Donata Vercelli, MD

Regents Professor, Cellular and Molecular Medicine
Director, Arizona Center for the Biology of Complex Diseases
Associate Director, Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Professor, Genetics GIDP

Dr. Vercelli received her MD degree from the University of Florence in 1978 and trained in immunology at Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where she was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics from 1991 to 1994. After four years as Director of the Molecular Immunoregulation Unit at San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Milan, in 1999 she moved to the University of Arizona where she currently is a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, the Associate Director of the Asthma and Airway Disease Research Center, and the Director of the Arizona Center for the Biology of Complex Diseases (ABCD). She is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP) and from 2005 to 2012 was the Associate Editor for Genetics of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. In 2022, she was named Regents Professor at the University of Arizona. Her research relies on both human and animal models and is supported by the NIH and industry.

Research Interests: 

Genetic, epigenetic and environmental mechanisms that control susceptibility to complex lung diseases.

Molecular Medicine Grad Program: 



Xing, Y., M. Sin- Man Tsang, Z. Yang, M. Haitian Wang, V. Pivniouk, A. Sze- Yin Leung, T-F. Leung, M. Roponen, B. Schaub, D. Vercelli, et al., "Immune modulation by rural exposures and allergy protection.", Pediatr Allergy Immunol, vol. 35, issue 2, pp. e14086, 2024 Feb. PMID: 38351891
Michael, A. N., O. Pivniouk, P. C. Ezeh, S. Banskar, S. Hahn, A. DeVries, K. O'Connell, V. Pivniouk, and D. Vercelli, "Administration of a Bacterial Lysate to the Airway Compartment Is Sufficient to Inhibit Allergen-Induced Lung Eosinophilia in Germ-free Mice.", J Leukoc Biol, 2024 Mar 12. PMID: 38470858


Vercelli, D., and S. V. Lynch, "Interactions Between Host Epigenetics and Microbiota: Who Does What to Whom, When and Why?", J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2023 Jan. PMID: 36720286
Santos, M. Marques do, V. Pivniouk, B. Rankl, A. Walker, G. Pagani, N. Hertkorn, P. Schmitt-Kopplin, C. Müller, F. Bracher, J. Merl-Pham, et al., "Asthma-protective agents in dust from traditional farm environments.", J Allergy Clin Immunol, vol. 152, issue 3, pp. 610-621, 2023 Sep. PMCID: PMC10680491  PMID: 37271318


Pali-Schöll, I., R. Bianchini, S. Moussa Afify, G. Hofstetter, S. Winkler, S. Ahlers, T. Altemeier, H. Mayerhofer, K. Hufnagl, A. D. J. Korath, et al., "Secretory protein beta-lactoglobulin in cattle stable dust may contribute to the allergy-protective farm effect.", Clin Transl Allergy, vol. 12, issue 2, pp. e12125, 2022 Feb. PMCID: PMC8840802  PMID: 35169442
Wheatley, L. M., J. W. Holloway, C. Svanes, M. R. Sears, C. Breton, A. V. Fedulov, E. Nilsson, D. Vercelli, H. Zhang, A. Togias, et al., "The Role of Epigenetics in Multi-generational Transmission of Asthma: an NIAID Workshop Report-based narrative review.", Clin Exp Allergy, 2022 Sep 08. PMID: 36073598
DeVries, A., K. McCauley, D. Fadrosh, K. E. Fujimura, D. A. Stern, S. V. Lynch, and D. Vercelli, "Maternal prenatal immunity, neonatal trained immunity, and early airway microbiota shape childhood asthma development.", Allergy, 2022 Jul 16. PMID: 35841380


Pivniouk, V., J. A. Gimenes-Junior, P. Ezeh, A. Michael, O. Pivniouk, S. Hahn, S. R. VanLinden, S. P. Malone, A. Abidov, D. Anderson, et al., "Airway administration of OM-85, a bacterial lysate, blocks experimental asthma by targeting dendritic cells and the epithelium/IL-33/ILC2 axis.", J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2021 Sep 21. PMID: 34560105
Pivniouk, V., O. Pivniouk, A. DeVries, J. L. Uhrlaub, A. Michael, D. Pivniouk, S. R. VanLinden, M. Y. Conway, S. Hahn, S. P. Malone, et al., "The OM-85 bacterial lysate inhibits SARS-CoV-2 infection of epithelial cells by downregulating SARS-CoV-2 receptor expression.", J Allergy Clin Immunol, 2021 Dec 10. PMCID: PMC8660661  PMID: 34902435
Vercelli, D., "Microbiota and human allergic diseases: the company we keep.", Curr Opin Immunol, vol. 72, pp. 215-220, 2021 Jun 25. PMID: 34182271
Lynch, S. V., and D. Vercelli, "Microbiota, Epigenetics, and Trained Immunity. Convergent Drivers and Mediators of the Asthma Trajectory from Pregnancy to Childhood.", Am J Respir Crit Care Med, vol. 203, issue 7, pp. 802-808, 2021 04 01. PMCID: PMC8017579  PMID: 33493428


Kimura, H., D. Francisco, M. Conway, F. D. Martinez, D. Vercelli, F. Polverino, D. Billheimer, and M. Kraft, "Type 2 inflammation modulates ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in airway epithelial cells.", J Allergy Clin Immunol, vol. 146, issue 1, pp. 80-88.e8, 2020 Jul. PMCID: PMC7227558  PMID: 32422146
Morin, A., C. G. McKennan, C-E. T. Pedersen, J. Stokholm, B. L. Chawes, A-M. Malby Schoos, K. A. Naughton, J. Thorsen, M. S. Mortensen, D. Vercelli, et al., "Epigenetic landscape links upper airway microbiota in infancy with allergic rhinitis at 6 years of age.", J Allergy Clin Immunol, vol. 146, issue 6, pp. 1358-1366, 2020 12. PMCID: PMC7821422  PMID: 32693091
Pivniouk, V., J. Antonio Gi Junior, L. K. Honeker, and D. Vercelli, "The role of innate immunity in asthma development and protection: Lessons from the environment.", Clin Exp Allergy, vol. 50, issue 3, pp. 282-290, 2020 03. PMID: 31581343


Hrusch, C. L., M. M. Stein, J. Gozdz, M. Holbreich, E. von Mutius, D. Vercelli, C. Ober, and A. I. Sperling, "T-cell phenotypes are associated with serum IgE levels in Amish and Hutterite children.", J Allergy Clin Immunol, vol. 144, issue 5, pp. 1391-1401.e10, 2019 11. PMCID: PMC6842432  PMID: 31401285
Vercelli, D., and E. R. Bleecker, "Strength in numbers: The quest for asthma genes.", J Allergy Clin Immunol, vol. 144, issue 2, pp. 413-415, 2019 08. PMID: 31229462


Rothers, J., D. A. Stern, C. I Lohman, A. Spangenberg, A. L. Wright, A. DeVries, D. Vercelli, and M. Halonen, "Maternal Cytokine Profiles during Pregnancy Predict Asthma in Children of Mothers without Asthma.", Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol, vol. 59, issue 5, pp. 592-600, 2018 11. PMCID: PMC6236694  PMID: 29863910
Vercelli, D., "Are we what our mothers made us? Lessons from epigenetics.", J Allergy Clin Immunol, vol. 141, issue 2, pp. 525-526, 2018 Feb. PMID: 29274413
DeVries, A., and D. Vercelli, "Of pleiotropy and trajectories: Does the TGF-β pathway link childhood asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?", J Allergy Clin Immunol, vol. 141, issue 6, pp. 1992-1996, 2018 Jun. PMCID: PMC5996766  PMID: 29709672


DeVries, A., G. Wlasiuk, S. J. Miller, A. Bosco, D. A. Stern, C. I Lohman, J. Rothers, A. C. Jones, J. Nicodemus-Johnson, M. M. Vasquez, et al., "Epigenome-wide analysis links SMAD3 methylation at birth to asthma in children of asthmatic mothers.", J Allergy Clin Immunol, vol. 140, issue 2, pp. 534-542, 2017 Aug. PMCID: PMC5479765  PMID: 28011059
Long, X., M. Daya, J. Zhao, N. Rafaels, H. Liang, J. Potee, M. Campbell, B. Zhang, M. Ilma Araujo, R. R. Oliveira, et al., "The role of ST2 and ST2 genetic variants in schistosomiasis.", J Allergy Clin Immunol, vol. 140, issue 5, pp. 1416-1422.e6, 2017 Nov. PMCID: PMC5550370  PMID: 28189770
Carr, T. F., P. I. Beamer, J. Rothers, D. A. Stern, L. B. Gerald, C. B. Rosales, Y. Ornelas Van Horne, O. N. Pivniouk, D. Vercelli, M. Halonen, et al., "Prevalence of Asthma in School Children on the Arizona-Sonora Border.", J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract, vol. 5, issue 1, pp. 114-120, 2017. PMID: 27544711


Gozdz, J., C. Ober, and D. Vercelli, "Innate immunity and asthma risk", NEJM, vol. 375, pp. 1897-1899, 2016.
Stein, M. M., C. L. Hrusch, J. Gozdz, C. Igartua, V. Pivniouk, S. E. Murray, J. G. Ledford, M. Marques do Santos, R. L. Anderson, N. Metwali, et al., "Innate Immunity and Asthma Risk in Amish and Hutterite Farm Children.", N Engl J Med, vol. 375, issue 5, pp. 411-21, 2016 Aug 4. PMID: 27518660
Xu, H., T. Radabaugh, Z. Lu, M. Galligan, D. Billheimer, D. Vercelli, A. L. Wright, T. J. Monks, M. Halonen, and S. S. Lau, "Exploration of Early-Life Candidate Biomarkers for Childhood Asthma Using Antibody Arrays.", Pediatr Allergy Immunol, vol. 27, pp. 696-701, 2016 Jul 19. PMID: 27434124
Gozdz, J., M. Holbreich, N. Metwali, P. S. Thorne, A. I. Sperling, F. D. Martinez, C. Ober, E. von Mutius, and D. Vercelli, "Amish and Hutterite Environmental Farm Products Have Opposite Effects on Experimental Models of Asthma.", Ann Am Thorac Soc, vol. 13 Suppl 1, pp. S99, 2016 Mar. PMID: 27027969


Long, X., Q. Chen, J. Zhao, N. Rafaels, P. Mathias, H. Liang, J. Potee, M. Campbell, B. Zhang, L. Gao, et al., "An IL-13 promoter polymorphism associated with liver fibrosis in patients with Schistosoma japonicum.", PLoS One, vol. 10, issue 8, pp. e0135360, 2015. PMCID: PMC4530950  PMID: 26258681
Schaub, B., and D. Vercelli, "Environmental protection from allergic diseases: From humans to mice and back.", Curr Opin Immunol, vol. 36, pp. 88-93, 2015 Oct. PMID: 26210896


Martinez, F. D., and D. Vercelli, "Asthma.", Lancet, vol. 382, issue 9901, pp. 1360-72, 2013 Oct 19. PMID: 24041942


von Mutius, E., and D. Vercelli, "Farm living: effects on childhood asthma and allergy.", Nat Rev Immunol, vol. 10, issue 12, pp. 861-8, 2010 Dec. PMID: 21060319
Maier, R. M., M. W. Palmer, G. L. Andersen, M. J. Halonen, K. C. Josephson, R. S. Maier, F. D. Martinez, J. W. Neilson, D. A. Stern, D. Vercelli, et al., "Environmental determinants of and impact on childhood asthma by the bacterial community in household dust.", Appl Environ Microbiol, vol. 76, issue 8, pp. 2663-7, 2010 Apr. PMCID: PMC2849212  PMID: 20154107