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Thorsten Demberg, Ph.D.

Vaccine Branch
Immune Biology of Retroviral Infection Section
Staff Scientist
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 41, Room D310
41 Center Drive, MSC 5065
Bethesda, MD 20892


Dr. Demberg received his Ph.D. in biology from Georg-August-University, Goettingen, Germany, in 2003. He joined the NCI Vaccine Branch in 2004 as a postdoctoral fellow with a strong background in immunology. Following a research fellow appointment, he was promoted to staff scientist in 2012. His work has focused on the development of replicating adenovirus vector prime/protein boost vaccines in the non-human primate model of HIV infection.


Current vaccine strategies are focused on elicitation of strong mucosal and systemic immune responses. Although both innate and adaptive immune responses are believed necessary for a vaccine to be effective, current research is focused on adaptive immune responses by T- and B-cells. With the laboratory's strong background in functional non-neutralizing antibody activities, Dr. Demberg's research complements these investigations by defining B-cell phenotypes, identifying vaccine specific B-cell responses, and elucidating B-cell development in the non-human primate model. In particular, the role of memory B-cells in response to vaccination and their further maturation to long-lived antibody secreting cells (plasma cells) is under investigation.

Another research interest is the "cross-talk" between cells of the innate immune system and T-cells involving "danger signals" as well as co-stimulatory signals to B-cells. Although signals from cells of the innate immune system (e.g., dendritic cells) and T-cells towards B-cells have been well studied, feedback in the form of cytokines/chemokines produced by B-cells, and the up-regulation of regulatory receptors by B-cells have not. Dr. Demberg is investigating ex-vivo B-cell responses during vaccination and the skewing of signals during viral infection.

This page was last updated on 3/31/2014.