Sergio A. Lira

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Sérgio A. Lira, M.D., PhD.
Fields Immunology
Institutions Mount Sinai Medical Center
Alma mater Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil
University of California, San Diego

Sérgio A. Lira, M.D., PhD., is a Brazilian-born American immunologist who pioneered the use of genetic approaches to study the function of chemokines.[1] His early studies were the first to show that chemokines played a major role on leukocyte trafficking to the brain, the lung and the thymus.[2]

Lira is currently the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Professor of Immunology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and previous co-director/director of the Immunology Institute at the Mount Sinai Medical Center (2007-2013 as co-director and 2013-2016 director), both in New York City.[3] He is the author of more than 120 published articles.


Lira earned an M.D. from Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, in Recife, Brazil, in 1982 and a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology from the University of California, San Diego, in 1988.[4] He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Department of Cell and Development Biology at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology, New Jersey, in 1992. From 1992-1996, he was at Bristol-Myers-Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute as Head of the Transgenic Unit.[5] He served as Director, Department of Immunology, at the Schering-Plough Research Institute between 1996-2002. He joined the Mount Sinai Medical Center in 2002 as the Irene Diamond Associate Professor of Immunology.[3]

Lira organized the 2003 Keystone Symposium on Chemokines and the 2006 Gordon Research Conference on Chemotactic Cytokines.[4] He was elected to the Henry Kunkel Society in 2006 and to the Association of American Physicians in 2008.[3] He received the Inventor’s Award (in 2000) and the Impact Award (in 1998) from the Schering-Plough Research Institute.[3]

Areas of research[edit]

Lira’s lab pioneered the use of genetic approaches to study the function of chemokines during homeostasis and disease conditions.[1] Other contributions include studies on the mechanisms of lymphoid neogenesis and on the biological function of molecules encoded by viruses that mimic chemokines, including the discovery that the chemokine receptor encoded by herpesvirus 8 is an oncogene, a discovery that led to important insights into the mechanisms leading to the development of Kaposi’s sarcoma.[6] Lira’s lab has also made important contributions to the study of IL-23, a cytokine that affects development of inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.[7]

Honors and awards[edit]

  • Max Planck Gesellschaft (Germany) - Student Fellowship. February 1980 - June 1980.
  • International Endocrine Society - Travel Award. International Congress of Endocrinology, Kyoto, Japan. 1988.
  • President's Award - Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. 1995
  • Impact Award - Schering-Plough Research Institute. 1998
  • Inventor’s Award - Schering-Plough Research Institute. 2000
  • Irene Diamond Associate Professorship in Immunology Award – July 2002.
  • Elected to the Henry Kunkel Society – May 2006
  • Elected to the Association of American Physicians – April 2008


Partial list:


  1. ^ a b Reboldi A, Coisne C, Baumjohann D, Benvenuto F, Bottinelli D, Lira S, Uccelli A, Lanzavecchia A, Engelhardt B, Sallusto F; Coisne; Baumjohann; Benvenuto; Bottinelli; Lira; Uccelli; Lanzavecchia; Engelhardt; Sallusto (May 2009). "C-C chemokine receptor 6-regulated entry of TH-17 cells into the CNS through the choroid plexus is required for the initiation of EAE". Nat. Immunol. 10 (5): 514–23. PMID 19305396. doi:10.1038/ni.1716. 
  2. ^ "Wiley::Chemokine Receptors as Drug Targets". Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Mount Sinai School of Medicine - Faculty profile". Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Gerd Folkers; Martine J. Smit; Sergio A. Lira; Leurs, Rob; Raimund Mannhold; Hugo Kubinyi (2010). Chemokine Receptors as Drug Targets (Methods and Principles in Medicinal Chemistry). Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. ISBN 3-527-32118-7. 
  5. ^ Sánchez MP, Silos-Santiago I, Frisén J, He B, Lira SA, Barbacid M; Silos-Santiago; Frisén; He; Lira; Barbacid (July 1996). "Renal agenesis and the absence of enteric neurons in mice lacking GDNF". Nature. 382 (6586): 70–3. PMID 8657306. doi:10.1038/382070a0. 
  6. ^ "Journal of Clinical Investigation". Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  7. ^ Cua DJ, Sherlock J, Chen Y, Murphy CA, Joyce B, Seymour B, Lucian L, To W, Kwan S, Churakova T, Zurawski S, Wiekowski M, Lira SA, Gorman D, Kastelein RA, Sedgwick JD; Sherlock; Chen; Murphy; Joyce; Seymour; Lucian; To; Kwan; Churakova; Zurawski; Wiekowski; Lira; Gorman; Kastelein; Sedgwick (February 2003). "Interleukin-23 rather than interleukin-12 is the critical cytokine for autoimmune inflammation of the brain". Nature. 421 (6924): 744–8. PMID 12610626. doi:10.1038/nature01355. 

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