Angus W. Thomson, Ph.D., D.Sc.
Distinguished Professor of Surgery

Dr. Thomson
Dr. Thomson is Professor of Immunology, Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, and Clinical and Translational Science, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Director of Transplant Immunology, Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Director of Transplantation Research, University of Pittsburgh Molecular Medicine Institute.

Office Location:
W1544 BST
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-624-6392
Fax: 412-624-1172


  • B.Sc. (Hons) - University Aberdeen, 1970
  • M.Sc. (Immunology) - - University Birmingham, UK - 1971
  • Ph.D. - University Aberdeen, 1974

Research Expertise

Understanding the role of dendritic cells in tolerance induction.

Here we seek to elucidate the role of dendritic leukocytes, - highly specialized antigen-presenting cells, in determining the balance between organ transplantation tolerance and immunity. Studies involve elucidation of the roles of key signaling molecules (ie, TLR and co-regulatory molecules) in the dialogue between dendritic cells (DC) and T cells, including Treg cells, and investigation of the function of DC in organ allograft models.
Funded by ROTRF Grant 874279717.

Transitioning regulatory DC from the laboratory to the clinic.

This study is designed to evaluate the tolerogenicity of donor- or recipient-derived dendritic cell subsets for the promotion of transplantation tolerance in the clinic. Both biologic and pharmacologic agents known to promote DC tolerogenicity will be evaluated for their capacity to maximize the ability of the donor DC to induce alloantigen-specific T cell unresponsiveness.
Funded by NIH Grant U01 AI/DK 51698.

Plasmacytoid DC and Transplant Tolerance

Plasmacytoid DC (pDC) are a recently identified subset of DC that appear to play an important role in the regulation of tolerance induction. Our efforts are focused on elucidating the mechanisms underlying the ability of pDC to regulate alloimmune responses and transplant outcome.
Funded by NIH Grant R01 AI60994.

Selected Publications

View Dr. Thomson's publications on PubMed

Literature Watch Implications for transplantation. Thomson AW, Bromberg JS. Am J Transplant. 2014 Aug;14(8):1713. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12901. No abstract available. PMID: 25039718

DAP12 Deficiency in Liver Allografts Results in Enhanced Donor DC Migration, Augmented Effector T Cell Responses and Abrogation of Transplant Tolerance. Yoshida O, Kimura S, Dou L, Matta BM, Yokota S, Ross MA, Geller DA, Thomson AW. Am J Transplant. 2014 Aug;14(8):1791-805. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12757. Epub 2014 Jun 16. PMID: 24935196

Orchestration of transplantation tolerance by regulatory dendritic cell therapy or in-situ targeting of dendritic cells. Morelli AE, Thomson AW. Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2014 Aug;19(4):348-56. doi: 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000097. PMID: 24926700

. The secret behind non-antigen-pulsed autologous dendritic cell therapy in transplantation. Morelli AE, Thomson AW. Am J Transplant. 2014 May;14(5):989-90. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12705. Epub 2014 Apr 14. No abstract available. PMID: 24731225

Cutting edge: Flt3 ligand mediates STAT3-independent expansion but STAT3-dependent activation of myeloid-derived suppressor cells. Rosborough BR, Mathews LR, Matta BM, Liu Q, Raïch-Regué D, Thomson AW, Turnquist HR. J Immunol. 2014 Apr 15;192(8):3470-3. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1300058. Epub 2014 Mar 17. PMID: 24639346

Thrombospondin-1 activation of signal-regulatory protein-a stimulates reactive oxygen species production and promotes renal ischemia reperfusion injury. Yao M, Rogers NM, Csányi G, Rodriguez AI, Ross MA, St Croix C, Knupp H, Novelli EM, Thomson AW, Pagano PJ, Isenberg JS. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014 Jun;25(6):1171-86. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2013040433. Epub 2014 Feb 7. PMID: 24511121

Essential role of program death 1-ligand 1 in regulatory T-cell-afforded protection against blood-brain barrier damage after stroke. Li P, Mao L, Liu X, Gan Y, Zheng J, Thomson AW, Gao Y, Chen J, Hu X. Stroke. 2014 Mar;45(3):857-64. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.113.004100. Epub 2014 Feb 4. PMID: 24496394

Plasmacytoid dendritic cell-derived IFN-a promotes murine liver ischemia/reperfusion injury by induction of hepatocyte IRF-1. Castellaneta A, Yoshida O, Kimura S, Yokota S, Geller DA, Murase N, Thomson AW. Hepatology. 2014 Jul;60(1):267-77. doi: 10.1002/hep.27037. Epub 2014 May 27. PMID: 24493010

Regulatory dendritic cell therapy: From rodents to clinical application. Raïch-Regué D, Glancy M, Thomson AW. Immunol Lett. 2013 Dec 4. pii: S0165-2478(13)00200-9. doi: 10.1016/j.imlet.2013.11.016. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 24316407

IL-12hi rapamycin-conditioned dendritic cells mediate IFN-?-dependent apoptosis of alloreactive CD4+ T cells in vitro and reduce lethal graft-versus-host disease. Stenger EO, Rosborough BR, Mathews LR, Ma H, Mapara MY, Thomson AW, Turnquist HR. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2014 Feb;20(2):192-201. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2013.11.007. Epub 2013 Nov 12. PMID: 24239650

Post-transplant repopulation of naïve and memory T cells in blood and lymphoid tissue after alemtuzumab-mediated depletion in heart-transplanted cynomolgus monkeys. Marco MR, Dons EM, van der Windt DJ, Bhama JK, Lu LT, Zahorchak AF, Lakkis FG, Cooper DK, Ezzelarab MB, Thomson AW. Transpl Immunol. 2013 Dec;29(1-4):88-98. doi: 10.1016/j.trim.2013.10.002. Epub 2013 Oct 9. PMID: 24120957

Regulators with potential: substantiating myeloid-derived suppressor cells in human organ transplantation. Thomson AW, Turnquist HR. Am J Transplant. 2013 Dec;13(12):3061-2. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12464. Epub 2013 Sep 18. No abstract available. PMID: 24102710

Regulatory myeloid cells in transplantation. Rosborough BR, Raïch-Regué D, Turnquist HR, Thomson AW. Transplantation. 2014 Feb 27;97(4):367-79. doi: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3182a860de. Review. PMID: 24092382

Rapamycin augments human DC IL-12p70 and IL-27 secretion to promote allogeneic Type 1 polarization modulated by NK cells. Macedo C, Turnquist HR, Castillo-Rama M, Zahorchak AF, Shapiro R, Thomson AW, Metes D. Am J Transplant. 2013 Sep;13(9):2322-33. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12351. Epub 2013 Aug 22. PMID: 24034707

All-trans retinoic acid and rapamycin synergize with transforming growth factor-ß1 to induce regulatory T cells but confer different migratory capacities. Jhunjhunwala S, Chen LC, Nichols EE, Thomson AW, Raimondi G, Little SR. J Leukoc Biol. 2013 Nov;94(5):981-9. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0312167. Epub 2013 Jul 29. PMID: 23898044

CD39 expression by hepatic myeloid dendritic cells attenuates inflammation in liver transplant ischemia-reperfusion injury in mice. Yoshida O, Kimura S, Jackson EK, Robson SC, Geller DA, Murase N, Thomson AW. Hepatology. 2013 Dec;58(6):2163-75. doi: 10.1002/hep.26593. Epub 2013 Oct 15. PMID: 23813862

Regulatory dendritic cell infusion prolongs kidney allograft survival in nonhuman primates. Ezzelarab MB, Zahorchak AF, Lu L, Morelli AE, Chalasani G, Demetris AJ, Lakkis FG, Wijkstrom M, Murase N, Humar A, Shapiro R, Cooper DK, Thomson AW. Am J Transplant. 2013 Aug;13(8):1989-2005. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12310. Epub 2013 Jun 11. PMID: 23758811

Adoptive regulatory T-cell therapy protects against cerebral ischemia. Li P, Gan Y, Sun BL, Zhang F, Lu B, Gao Y, Liang W, Thomson AW, Chen J, Hu X. Ann Neurol. 2013 Sep;74(3):458-71. doi: 10.1002/ana.23815. Epub 2013 May 14. PMID: 23674483

Ex vivo-expanded cynomolgus macaque regulatory T cells are resistant to alemtuzumab-mediated cytotoxicity. Dons EM, Raimondi G, Zhang H, Zahorchak AF, Bhama JK, Lu L, Ezzelarab M, Ijzermans JN, Cooper DK, Thomson AW. Am J Transplant. 2013 Aug;13(8):2169-78. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12248. Epub 2013 May 1. PMID: 23635093

Plasmacytoid dendritic cells: no longer an enigma and now key to transplant tolerance? Rogers NM, Isenberg JS, Thomson AW. Am J Transplant. 2013 May;13(5):1125-33. doi: 10.1111/ajt.12229. Epub 2013 Apr 25. Review. PMID: 23617754