Vaiva Vezys, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Vaiva Vezys

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-625-4650

Fax 612-625-2199

Lab Phone 612-625-5869

Office Address:
2-180 MBB
2101 6th Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Mailing Address:
Microbiology/Ctr for Immunolgy
2-180 WMBB
2101 6th St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

PhD, University of Connecticut, 2002



T cell responses in autoimmunity and chronic infections


Research Summary/Interests

T cell responses in autoimmunity and chronic infections

My laboratory studies CD8 and CD4 T cell responses to proteins, which are persistently present in an organism to elucidate how chronic interaction with cognate antigen impacts T cell selection, differentiation and survival. We observe and manipulate chronic pathogen or self-specific T cell responses over time by using MHC tetramers, adoptive transfer of transgenic T cells and fluorescence flow cytometry. We are currently interested in understanding what maintains the population of memory T cells specific for persistent pathogens, such as polyoma virus. In addition, we are interested in elucidating how tolerance is induced and maintained to intestinal protein, as breakdown of this can lead to diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. By understanding these processes, we can learn how to manipulate the immune system for eradication of persistent infections, as well as interfering with the development and progression of autoimmunity.


  • Vezys V, Yates A, Casey KA, Lanier G, Ahmed R, Antia R, Masopust D. 2009. Attrition of memory CD8 T cells reply. Nature. 459:E4-E4.
  • Vezys V, Yates A, Casey KA, Lanier G, Ahmed R, Antia R, Masopust D. 2009. Size of memory CD8 T cell compartment grows with immunological experience. Nature. 457:196-9.
  • Masopust D, Vezys V, Wherry EJ, Ahmed R. A Brief History of CD8 T Cells. 2007. Eur J Immunol. 1:S103-10.
  • Vezys V, Masopust D, Kemball C, Barber DL, Loomis J, Barber GN, Ahmed R, Pearson TC, Larsen CP, Lukacher AE. 2006. Continuous recruitment of naïve T cells contributes to heterogeneity of antiviral CD8 T cells during persistent infection. J Exp Med. 203: 2263-69.
  • Masopust D, Ha SJ, Vezys V, Ahmed R. 2006. Stimulation history dictates memory CD8 T cell phenotype: implications for prime-boost vaccination. J Immunol. 177:831-9
  • Masopust D, Vezys V, Wherry EJ, Barber DL, Ahmed R. 2006. Cutting Edge: gut microenvironment promotes differentiation of a unique memory CD8 T cell population. J Immunol. 176:2079-83.
  • Marzo, A.L., Vezys, V., Klonowski, K.D., Lee, S.-J., Muralimohan, G. Moore, M., Tough, D. and Lefrancois, L. 2004. Fully functional memory CD8 T cells in the absence of CD4 T cells. J Immunol 173: 969-975.
  • Masopust D, Vezys,V, Usherwood EJ, Cauley LS, Olson S, Marzo AL, Ward RL, Woodland DL, and Lefrancois L. 2004. Activated primary and memory CD8 T cells migrate to nonlymphoid tissues regardless of site of activation or tissue of origin. J Immunol. 172:4875-82.
  • Vezys, V. and Lefrancois, L. 2002. Cutting Edge: Inflammatory signals drive organ-specific autoimmunity to normally cross-tolerizing endogenous antigen. J Immunol 169: 6677-6680.
  • Masopust D, Vezys V, Marzo AL, Lefrancois L. 2001. Preferential localization of effector memory cells in nonlymphoid tissue. Science. 291:2413-7.
  • Vezys, V., Olson, S. and Lefrancois, L. 2000. Expression of intestine-specific antigen reveals novel pathways of CD8 T cell tolerance induction. Immunity 12: 505-514.