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Michael Criscitiello

Associate Professor and Associate Department Head for Research and Graduate Studies

Curriculum Vitae

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Phone: (979) 845-4207

Mailstop: 4467

Department: VTPB

Photo of Criscitiello, Michael


  • Ph.D. Microbiology and Immunology, University of Miami 2003
  • M.S. Molecular Biology, East Carolina University 1997
  • B.S. Biology, University of North Carolina 1993

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.


Novel transcriptome assembly and improved annotation of the whiteleg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), a dominant crustacean in global seafood mariculture.
Ghaffari N, Sanchez-Flores A, Doan R, Garcia-Orozco KD, Chen PL, Ochoa-Leyva A, Lopez-Zavala AA, Carrasco JS, Hong C, Brieba LG, Rudiño-Piñera E, Blood PD, Sawyer JE, Johnson CD, Dindot SV, Sotelo-Mundo RR, Criscitiello MF.
Sci Rep. 2014 Nov; 4:7081.
PMID: 25420880 [PubMed - in process]
What the shark immune system can and cannot provide for the expanding design landscape of immunotherapy.
Criscitiello MF.
Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2014 Jul; 9(7):725-39.
PMID: 24836096 [PubMed - in process]
Expressed IgH µ and t transcripts share diversity segment in ranched Thunnus orientalis.
Mashoof S, Pohlenz C, Chen PL, Deiss TC, Gatlin D 3rd, Buentello A, Criscitiello MF.
Dev Comp Immunol. 2014 Mar; 43(1):76-86.
PMID: 24231183 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Engineered nanoparticles induce DNA damage in primary human skin cells, even at low doses
Romoser, A.A., M.F. Criscitiello, and C.S. Sayes..
NanoLIFE . 2014 ; 4(1):14401.1-13.
Crystal structure of shrimp arginine kinase in binary complex with arginine-a molecular view of the phosphagen precursor binding to the enzyme.
López-Zavala AA, García-Orozco KD, Carrasco-Miranda JS, Sugich-Miranda R, Velázquez-Contreras EF, Criscitiello MF, Brieba LG, Rudiño-Piñera E, Sotelo-Mundo RR.
J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2013 Dec; 45(6):511-8.
PMID: 23873077 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Tripping on acid: trans-kingdom perspectives on biological acids in immunity and pathogenesis.
Criscitiello MF, Dickman MB, Samuel JE, de Figueiredo P.
PLoS Pathog. 2013 ; 9(7):e1003402.
PMID: 23874196 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Reshaping antibody diversity.
Wang F, Ekiert DC, Ahmad I, Yu W, Zhang Y, Bazirgan O, Torkamani A, Raudsepp T, Mwangi W, Criscitiello MF, Wilson IA, Schultz PG, Smider VV.
Cell. 2013 Jun; 153(6):1379-93.
PMID: 23746848 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Ancient T-independence of mucosal IgX/A: gut microbiota unaffected by larval thymectomy in Xenopus laevis.
Mashoof S, Goodroe A, Du CC, Eubanks JO, Jacobs N, Steiner JM, Tizard I, Suchodolski JS, Criscitiello MF.
Mucosal Immunol. 2013 Mar; 6(2):358-68.
PMID: 22929561 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Evolution of the S100 family of calcium sensor proteins.
Zimmer DB, Eubanks JO, Ramakrishnan D, Criscitiello MF.
Cell Calcium. 2013 Mar; 53(3):170-9.
PMID: 23246155 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Fifty shades of immune defense.
Criscitiello MF, de Figueiredo P.
PLoS Pathog. 2013 Feb; 9(2):e1003110.
PMID: 23408882 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Synergies between vaccination and dietary arginine and glutamine supplementation improve the immune response of channel catfish against Edwardsiella ictaluri.
Pohlenz C, Buentello A, Criscitiello MF, Mwangi W, Smith R, Gatlin DM 3rd.
Fish Shellfish Immunol. 2012 Sep; 33(3):543-51.
PMID: 22728565 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Evolution of the B7 family: co-evolution of B7H6 and NKp30, identification of a new B7 family member, B7H7, and of B7's historical relationship with the MHC.
Flajnik MF, Tlapakova T, Criscitiello MF, Krylov V, Ohta Y.
Immunogenetics. 2012 Aug; 64(8):571-90.
PMID: 22488247 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Distinct immunomodulatory effects of a panel of nanomaterials in human dermal fibroblasts.
Romoser AA, Figueroa DE, Sooresh A, Scribner K, Chen PL, Porter W, Criscitiello MF, Sayes CM.
Toxicol Lett. 2012 May; 210(3):293-301.
PMID: 22342292 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Oral immunization of the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) upregulates the mucosal immunoglobulin IgX.
Du CC, Mashoof SM, Criscitiello MF.
Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2012 Jan; 145(1-2):493-8.
PMID: 22100190 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Shark class II invariant chain reveals ancient conserved relationships with cathepsins and MHC class II.
Criscitiello MF, Ohta Y, Graham MD, Eubanks JO, Chen PL, Flajnik MF.
Dev Comp Immunol. 2012 Mar; 36(3):521-33.
PMID: 21996610 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Expression of the inflammatory chemokines CCL2, CCL5 and CXCL2 and the receptors CCR1-3 and CXCR2 in T lymphocytes from mammary tumor-bearing mice.
Owen JL, Criscitiello MF, Libreros S, Garcia-Areas R, Guthrie K, Torroella-Kouri M, Iragavarapu-Charyulu V.
Cell Immunol. 2011 ; 270(2):172-82.
PMID: 21621198 [PubMed - in process]
Quantum dots trigger immunomodulation of the NF?B pathway in human skin cells.
Romoser AA, Chen PL, Berg JM, Seabury C, Ivanov I, Criscitiello MF, Sayes CM.
Mol Immunol. 2011 Jul; 48(12-13):1349-59.
PMID: 21481475 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Emergence of the acute-phase protein hemopexin in jawed vertebrates.
Dooley H, Buckingham EB, Criscitiello MF, Flajnik MF.
Mol Immunol. 2010 Nov; 48(1-3):147-52.
PMID: 20884052 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Evolutionarily conserved TCR binding sites, identification of T cells in primary lymphoid tissues, and surprising trans-rearrangements in nurse shark.
Criscitiello MF, Ohta Y, Saltis M, McKinney EC, Flajnik MF.
J Immunol. 2010 Jun; 184(12):6950-60.
PMID: 20488795 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
The dynamic TCRd: TCRd chains in the amphibian Xenopus tropicalis utilize antibody-like V genes.
Parra ZE, Ohta Y, Criscitiello MF, Flajnik MF, Miller RD.
Eur J Immunol. 2010 Aug; 40(8):2319-29.
PMID: 20486124 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Evolutionarily conserved and divergent regions of the autoimmune regulator (Aire) gene: a comparative analysis.
Saltis M, Criscitiello MF, Ohta Y, Keefe M, Trede NS, Goitsuka R, Flajnik MF.
Immunogenetics. 2008 Feb; 60(2):105-14.
PMID: 18214467 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Four primordial immunoglobulin light chain isotypes, including lambda and kappa, identified in the most primitive living jawed vertebrates.
Criscitiello MF, Flajnik MF.
Eur J Immunol. 2007 Oct; 37(10):2683-94.
PMID: 17899545 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Diverse immunoglobulin light chain organizations in fish retain potential to revise B cell receptor specificities.
Hsu E, Criscitiello MF.
J Immunol. 2006 Aug; 177(4):2452-62.
PMID: 16888007 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
An evolutionarily mobile antigen receptor variable region gene: doubly rearranging NAR-TcR genes in sharks.
Criscitiello MF, Saltis M, Flajnik MF.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Mar; 103(13):5036-41.
PMID: 16549799 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Allelic polymorphism of TCRalpha chain constant domain genes in the bicolor damselfish.
Criscitiello MF, Kamper SM, McKinney EC.
Dev Comp Immunol. 2004 Jun; 28(7-8):781-92.
PMID: 15043946 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Allelic polymorphism of T-cell receptor constant domains is widespread in fishes.
Criscitiello MF, Wermenstam NE, Pilström L, McKinney EC.
Immunogenetics. 2004 Mar; 55(12):818-24.
PMID: 14985877 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Proteasome, transporter associated with antigen processing, and class I genes in the nurse shark Ginglymostoma cirratum: evidence for a stable class I region and MHC haplotype lineages.
Ohta Y, McKinney EC, Criscitiello MF, Flajnik MF.
J Immunol. 2002 Jan; 168(2):771-81.
PMID: 11777971 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Beta 2-microglobulin of ictalurid catfishes.
Criscitiello MF, Benedetto R, Antao A, Wilson MR, Chinchar VG, Miller NW, Clem LW, McConnell TJ.
Immunogenetics. 1998 Oct; 48(5):339-43.
PMID: 9745011 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
CCAAT box binding protein NF-Y facilitates in vivo recruitment of upstream DNA binding transcription factors.
Wright KL, Vilen BJ, Itoh-Lindstrom Y, Moore TL, Li G, Criscitiello M, Cogswell P, Clarke JB, Ting JP.
EMBO J. 1994 Sep; 13(17):4042-53.
PMID: 8076600 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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