Nikola L. Vujanovic, MD, PhD
Professor of Pathology and Immunology

Dr. Vujanovic is a member of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Office Location:
HCC Rm G.17D
5117 Center Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-623-3211
Fax: 412-623-3235


  • MD - School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, 1966
  • PhD - School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, 1978

Awards and Honors

  • Vice-President of the Serbian Society of Immunologists, 1988
  • President of the Serbian Society of Immunologists, 1989-1990
  • Honorable Member of the Serbian Society of Immunologists, 2009
  • iSBTc Team Science Recognition Award, 2010
  • University of Pittsburgh Honor for the outstanding contribution in science, 2011
  • Pitt Innovator Award for commercialization of patent, 2011

Research Expertise

Tumor immunology:

  • Innate immunity effector cells
  • Anti-cancer innate immune mechanisms
  • Regulation of immune mechanisms by TNF superfamily ligands
  • Crosstalk between natural killer and dendritic cells and its role in anticancer immune defense
  • Myeloid-derived suppressor cells and cancer-related immunosuppression
  • Cancer prevention and therapy by modulation of immune function
Cancer biomarkers:

  • ADAM sheddase activities

NIH Research

View Dr. Vujanovic's NIH RePORT on

Selected Publications

View Dr. Vujanovic's publications on PubMed

  • Vujanovic NL, Herberman R, Maghazachi A, Hiserodt J. Lymphokine activated killer cells in rats. III. A simple method for the purification and rapid expansion of lymphokine activated killer cells. J. Expt. Med. 167:15, 1988. PMID: 3257251.
  • Chambers WH, Vujanovic NL, DeLeo AB, Olszowy MW, Herberman RB, Hiserodt JC. Monoclonal antibody to triggering structure expressed on rat natural killer cells and adherent lymphokine-activated killer cells. J. Expt. Med. 169:1373, 1989. PMID: 2466943.
  • Vujanovic NL, Nagashima S, Herberman RB, Whiteside TL. Non-secretory apoptotic killing by human natural killer cells. J. Immunol. 157:1117-1126,1996. PMID: 8757616.
  • Shaw SG, Maung AA, Steptoe RJ, Thomson AW, Vujanovic NL. Expansion of functional natural killer cells in multiple tissue compartments of mice treated with Flt3-ligand: Implication for anti-cancer and anti-viral therapy. J. Immunol. 161:2817-2824,1998. PMID: 9743341.
  • Kashii Y, Giorda R, Herberman RB, Whiteside TL, Vujanovic NL. Constitutive expression and role of the TNF family ligands in apoptotic killing by human NK cells. J.Immunol. 163:5358-5366, 1999. PMID: 10553060.
  • Janjic BM, Lu G, Pimenov A, Whiteside TL, Storkus WJ., Vujanovic NL. Innate direct anticancer effector function of human immature dendritic cells. I. Involvement of a potent apoptosis-inducing pathway. J. Immunol. 2002, 168: 1823-1830. PMID: 11823515.
  • Lu G, Janjic BM, Janjic J, Whiteside TL, Storkus WJ., Vujanovic NL. Innate direct anticancer effector function of human immature dendritic cells. I. Role of TNF, LT-&alpha1;β2, Fas ligand and TRAIL. J. Immunol. 2002, 168: 1831-1839. PMID: 11823516

  • Li S, Xu J, Makarenkova VP, Tjandrawan T, Vakkila J, Reichert T, Gooding W, Lagenaur CF, Achim CL, Chambers WH, Herberman RB, Whiteside TL, and Vujanovic NL. A novel epitope of N-CAM defines precursors of human adherent NK cells. J. Leuk.Biol. 2004, 76, 1187-1199. PMID: 15356097.
  • Makarenkova V, Chakrabarti AK, Liberatore JA, Popovic P, Lu G, Watkins S, and Vujanovic NL. Dendritic cells and natural killer cells interact via multiple TNF family molecules. J. Leuk. Biol., 2005, 77, 408-413. PMID: 15604121.
  • Huang J, Tatsumi T, Pizzoferrato E, Vujanovic NL, and Storkus WJ. Nitric oxide sensitizes tumor cells to dendritic cell-mediated apoptosis, uptake, and cross-presentation. Cancer Res. 2005, 65, 8461-8460. PMID: 16166326.
  • Xu J, Chakrabarti AK, Liberatore J, Ge L, Gamboto A, and Vujanovic NL. Essential role of TNF-TNFR2 cognate interaction in dendritic cell-natural killer cell cross-talk. Blood. 2007. 109:3333-3341. PMID: 17164346.
  • Tian F, Cutts J, Vujanovic NL, and Li LY. The Endothelial Cell-Produced Anti-Angiogenic Cytokine Vascular Endothelial Growth Inhibitor (VEGI) Induces Dendritic Cell Maturation. J. Immunol. 2007, 179, 3742-3751. PMID: 17785811.
  • Pilbeam, K., N.L. Vujanovic, Brossay, P. Basse, R. Gerstein, A.N. Vallejo and L. Borghesi. Incomplete V(D)J rearrangements trace the development and clonal origins of natural killer cells. J. Immunology. 2008, 180, 1432-1441. PMID: 18209038.
  • Ge L, Baskic D, Basse P, Vujanovic L, Unlu S, Yoneyama T, Sobo A, Han J, Bankovic D, Szczepanski MJ, Hunt JL, Herberman RB, Gollin SM, Ferris RL, Whiteside TL, Myers EN, and Vujanovic NL. Sheddase activity of tumor necrosis factor-a converting enzyme is increased and prognostically valuable in head and neck cancer. Cancer. Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev. 2009, 18, 2913-2922. PMCID: PMC2784191.
  • Vujanovic L, DE Szymkowski, NL Vujanovic, and LH Butterfield. Virally-infected and cytokine-matured human dendritic cells activate natural killer cells via cooperative activity of plasma membrane-bound TNF and IL-15. Blood. 2010, 116, 575-583.
  • Vujanovic N.L. Role of TNF superfamily ligands in innate immunity. Immunol Res. 2011, 50, 159-174
  • Vujanovic L, W Ballard, SH Thorne, NL Vujanovic (senior co-author), and LH Butterfield (senior co-author). Adenovirus-engineered human dendritic cells induce natural killer cell chemotaxis via CXCL8/IL-8 and CXCL10/IP-10 chemokines. OncoImmunology. 2012, 1:4, 448-457.
  • Munich S, A Sobo-Vujanovic, WJ Buchser, D Beer-Stolz, and NL Vujanovic. Dendritic cell exosomes directly kill tumor cells and activate natural killer cells via TNF superfamily ligands. OncoImmunology 2012, 1:7,1074-1083.
  • Baskic D, L Vujanovic, N Arsenijevic, TL Whiteside, EN Myers, and NL Vujanovic. Natural killer cell and dendritic cell apoptotic tumoricidal activity is suppressed in head and neck cancer patients. Head & Neck, 2013, 35, 388-398.
  • Sobo-Vujanovic A, S Munich, and NL Vujanovic. Dendritic-cell exosomes cross-present Toll-like receptor-ligands and activate bystander dendritic cells. Cell Immunol, 2014, 289, 119-127.