Michael Dee Gunn, MD

Professor of Medicine
Professor in Immunology
Associate Professor in Pathology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Campus mail CARL Building Room 180B, Durham, NC 27703
Phone (919) 681-0840
Email address michael.gunn@duke.edu

The focus of my work is on understanding how dendritic cells, monocytes, and macrophages regulate immune responses, contribute to specific disease pathologies, and can be manipulated to stimulate or inhibit specific immune responses. We are also using our knowledge of immunology to develop diagnostics and therapeutics for a variety of human diseases. 

Lab History 

The lab started with our discovery of the lymphoid chemokines, which regulate the migration of lymphocytes and dendritic cells to and within secondary lymphoid organs.  We identified the chemokine (CCL21) that mediates the entry of naïve T cells and activated dendritic cells into lymph nodes and the chemokine (CXCL13) that mediates the entry of B cells into lymphoid follicles.  Our focus then shifted to understanding how specific cell types, primarily dendritic cells, and cell migration events regulate immune responses.  We identified murine plasmacytoid dendritic cells; the cell type that causes pulmonary immune pathology during influenza infection; the dendritic cell type that stimulates Th1 immune responses; the cell type that induces neuronal injury in Alzheimer's disease, and the macrophage type that stimulates pulmonary hypertension.  Our current work continues these basic studies while applying our findings to models of human disease. 

Current Research 

Tumor immune therapeutics – We have developed a novel cellular vaccine strategy for the treatment of cancer.  This strategy is much simpler, more cost effective, more clinically feasible, and much more efficacious than classic dendritic cell vaccines.  We are now determining the mechanisms by which this vaccine induces such potent immune responses and advancing it to initial human clinical trials.

Development of recombinant antibodies as diagnostic reagents – Our lab has developed novel methods to generate recombinant single chain antibodies using phage display technology.  We are currently using these methods to generate pathogen-specific antibodies for use in diagnostic tests for a variety of human bacterial, viral, and fungal infections.  In collaboration with Duke Biomedical Engineering, we are deploying our antibodies in a novel diagnostic assay platform to develop point-of-care assays for the diagnosis of a variety of emerging pathogens.  Our recently developed point-of-care assay for Ebola virus displays a sensitivity superior to PCR at a fraction of the per assay cost.

Education and Training

  • Fellowship in Cardiology, Cardiology, University of California - San Francisco, 0018
  • Internship and Residency, Internal Medicine, Parkland Health & Hospital System, 0018
  • M.D., UT Southwestern Medical School, 1983


Tomaszewski, W. H., J. Waibl-Polania, A. M. Miggelbrink, M. A. Chakraborty, P. E. Fecci, J. H. Sampson, and M. D. Gunn. “Broad immunophenotyping of the murine brain tumor microenvironment.” J Immunol Methods 499 (December 2021): 113158. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jim.2021.113158.

Full Text

Chakraborty, Molly Antara, William H. Tomaszewski, Jessica Waibl Polania, Luigi Racioppi, Luis A. Sanchez-Perez, Michael D. Gunn, and John H. Sampson. “CaMKK2 deletion causes increased accumulation of CD4+TILs and an improved ratio of effector memory TILs to Tregs.” In Journal of Immunology, Vol. 206, 2021.


Perera, Jonathan J., William H. Tomaszewski, Jessica Waibl Polania, Luigi Racioppi, Luis A. Sanchez-Perez, Michael D. Gunn, and John H. Sampson. “CaMKK2 deletion increases antitumor potential through enhanced MHC-II expression in Macrophages.” In Journal of Immunology, Vol. 206, 2021.


Fontes, Cassio M., Barbara D. Lipes, Jason Liu, Krystle N. Agans, Aiwei Yan, Patricia Shi, Daniela F. Cruz, et al. “Ultrasensitive point-of-care immunoassay for secreted glycoprotein detects Ebola infection earlier than PCR.” Sci Transl Med 13, no. 588 (April 7, 2021). https://doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abd9696.

Full Text

Huang, Hsin-I, Mark L. Jewell, Nourhan Youssef, Min-Nung Huang, Elizabeth R. Hauser, Brian E. Fee, Nathan P. Rudemiller, et al. “Th17 Immunity in the Colon Is Controlled by Two Novel Subsets of Colon-Specific Mononuclear Phagocytes.” In Front Immunol, 12:661290, 2021. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2021.661290.

Full Text

Yu, Yen-Rei A., Yuryi Malakhau, Chen-Hsin A. Yu, Stefan-Laural J. Phelan, R Ian Cumming, Matthew J. Kan, Lan Mao, Sudarshan Rajagopal, Claude A. Piantadosi, and Michael D. Gunn. “Nonclassical Monocytes Sense Hypoxia, Regulate Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling, and Promote Pulmonary Hypertension.” J Immunol 204, no. 6 (March 15, 2020): 1474–85. https://doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1900239.

Full Text

Huang, Min-Nung, Lowell T. Nicholson, Kristen A. Batich, Adam M. Swartz, David Kopin, Sebastian Wellford, Vijay K. Prabhakar, et al. “Antigen-loaded monocyte administration induces potent therapeutic antitumor T cell responses.” J Clin Invest 130, no. 2 (February 3, 2020): 774–88. https://doi.org/10.1172/JCI128267.

Full Text

Ren, Jiafa, Jiandong Zhang, Nathan P. Rudemiller, Robert Griffiths, Yi Wen, Xiaohan Lu, Jamie R. Privratsky, Michael D. Gunn, and Steven D. Crowley. “Twist1 in Infiltrating Macrophages Attenuates Kidney Fibrosis via Matrix Metallopeptidase 13-Mediated Matrix Degradation.” J Am Soc Nephrol 30, no. 9 (September 2019): 1674–85. https://doi.org/10.1681/ASN.2018121253.

Full Text