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Kelly Stefano Cole, PhD

Dr. Kelly Stefano Cole


Fax: 412-648-8917
9015 Biomedical Science Tower 3


PhD in Immunology, University of Pennsylvania

BS in Biology, Mount Saint Mary's College

Academic Affiliation(s)

Associate Director, Regional Biocontainment Laboratory

Associate Professor, Department of Immunology

Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Associate Professor, Graduate School of Public Health, Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology

Member, Molecular Virology and Microbiology Graduate Program

Member, Immunology Graduate Program

Areas of Interest

Emerging infectious diseases, humoral immunity, vaccines, animal models, biosecurity, biosafety


Dr. Cole’s research focuses on the development of animal models for evaluation of vaccines and therapeutics for emerging respiratory pathogens; these include the development of nontraditional models for influenza, with an emphasis on identifying potential differences in pathogenicity and virulence associated with morbidity and mortality associated with influenza infection during pregnancy. Her lab has also focused on understanding the role of humoral immune responses to HIV/SIV and emerging infections, and she is nationally recognized for research in the HIV/SIV vaccine and pathogenesis field for her work on understanding the maturation of antibody responses to HIV and SIV envelope proteins and its association with the development of protective immunity. These studies were extended into defining mechanisms of antibody-mediated neutralization and other functional antibody responses in the control of infection and disease progression, and more recently in evaluating the effects of acute and chronic SIV infection on the B cell compartment, with the goal of defining and characterizing specific B cell subsets that may be critical to the control of virus replication and protection against disease. Dr. Cole has also been instrumental in the biosafety community at the University of Pittsburgh, serving initially on the Biohazards Committee where she helped to develop institutional policy, and, for the last 10 years, serving both as a member and Vice-Chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee. Dr. Cole has been instrumental in the design, construction/ commissioning and operation of several BSL-3 laboratories, including the RBL, and has become a recognized scientific expert in the design and operation of Biocontainment laboratories.


Cole K. S, and Fisher D. J, eds. Management Principles for Building and Operating Biocontainment Facilities:  Ten Years of Planning and Management Lessons Learned.  2012; (in press).

Homer L. C, Hartman A. L, Heflin D. T, Trichel A. M, Reed D. S, Cole K. S. Enhancement of the mentored training program for investigative staff at the University of Pittsburgh Regional Biocontainment Laboratory. Applied Biosafety. 16: 231-239.

Homer L. C, Heflin D, Manning C. R, and Cole K. S. Engineering and work place practice controls for the use of anesthetic gases during BSL-3 rabbit studies. Applied Biosafety. 16: 167-176.

Reed D. S, Smith L, Dunsmore T, Trichel A, Ortiz L, Cole K. S, and Barry E. Pneumonic tularemia in rabbits resembles the human disease as illustrated by radiographic and hematological changes after infection. PLoS One. 6: e24654 |  View Abstract

Kuhrt D. M, Faith S. A, Leone A, Sodora D. L, Picker L. K, Borghesi L, and Cole K. S. Naive and memory B cells in the rhesus macaque can be differentiated by surface expression of CD27 and have differential responses to CD40 ligation. J Immunol Methods. 363: 166-176. |  View Abstract

Cole K. S, Fisher D. J, and Wesel L. Full Shutdown of Biocontainment Labs is Easier for Recertification: Tradeline Reports 2010; July 7.

Faith S. A, Wu Y, Kuhrt D. M, Steckbeck J. D, Craigo J. K, Clements J. E, Cole K. S. Induction of antibody-mediated neutralization in SIVmac239 by a naturally acquired V3 mutation. Virology. 400: 86-92. |  View Abstract