Experimental Medicine (Senior Editor)
  • Faculty of 1000 (Section Head, Immunity to Infections)
  • mBio (American Society of Microbiology Journal)

Selected Publications

  1. Hilligan KL, Namasivayam S, Clancy CS, O'Mard D, Oland SD, Robertson SJ, Baker PJ, Castro E, Garza NL, Lafont BAP, Johnson R, Ronchese F, Mayer-Barber KD, Best SM, Sher A. Intravenous administration of BCG protects mice against lethal SARS-CoV-2 challenge. J Exp Med. 2022;219(2).
  2. Costa DL, Amaral EP, Namasivayam S, Mittereder LR, Fisher L, Bonfim CC, Sardinha-Silva A, Thompson RW, Hieny SE, Andrade BB, Sher A. Heme oxygenase-1 inhibition promotes IFNγ- and NOS2-mediated control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. Mucosal Immunol. 2021;14(1):253-266.
  3. Amaral EP, Costa DL, Namasivayam S, Riteau N, Kamenyeva O, Mittereder L, Mayer-Barber KD, Andrade BB, Sher A. A major role for ferroptosis in Mycobacterium tuberculosis-induced cell death and tissue necrosis. J Exp Med. 2019;216(3):556-570.
  4. Namasivayam S, Maiga M, Yuan W, Thovarai V, Costa DL, Mittereder LR, Wipperman MF, Glickman MS, Dzutsev A, Trinchieri G, Sher A. Longitudinal profiling reveals a persistent intestinal dysbiosis triggered by conventional anti-tuberculosis therapy. Microbiome. 2017;5(1):71.
  5. Iwamura C, Bouladoux N, Belkaid Y, Sher A, Jankovic D. Sensing of the microbiota by NOD1 in mesenchymal stromal cells regulates murine hematopoiesis. Blood. 2017;129(2):171-176.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Tuesday, August 16, 2022