Katrin D. Mayer-Barber, Dr. rer. nat. (Ph.D.)

Stadtman Investigator

Inflammation and Innate Immunity Unit


Building 33
Room 2W10A
33 North Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892



Research Topics

The Inflammation and Innate Immunity Unit (IIIU) investigates the function and regulation of inflammatory cytokines and lipid mediators during pulmonary infections, the immunological mechanisms of host protective versus host detrimental inflammation, and the translation of basic observations into host-directed immunotherapies.

In vivo cellular immunological techniques such as highly dimensional multi-parameter flow cytometry are employed in mouse models of pulmonary infection, chief among them Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Findings and hypotheses derived from the mouse model are tested in patient material to advance our understanding of the underlying pathological mechanisms and to aid in the design of novel treatment strategies. In turn, observations in patient material will be studied in appropriate animal models.

Research in the IIIU is based on the hypothesis that during infection distinct arms of innate inflammatory responses establish counter regulatory cytokine and lipid mediator networks that ultimately determine the outcome of infection. Understanding different classes of inflammation and the corresponding innate effector cells, lipids, and cytokines that orchestrate protective versus detrimental inflammatory responses will provide critical insight for the development of new treatment strategies for a variety of inflammatory diseases, including non-infectious chronic inflammatory conditions.


Dr. Mayer-Barber received her diploma in biology from the University of Würzburg, Germany, in 2002. In 2003 she came to the United States for her Ph.D. thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Markus Mohrs at the Trudeau Institute in Saranac Lake, New York. There she specialized on multi-parameter flow-cytometry analysis of pulmonary CD4 effector T cells after viral and parasitic infections and studied immune cell-derived interferon responses in vivo. She obtained her doctoral degree (Doctor rerum naturalium: Dr. rer. nat.) in 2006 from the University of Würzburg, Germany and joined NIAID in 2007 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases. There she studied pulmonary innate effector cells, such as inflammatory monocytes and dendritic cells, and delineated the role of inflammatory mediators  like IL-1, type I Interferons and prostaglandins in host resistance to tuberculosis. Dr. Mayer-Barber was awarded the Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator position in the NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases in 2015.

Selected Publications

  1. Bohrer AC, Tocheny C, Assmann M, Ganusov VV, Mayer-Barber KD. Cutting Edge: IL-1R1 Mediates Host Resistance to Mycobacterium tuberculosis by Trans-Protection of Infected Cells. J Immunol. 2018;201(6):1645-1650.

  2. Mayer-Barber KD, Sher A. Cytokine and lipid mediator networks in tuberculosis. Immunol Rev. 2015;264(1):264-75.

  3. Mayer-Barber KD, Yan B. Clash of the Cytokine Titans: counter-regulation of interleukin-1 and type I interferon-mediated inflammatory responses. Cell Mol Immunol. 2017;14(1):22-35.

  4. McNab F, Mayer-Barber K, Sher A, Wack A, O'Garra A. Type I interferons in infectious disease. Nat Rev Immunol. 2015;15(2):87-103.

  5. Mayer-Barber KD, Andrade BB, Oland SD, Amaral EP, Barber DL, Gonzales J, Derrick SC, Shi R, Kumar NP, Wei W, Yuan X, Zhang G, Cai Y, Babu S, Catalfamo M, Salazar AM, Via LE, Barry CE 3rd, Sher A. Host-directed therapy of tuberculosis based on interleukin-1 and type I interferon crosstalk. Nature. 2014;511(7507):99-103.

This page was last updated on August 11th, 2019