Denise Faustman

Denise Faustman

Denise L. Faustman, MD, PhD, is Director of the Immunobiology Laboratory at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She has worked in the field of autoimmunity for nearly two decades. In 2001, the Faustman Lab reversed type 1 diabetes in mice with end-stage disease, a project that is now in human clinical trials. Dr. Faustman’s current research is focused on uncovering new treatments for type 1 diabetes, as well as searching for therapies for other autoimmune diseases, including Crohn's disease, lupus, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren's syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. Dr. Faustman’s earlier research achievements include key discoveries regarding the role of MHC Class I antigen presentation in immunity and introducing the concept of modifying antigens on donor tissues to prevent their rejection. After completing her internship, residency, and fellowships in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology at the MGH, Dr. Faustman became an independent investigator at the MGH and Harvard Medical School in 1987. She is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and serves as a frequent member of the Institute of Medicine in Washington, DC. Dr. Faustman's honors in recent years include: ~2003: National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine, "Changing the Face of Medicine" award - one of 300 American physicians honored for achievement in medicine, past and present ~2005: Oprah Achievement Award," Top Health Breakthrough by a Female Scientist" ~2006: The American Medical Women's Association and Wyeth Pharmaceutical Company “Women in Science Award,” given to a female physician who has made exceptional contributions to medical science through basic science publications and leadership in the field ~2011: The Goldman Philanthropic Partnerships/Partnership for Cures “2011 George and Judith Goldman Angel Award” for research to find an effective treatment for type 1 diabetes Dr. Faustman is credited with the discovery of the role of CD8 T cells in type 1 diabetes, the discovery that HLA class I was an educational structure interrupted in self antigen presentation in autoimmunity, the discovery of first interruptions in the TNF and NFkB signaling pathway in autoimmunity in this case in the proteasome, the discovery that even end stage autoimmunity could be reversed in mice by the addition of TNF or TNF induction with BCG, the discovery of end organ pancreas regeneration in diseased animal models after BCG and more recently the discovery of functioning islet cells in the pancreas of the majority of human diabetics, decades after disease onset.

Affiliations and Expertise

Director of the Immunobiology Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, USA