Michael Cancro PhD

Dr. Michael P. Cancro obtained his PhD under the tutelage of Dr. Michael Potter at the National Cancer Institute, working on plasma cell tumorigenesis and progression. His postdoctoral research with Dr. Norman Klinman at the University of Pennsylvania was pivotal in developing the influenza hemagglutinin model antigen system, which he subsequently applied to antibody diversity estimates, repertoire development studies, and limiting dilution analyses of helper T cell activity. In the early 1990’s, the Cancro laboratory discovered that, contrary to prevailing dogma, B-lymphocytes complete maturation in the periphery. These studies provided the basis for current models of peripheral B cell selection and differentiation. Currently, his laboratory is pursuing studies focused on mechanisms of B cell homeostasis and how these impact autoimmunity and aging. These studies led to the characterization of a novel receptor for BLyS, a TNF family member that controls B cell numbers and determines the stringency of B cell selection. The Cancro laboratory has been at the forefront of currently held concepts regarding how this cytokine and receptor family governs homeostatic and selective processes, how these are integrated with adaptive and innate immune receptors, and how these might be manipulated in autoimmunity and transplantation tolerance.
Dr. Cancro’s research contributions have been recognized by various awards, lectureships, and elected memberships, including the 2012 Lady Barbara Colyton Award for Autoimmune Research, and the 2012 Bathsheva de Rothschild Visiting Professorship. He is also a dedicated educator, as evidenced by his receipt of numerous teaching honors, including the Lindback, Berwick, and Nowell Awards. His executive credentials include service as Associate Dean for Curriculum in the School of Medicine, Chair of the Immunology graduate program at Penn, and chair of NIH/NIAID and USAMRID grant review panels.