Helene Rosenberg, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief, Inflammation Immunobiology Section

Major Areas of Research

  • Respiratory viruses, inflammation and immunomodulatory therapies
  • Eosinophils and their role in innate immune responses
  • Diversity and biology of RNase A family ribonucleases 

Program Description

The Inflammation Immunobiology Section (IIS) explores the link between inflammation and infectious disease, with a focus on the inflammatory sequelae elicited by respiratory virus pathogens. Our laboratory utilizes molecular, cellular, bioinformatics, and in vivo approaches to elucidate novel responses and to gain insight into critical interactions.

As a major feature of these studies, our group developed the pneumonia virus of mice (PVM; family Paramyxoviridae) as a significant model of acute respiratory virus infection. In contrast to many human respiratory virus pathogens, PVM undergoes robust replication in the respiratory tracts of rodent species, and reproduces many clinical and pathologic features of severe human respiratory virus infection in inbred strains of mice. With this model, our group is pursuing studies aimed at elucidating novel inflammatory pathways and original immunomodulatory therapies.

Related to these studies is our mainstay, the eosinophil, an enigmatic leukocyte whose role in innate immunity has recently undergone dramatic reconsideration. Eosinophils are best known for their contributions to the functional pathophysiology of allergic asthma; however, evolution tells us that the ability to induce pathology cannot be a raison d’être for any existing cell lineage. Several distinct lines of evidence have led us to consider the unrecognized beneficial impact provided by eosinophils in this setting, notably via their interactions with respiratory virus pathogens.


Dr. Rosenberg was awarded both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) at The Rockefeller University/Cornell University Medical College (1984, 1985). Following postdoctoral research at Harvard University, she joined the National Institutes of Health in 1991, was granted tenure in 1998, and became a Section Chief in 2002.

Editorial Boards

  • Journal of Leukocyte Biology
  • Clinical and Experimental Allergy
  • Journal of Immunology
  • Clinical and Vaccine Immunology
  • Virology Journal
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry

Research Group

From left to right: Julia Krumholz, Wendy Geslewitz, Caroline Percopo, Helene Rosenberg, Albert Sek, Michelle Ma
Credit: NIAID

From left to right: Julia Krumholz, Wendy Geslewitz, Caroline Percopo, Helene Rosenberg, Albert Sek, Michelle Ma.

Selected Publications

Percopo CM, Ma M, Rosenberg HF.  Administration of immunobiotic Lactobacillus plantarum delays but does not prevent lethal pneumovirus infection in Rag1-/- mice. J. Leukoc. Biol. 2017, In press.

Rosenberg HF, Masterson JC, Furuta GT. Eosinophils, probiotics and the microbiome. J. Leukoc. Biol. 2016 Nov;100(5):881-888.

Rice TA, Brenner TA, Percopo CM, Ma M, Keicher JD, Domachowske JB, Rosenberg HF. Signaling via pattern recognition receptors NOD2 and TLR2 contributes to immunomodulatory control of lethal pneumovirus infection. Antiviral Res. 2016 Jun 14;132:131-140.

Yamada KJ, Barker T, Dyer KD, Rice TA, Percopo CM, Garcia-Crespo KE, Cho S, Lee JJ, Druey KM, Rosenberg HF. Eosinophil-associated Ribonuclease 11 is a Macrophage Chemoattractant. J Biol Chem. 2015 290(14):8863-75.

Percopo CM, Dyer KD, Ochkur SI, Luo JL, Fischer ER, Lee NA, Lee JJ, Domachowske JB, Rosenberg HF. Activated mouse eosinophils protect against lethal respiratory virus infectionBlood. 2014 Jan 30;123(5):743-52.

Rosenberg HF, Dyer KD, Foster PS. Eosinophils: changing perspectives in health and diseaseNat Rev Immunol. 2013. Jan;13(1):9-22.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

Content last reviewed on November 23, 2016