Nick Giannoukakis, PhD
Adjunct Associate Professor of Pathology

Dr. Giannoukakis is a member of the Division of Experimental Pathology and a member of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program. He teaches topics on pancreas and thyroid development and pathology as well as cell and gene therapy approaches in diabetes mellitus in a number of courses administered by the Department and also directs the "Introduction to Immunobiotherapeutics" course in the Department of Immunology. He has mentored graduate, MD/PhD students as well as clinical fellows over the years and is one of the founders of DiaVacs, a biotechnology entity leveraging dendritc cell therapy for autoimmunity.

Office Location:
Institute of Cellular Therapeutics
Allegheny Health Network
1102 South Tower
320 East North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15212
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-359-6394
Lab Telephone: 412-359-4749


  • BSc - 1992, McGill University
  • PhD - 1997, McGill University

Clinical Expertise

Tolerogenic Dendritic Cell Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Research Experties

  • Biologic, gene and cell therapy for type 1 and type 2 diabetes;
  • Biologic, gene and cell-based approaches for facilitating allogeneic and xenogeneic transplantation;
  • Regulatory immune cells in autoimmunity and transplantation biology;
  • Targeted therapeutics to mobilise tolerogenic immune cells;
  • Bioscaffolds using self-assembling peptides to create miniorgans conferring immune privilege to associated cells; vi) Clinical trials using biologics and cell-based therapies to treat autoimmunity

Selected Publications

View Dr. Giannoukakis' publications on PubMed

Peer-reviewed primary research:

A peptide-based material platform for displaying antibodies to engage T cells. Zheng Y, Wen Y, George AM, Steinbach AM, Phillips BE, Giannoukakis N, Gawalt ES, Meng WS. (2011) Biomaterials. 32: 249-257.

IL-7 promotes the phenotypic maturation of suppressive CD25+ CD127+ Foxp3+ T- cells into Foxp3+ CD127- CD25HIGH Tregs, Valentina Di Caro, Antonella D'Anneo, Brett Phillips, Carl Engman, Massimo, Trucco and Nick Giannoukakis (2011), Clin. Exp. Immunol. 165(1):60-76

Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase activity during in vitro dendritic cell generation determines suppressive or stimulatory activity, Valentina Di Caro, Antonella D' Anneo, Brett Phillips, Carl Engman, Jo Harnaha, Massimo Trucco and Nick Giannoukakis (2011), Immunol. Res. 50(2-3):130-152

A phase I (safety) study of autologous tolerogenic dendritic cells in type 1 diabetic patients, Nick Giannoukakis, Brett Phillips, David Finegold, Jo Harnaha and Massimo Trucco (2011), Diabetes Care. 34(9):2026-32.

FoxO6 Integrates Insulin Signaling With Gluconeogenesis in the Liver. Kim DH, Perdomo G, Zhang T, Slusher S, Lee S, Phillips BE, Fan Y, Giannoukakis N, Gramignoli R, Strom S, Ringquist S, Dong HH. (2011), Diabetes. 60: 2763-2774.

Sequence variation in the promoter of the Ica1 gene, which encodes a protein implicated in type 1 diabetes, causes the transcription factor AIRE to increase its binding and downregulate expression. Bonner SM, Pietropaolo SL, Fan Y, Chang Y, Sethupathy P, Morran MP, Beems M, Giannoukakis N, Trucco G, Palumbo MO, Solimena M, Pugliese A, Polychronakos C, Trucco M, Pietropaolo M. (2012), J Biol Chem. 287 (21): 17882-17893.

Retaining antibodies in tumors with a self-assembling injectable system. Wen Y, Kolonich HR, Kruszewski KM, Giannoukakis N, Gawalt ES, Meng WS. (2013) Mol Pharmacol. 4;10(3):1035-1044.

Retinoic acid-producing, ex vivo-generated human tolerogenic dendritic cells induce the proliferation of suppressive regulatory B-lymphocytes, Valentina Di Caro, Brett Phillips, Carl Engman, Jo Harnaha, Massimo Trucco and Nick Giannoukakis (2013) Clin Exp Immunol. 174(2): 302-317

Involvement of suppressive B-lymphocytes in the mechanism of tolerogenic dendritic cell reversal of type 1 diabetes in NOD mice, Valentina Di Caro, Brett Phillips, Carl Engman, Jo Harnaha, Massimo Trucco and Nick Giannoukakis, (2014) PLoS One, 9(1): e83575.

Coassembly of amphiphilic peptide EAK16-II with histidinylated analogues and implications for functionalization of beta-sheet fibrils in vivo. Wen Y, Roudebush SL, Buckholtz GA, Goehring TR, Giannoukakis N, Gawalt ES, Meng WS. (2014) Biomaterials, doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.03.009

Antibody-functionalized peptidic membranes for neutralization of allogeneic skin antigen-presenting cells. Wen Y, Liu W, Bagia C, Zhang S, Bai M, Janjic JM, Giannoukakis N, Gawalt ES, Meng WS. (2014) Acta Biomater. 2014 Aug 10. pii: S1742-7061

Peer-reviewed review articles:

Current state of type 1 diabetes immunotherapy: incremental advances, huge leaps, or more of the same? Phillips B, Trucco M, Giannoukakis N. (2011) Clin Dev Immunol. 2011;2011:432016. Epub 2011 Jul 18. PMID: 21785616

In vivo delivery of nucleic acid-formulated microparticles as potential tolerogenic vaccine for type 1 diabetes, Valentina Di Caro, Nick Giannoukakis and Massimo Trucco (2012) Rev. Diabet. Stud., 9: 348-356.

A role for tolerogenic dendritic cell-induced B-regulatory cells in type 1 diabetes mellitus, Nick Giannoukakis and Massimo Trucco (2012) Current Opin Endocrinol Diabetes, 19(4): 279-287

Dendritic cell therapy for type 1 diabetes suppression. Nick Giannoukakis and Massimo Trucco (2012) Immunotherapy, 4(10): 1063-1074

Tolerogenic dendritic cells for type 1 diabetes, Nick Giannoukakis (2013) Immunotherapy, 5: 569-571.

Evaluation of ranirestat for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Nick Giannoukakis (2014) Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism and Toxicology, 10: 1051-1059

It's Time to Bring Dendritic Cell Therapy to Type 1 Diabetes, Remi J. Creusot, Nick Giannoukakis, Massimo Trucco, Michael J. Clare-Salzler, and C. Garrison Fathman (2014) Diabetes, 63: 20-30.