Skip Navigation
Leading research to understand, treat, and prevent infectious, immunologic, and allergic diseases
Skip Content Marketing
  • Share this:
  • submit to facebook
  • Tweet it
  • submit to reddit
  • submit to StumbleUpon
  • submit to Google +

Stefan A. Muljo, Ph.D.

Photo of Stefan A. Muljo, Ph.D. 

Chief, Integrative Immunobiology Unit

Laboratory of Immunology

Major Areas of Research

  • Non-coding RNAs: characterization under physiological and pathological conditions, regulation of production, mechanisms of action, identification of cognate targets
  • Gene expression and its regulation in hematopoietic stem cells and during cellular differentiation
  • Application of small RNAs for modulating or enhancing immune responses
  • MicroRNA expression profiling to identify novel biomarkers

Program Description

The Integrative Immunobiology Unit is interested in understanding how gene expression programs are orchestrated as cells differentiate from stem cells into various lineages in the immune system. In particular, the laboratory studies how these systems are controlled by microRNAs, long non-coding RNAs, and RNA-binding proteins.

Models of gene regulatory networks need to integrate RNA-binding proteins, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and microRNAs (miRNAs)
Models of gene regulatory networks need to integrate RNA-binding proteins, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), and microRNAs (miRNAs). A cell's fate is largely determined by its transcriptome and proteome which are regulated by transcriptional and post-transcriptional networks. Here they are depicted as an integrated circuit that processes input (signal) to mediate an output (not depicted). For simplicity, post-translational and competing endogenous RNA networks are not depicted here. Chromatin regulators and transcription factors with the aid of lncRNAs control the accessibility and transcription rate of protein-coding and non-coding genes while RNA-binding proteins collaborate with non-coding RNAs to orchestrate the processing, transport, translation, and stability of RNA transcripts. Post-transcriptional regulation has evolved an important additional layer that shapes the transcriptome in response to developmental and environmental cues that may not be achievable by transcriptional regulation alone. Adapted from Exploring the RNA world in hematopoietic cells through the lens of RNA-binding proteins.


Dr. Muljo earned his Ph.D. from the Graduate Program in Immunology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Part of his dissertation work was performed at the department of molecular and cell biology in the division of immunology and pathogenesis, University of California, Berkeley. This was followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Immune Disease Institute (formerly the Center for Blood Research), Harvard Medical School. He joined the Laboratory of Immunology (LI) in July 2008 to head the Integrative Immunobiology Unit. He is a faculty member of the NIH-Penn graduate partnership program, as well as others.

Special Interest Groups

  • Immunology
  • Cytokine
  • Systems biology
  • Genetics
  • Proteomics
  • Stem cell
  • RNA
  • Transcription factors
  • Single cell genomics

Research Group

Patrick Burr, contractor
Bryan Chim, contractor
Rui Li, Ph.D., visiting fellow
Xiuhuai Liu, Ph.D., biologist
Patrick Smith, Ph.D., chemist
Yi Jun Su, special volunteer
Saifeng Wang, Ph.D., visiting fellow

Laboratory of Immunology Group Photo, ca 2015
Group circa 2015. Back row, left to right: Stefan Muljo, Ph.D.; Patrick Burr, contractor; Bryan Chim, contractor; Xiuhuai Liu, Ph.D., biologist; Pat Smith, Ph.D., chemist. Front row, left to right: Saifeng Wang, Ph.D., visiting fellow,; Yi Jun Su, special volunteer,; James Austin, Ph.D., IRTA fellow; Rui Li, Ph.D., visiting fellow.
Laboratory of Immunology Group Photo, ca 2009
Group circa 2009. Left to right: Stefan Muljo, Ph.D.; Rami Zahr, contractor; Hunter Oliver-Allen, post-baccalaureate; Thelma Escobar, Graduate Partnerships Program student; Andrew Avery, summer intern; Cuong Nguyen, Ph.D., visiting postdoctoral fellow.

back to top

Selected Publications

Yuan J, Nguyen CK, Liu X, Kanellopoulou C, Muljo SA. Lin28b reprograms adult bone marrow hematopoietic progenitors to mediate fetal-like lymphopoiesis. Science. 2012; 335:1195-1200.

Yuan J, Muljo SA. Exploring the RNA world in hematopoietic cells through the lens of RNA-binding proteins. Immunological Reviews. 2013; 253: 290-303.

Escobar TM, Kanellopoulou C, Kugler DG, Kilaru G, Nguyen CK, Nagarajan V, Bhairavabhotla R, Northrup D, Zahr R, Burr P, Liu X, Zhao K, Sher A, Jankovic D, Zhu J, Muljo SA. miR-155 activates cytokine gene expression in Th17 cells by regulating the DNA-binding protein Jarid2 to relieve Polycomb-mediated repression. Immunity. 2014; 40: 865-879.

Kanellopoulou C, Gilpatrick T, Kilaru G, Burr P, Nguyen CK, Morawski A, Lenardo MJ, Muljo SA. Reprogramming of Polycomb-mediated gene silencing in embryonic stem cells by the miR-290 family and the methyltransferase Ash1l. Stem Cell Reports, in press.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

Predoctoral Fellowship Opportunity

Joint doctoral studentship positions are open in the Integrative Immunobiology Unit and the Copley laboratory or Oreste Acuto’s laboratory at Oxford University, United Kingdom, as part of the NIH-OxCam Partnership Program.

Specifically, we have the following proposed collaborations that qualify for the NIH-Oxford University Scholar in Biomedical Research Program, NIH-Marshall Scholar Program, NIH-Rhodes Scholar Program, or NIH-Wellcome Trust Program:

For instructions on how to apply for the program, see Graduate Partnerships Program.

Last Updated November 20, 2015