Yasmin Thanavala


About Yasmin Thanavala


Dr. Yasmin Thanavala joined the staff of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1985, as a Cancer Research Scientist in the Department of Immunology and she is currently Professor and Member in the same department.

Dr. Thanavala earned her doctorate degree in Immunology from the University of London, U.K. while working in the Department of Immunology at The Middlesex Hospital Medical School under the mentorship of Professor Ivan Roitt. Her studies were funded by a grant from the World Health Organization.

Dr. Thanavala’s lifelong interest in vaccine design and delivery began when she was a student. Her laboratory research program focuses on vaccines for pathogens and cancer and on the study of inflammatory triggers that may contribute to tumorigenesis particularly in the lung.

Dr. Thanavala has been issued a total of 7 patents. She is a former member of the NIH Immunological Sciences Study Section and a current member of NIH Study Section Tumor, Transplantation and Tolerance. She has served as an Ad Hoc Reviewer for Special Emphasis Panels, SBIR/STTR Study Sections, The March of Dimes, The Welcome Foundation, Internation Foundation for Science, Sweden and Bill and Melinda Gates Grand Challenges in Global Health.

She has received numerous awards including Gold Medal for Young Research Scientist in Reproductive Biology, Indian Council of Medical Research (1971), Eisenhower Medical Center, Distinguished Speaker Award (1989), Inventor of the Year Award (1996), FEZANA award for Excellence in Profession (1998), Governor’s (NY State) award for Excellence in Health Advocacy (1998) and Bharat Samman Award 2005.


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Professor of Oncology
  • Department of Immunology


Education and Training:

  • PhD - Immunology, University of London, U.K.

Professional Memberships:

  • NIH Study Section Tumor, Transplantation and Tolerance

Honors & Awards:

  • 1971 - Gold Medal for Young Research Scientist in Reproductive Biology, Indian Council of Medical Research
  • 1989 - Distinguished Speaker Award, Eisenhower Medical Center
  • 1996 - Inventor of the Year Award
  • 1998 - FEZANA award for Excellence in Profession
  • 1998 - MY State Governor’s award for Excellence in Health Advocacy
  • 2005 - Bharat Samman Award


Research Overview:

  • Vaccine formulations and vaccine delivery: Oral vaccines, Nanoparticle based vaccines.
  • Study of innate (macrophages, dendritic cells and myeloid derived suppressors) and adaptive immune responses (T cells, T reg cells) in the lung; role of chronic inflammation in mediating tumor development/ progression.

Featured on Cancer Talk


Full Publications list on PubMed
  • Lugade AA, Kalathil S, Heald JL, Thanavala Y. Transgenic plant-based oral vaccines. Immunological investigations 2010; 39(4-5):468-482
  • Nasirikenari M, Chandrasekaran EV, Matta KL, Segal BH, Bogner PN, Lugade AA, Thanavala Y, Lee JJ, Lau JTY. Altered eosinophil profile in mice with ST6Gal-1 deficiency: an additional role for ST6Gal-1 generated by the P1 promoter in regulating allergic inflammation. Journal of leukocyte biology 2010; 87(3):457-466
  • Thanavala Y, Lugade AA. Oral transgenic plant-based vaccine for hepatitis B.Immunologic research 2010; 46(1-3):4-11
  • Iyer R, Fetterly G, Lugade A, Thanavala Y. Sorafenib: a clinical and pharmacologic review. Expert opinion on pharmacotherapy 2010; 11(11):1943-1955
  • Lavelle EC, Thanavala Y, Ogra P. Mucosal immunity on the banks of the Duoro. Human vaccines 2009; 5(5):281-283
  • Thanavala Y. In vitro up-regulation of expression of GITR on human CD8+ cells. Indian journal of human genetics 2009; 15(2):47-48
  • Thanavala Y, Lavelle E, Ogra P. All things mucosal. Expert review of vaccines 2009; 8(2):139-142
  • Lugade AA, Bianchi-Smiraglia A, Pradhan V, Elkin G, Murphy TF, Thanavala Y.Lipid Motif of a Bacterial Antigen Mediates Immune Responses via TLR2 Signaling. PloS one 2011; 6(5):e19781
  • Bharali DJ, Pradhan V, Elkin G, Qi W, Hutson A, Mousa SA, Thanavala Y. Novel nanoparticles for the delivery of recombinant hepatitis B vaccine. Nanomedicine: nanotechnology, biology, and medicine 2008; 4(4):311-317
  • Huang Z, LePore K, Elkin G, Thanavala Y, Mason HS. High-yield rapid production of hepatitis B surface antigen in plant leaf by a viral expression system. Plant biotechnology journal 2008; 6(2):202-209
  • Bharali DJ, Mousa SA, Thanavala Y. Micro- and nanoparticle-based vaccines for hepatitis B. Advances in experimental medicine and biology 2007; 601:415-421
  • Lugade AA, Vethanayagam RR, Nasirikenari M, Bogner PN, Segal BH, Thanavala Y. Nrf2 regulates chronic lung inflammation and B-cell responses to nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae. American journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology 2011; 45(3):557-565
  • Thanavala Y, Lugade AA. Role of nontypeable haemophilus influenzae in otitis media and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Advances in oto-rhino-laryngology 2011; 72 :170-175
  • Lugade AA, Bogner PN, Thanavala Y. Murine model of chronic respiratory inflammation. Advances in experimental medicine and biology 2011; 780 :125-141
  • Jones MB, Nasirikenari M, Lugade AA, Thanavala Y, Lau JTY. Anti-inflammatory IgG production requires functional P1 promoter in β-galactoside α2,6-sialyltransferase 1 (ST6Gal-1) gene. Journal of biological chemistry 2012; 287(19):15365-15370