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 Pneumovirinae) 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 lines of evidence have led us to consider the unrecognized beneficial impact provided by eosinophils as well as distinct heterogeneity in their responses to unique microenvironments.


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
  • Clinical and Vaccine Immunology
  • Journal of Biological Chemistry

Research Group

From left to right: Michelle Ma, Helene Rosenberg, Caroline Percopo, Albert Sek, Eric Mai, Ajinkya Limkar

From left to right: Michelle Ma, Helene Rosenberg, Caroline Percopo, Albert Sek, Eric Mai, Ajinkya Limkar

Credit: NIAID

Selected Publications

Ma M, Redes JL, Percopo CM, Druey KM, Rosenberg HF. Alternaria alternata challenge at the nasal mucosa results in eosinophilic inflammation and increased susceptibility to influenza virus infection. Clin Exp Allergy. 2018 Jun;48(6):691-702.

Rosenberg HF, Druey KM. Modeling asthma: Pitfalls, promises, and the road ahead. J Leukoc Biol. 2018 Jul;104(1):41-48.

Geslewitz WE, Percopo CM, Rosenberg HF. Eosinophil persistence in vivo and sustained viability ex vivo in response to respiratory challenge with fungal allergens. Clin Exp Allergy. 2018 Jan;48(1):29-38.

Percopo CM, Brenner TA, Ma M, Kraemer LS, Hakeem RM, Lee JJ, Rosenberg HF. SiglecF+Gr1hi eosinophils are a distinct subpopulation within the lungs of allergen-challenged mice. J Leukoc Biol. 2017 Jan;101(1):321-328.

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 infection. Blood. 2014 Jan 30;123(5):743-52.

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

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.


Content last reviewed on September 14, 2018