Human Oncology & Pathogenesis Program

The Gabrielle Rizzuto Lab


Gabrielle Rizzuto
Gabrielle Rizzuto, MD, PhD

The Gabrielle Rizzuto lab investigates a long-standing question in immunology: what prevents maternal immune rejection of the placenta and fetus?

The immune system must be able to discriminate self from non-self. Pregnancy is a beautiful exception to the paradigm that non-self is immunogenic, since the maternal immune system does not reject the placenta and fetus. The placenta is the incredible organ that grows and invades into the maternal uterus to foster nutrient and gas exchange to the developing fetus. The maternal immune system is directly exposed to placental cells and their non-self proteins.

Our research is focused on figuring out the cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie maternal immune tolerance of fetal and placenta proteins. Like the placenta, tumor cells also escape immune rejection despite tumor cell expression of altered-self proteins. Discovering mechanisms of fetomaternal tolerance will therefore provide a window for identifying innovative ways to make the immune system respond to tumors.

Research Projects

Rizzuto lab working model

Publications Highlights

Rizzuto G, Brooks JF, Tuomivaara ST, McIntyre TI, Ma S, Rideaux D, Zikherman J, Fisher SJ, Erlebacher A. Establishment of fetomaternal tolerance through glycan-mediated B cell suppression. Nature. 2022 603: 497-502. PMCID: PMC9592526.

Rizzuto G, Erlebacher A. Trophoblast antigens, fetal blood cell antigens, and the paradox of fetomaternal tolerance. J Exp Med. 2022 219(5): e20211515. PMCID: PMC9011327.

Greenbaum S*, Averbukh I*, Soon E*, Rizzuto G, Baranski A, Greenwald NF, Kagel A, Bosse M, Jaswa EG, Zhair Z, Kwok S, Warshawsky S, Piyadasa H, Goldston M, Spence A, Miller G, Schwartz M, Graf W, Van Valen D, Winn VD, Hollmann T, Keren L, van de Rijn M, Angelo M. A spatially resolved timeline of the human maternal-fetal interface. Nature. 2023. 619: 595-605. PMCID: PMC10356615.

Ategeka J, Wasswa R, Olwoch P, Kakuru A, Natureeba P, Muehlenbachs A, Kamya MR, Dorsey G, Rizzuto G. The prevalence of histologic acute chorioamnionitis among HIV infected pregnant women in Uganda and its association with adverse birth outcomes. PLoS One. 2019 14(4): e0215058. PMCID: PMC6459589.

Rizzuto GA, Tagliani E, Manandhar P, Erlebacher A, Bakardjiev AI. Limited colonization undermined by inadequate early immune responses define the dynamics of decidual listeriosis. Infect. Immun. 2017 85(8): e00153-17. PMCID: PMC5520438.

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Gabrielle Rizzuto

Gabrielle Rizzuto, MD, PhD

  • The Gabrielle Rizzuto lab investigates a long-standing question in immunology: what prevents maternal immune rejection of the placenta and fetus?
  • MD, Weill Cornell Medical College
  • PhD, Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences
[email protected]
Email Address


Natalie Benjamin

Laboratory Admin

Natalia Fuentes

Research Technician

Lab Alumni
Jeremy Brooks

Research Associate

Elijah Marbuary

Research Technician

Lab Affiliations

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Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.

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Gabrielle Rizzuto discloses the following relationships and financial interests:

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