Roxane Tussiwand, PhD

Stadtman Investigator

Immune Regulation Unit


Building 30 Room 332
30 Convent Dr. MSC 4340
Bethesda MD 20892


Research Topics

Our research focuses on understanding how transcription factors modulate lineage differentiation and function of immune subsets.

“To be or not to be…”
Development of hematopoietic cells occurs in the primary lymphoid organs and requires a complex transcriptional network that promotes the progression from an uncommitted self-renewing stem cell progenitor to a mature cell. Upon achievement of a mature state, the genomic landscape as well as the transcriptional profile of each subset will define its functional properties.

Dendritic cells (DC)
Dendritic cells are key players of the immune system. In peripheral tissues DCs capture antigens and present it to T cells. During infections or inflammation DCs initiate and orchestrate adaptive immunity by recognizing pathogens, secreting cytokines and shaping the appropriate inflammatory milieu. Our group is studying the different DC subsets: how they develop and how they function under steady state as well as under inflammatory conditions.

Early hematopoietic lineage commitment
The first choice during lineage commitment appears to split myeloid from lymphoid development. However increasing evidence suggests that lympho-myeloid diversification is not as restrictive. An unexpected heterogeneity characterizes mature subsets. We aim to understand how lymphoid and myeloid commitment is transcriptionally defined and whether the lineage of origin translates into specialized functional properties across different subsets.


Roxane Tussiwand graduated with a degree in biology from the University of Milan where she studied childhood leukemia. In 2006 she was sponsored by the Italian government to pursue her Ph.D. in molecular medicine at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Bellinzona, Switzerland where she studied dendritic cell development. Following a postdoc with A.Rolink at the University of Basel she joined Ken Murphy’s group at Washington University where she investigated transcriptional regulation of dendritic cell development. Since 2014, she has been an assistant professor at the University of Basel in Switzerland and has recently joined the NIH as a Stadtman Investigator.

Selected Publications

  1. Tussiwand R, Behnke MS, Kretzer NM, Grajales-Reyes GE, Murphy TL, Schreiber RD, Murphy KM, Sibley LD. An Important Role for CD4+ T Cells in Adaptive Immunity to Toxoplasma gondii in Mice Lacking the Transcription Factor Batf3. mSphere. 2020;5(4).
  2. Tussiwand R, Rodrigues PF. Where's Waldo: Identifying DCs within Mononuclear Phagocytes during Inflammation. Immunity. 2020;52(6):892-894.
  3. Klein F, Roux J, Cvijetic G, Rodrigues PF, von Muenchow L, Lubin R, Pelczar P, Yona S, Tsapogas P, Tussiwand R. Dntt expression reveals developmental hierarchy and lineage specification of hematopoietic progenitors. Nat Immunol. 2022;23(4):505-517.
  4. Rodrigues PF, Tussiwand R. Novel concepts in plasmacytoid dendritic cell (pDC) development and differentiation. Mol Immunol. 2020;126:25-30.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Thursday, November 9, 2023