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



Gabrielle Rizzuto

Gabrielle Rizzuto, MD, PhD

  • The Rizzuto lab studies how the placenta and fetus evade the maternal immune system ("fetomaternal tolerance") in order to better understand how cancer cells evade the host immune system.


Natalie Benjamin

Lab Administrative Assistant

Elijah Marbuary

Research Technician

Lab Affiliations

Open Positions

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