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Kelly Stefano Cole

Kelly Stefano Cole

Kelly Stefano Cole
Center for Vaccine Research, Regional Biocontainment Laboratory
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA


Dr. Kelly Cole is an Associate Professor of Immunology and the Associate Director of the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Cole received her PhD in Immunology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1994. She initially came to the University of Pittsburgh as a postdoctoral associate and moved up the ranks to become Associate Professor. Her current research is in the development of animal models for evaluation of vaccines and therapeutics for emerging infections; these include the development of animal models to study vulnerable populations, and include her recent emphasis to develop and validate the pregnant ferret model to identify potential differences in pathogenicity and virulence associated with the increased morbidity and mortality observed with influenza infection of pregnant women. Dr. Cole’s primary responsibility as Associate Director of the RBL is to oversee the daily operations of the large multi-use, multi-pathogen, high-containment facility, and to facilitate projects for internal investigators and external research collaborations. Dr. Cole is nationally recognized for her research in the HIV/SIV vaccine and pathogenesis field for her work on understanding the role of humoral immune responses in experimental infection and vaccination. She has published more than 45 peer-reviewed articles, authored several book chapters, serves as a reviewer of many peer-reviewed journals and NIH ad-hoc study sections, and serves on several scientific committees. 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, the Vice-Chair, and in 2015 will become the Chair of the Institutional Biosafety Committee. She was intimately involved in the design, construction/ commissioning and operation of several BSL-3 laboratories, including the RBL, and has become a recognized national scientific expert in the design and operation of high containment laboratories. Dr. Cole has served on national committees to evaluate operational procedures for high containment laboratories, and is the Co-Chair of the NIH NBL/RBL Directors and Managers Committee as well as an instrumental leader of the Steering Committee for the NBL/RBL Facilities Network.

Research Interest

Emerging infectious diseases
Humoral immunity
Animal models