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Michael Criscitiello

Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Research and Graduate Studies


Phone: (979) 845-4207

Mailstop: 4467

Department: VTPB

Photo of Criscitiello, Michael

Scholarly Interests

My Comparative Immunogenetics Laboratory studies immunology and evolution. Most of our research focuses on the early natural history of the vertebrate adaptive immune system, with particular attention given to the genetics of lymphocyte antigen receptors, mucosal immune mechanisms in the gut, antigen presentation and invertebrate innate immunogenomics. Our goals are bipartite, but related. Our first aim is to understand the evolution of our immune system: its genesis, subsequent natural history, and trajectory into the future. We pursue this using the comparative method focusing on evolutionarily strategic poikilothermic vertebrates (frog and shark) and economically important food species (shrimp, cattle and tuna). This work allows us to distinguish what aspects are phylogenetically fundamental in our own system and differentiate those that are merely accessory. Our second aim is to continue to discover and understand the many diverse tools less-studied organisms have evolved in their defensive batteries, which mouse and man often lack. These novel receptors, mechanisms, domains and tissue architectures will inform better vaccine development, biomedical engineering and clinical intervention for the better health of all animals.

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