Justin E. Wilson, PhD

Assistant Professor, Immunobiology
Assistant Professor, Cancer Biology-GIDP
Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute

Justin Wilson obtained his PhD from Albany Medical College studying the impact of Francisella tularensis infection on macrophage antigen presentation and T cell responses in the laboratory of Jim R. Drake. He then joined the laboratory of Jenny P-Y Ting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where his research focused on the role of the innate immune genes AIM2 and NLRP12 during the regulation of inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer development. Dr. Wilson joined the department of Immunobiology as an Assistant Professor in June of 2018.

Research Interests: 

The innate immune system has a large repertoire of receptors/sensors that respond to microbial components and host “danger signals” in order to regulate inflammation and immune responses. The dysregulation of many of these sensors has been linked to chronic inflammatory disorders (e.g., inflammatory bowel diseases) and multiple types of cancer. My group’s research focuses on how the dynamic relationship between the intestinal microbiota and these innate immune sensors regulate the cell signaling events driving chronic inflammation and cancer development. We seek to treat these diseases through the manipulation of intestinal microbial ecology and redirection of immune activation.

  • BA: Castleton University
  • PhD: Albany Medical College
  • Post-doctoral Fellow: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Recent Publications


Truax, A. D., L. Chen, J. W. Tam, N. Cheng, H. Guo, A. A Koblansky, W-C. Chou, J. E. Wilson, J. W Brickey, A. Petrucelli, et al., "The Inhibitory Innate Immune Sensor NLRP12 Maintains a Threshold against Obesity by Regulating Gut Microbiota Homeostasis.", Cell Host Microbe, vol. 24, issue 3, pp. 364-378.e6, 2018 09 12. PMCID: PMC6161752  PMID: 30212649


Bruce, D. W., H. E. Stefanski, B. G. Vincent, T. A. Dant, S. Reisdorf, H. Bommiasamy, D. A. Serody, J. E. Wilson, K. P. McKinnon, W. D. Shlomchik, et al., "Type 2 innate lymphoid cells treat and prevent acute gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease.", J Clin Invest, vol. 127, issue 5, pp. 1813-1825, 2017 May 01. PMCID: PMC5409787  PMID: 28375154


Hirai-Yuki, A., L. Hensley, D. R. McGivern, O. González-López, A. Das, H. Feng, L. Sun, J. E. Wilson, F. Hu, Z. Feng, et al., "MAVS-dependent host species range and pathogenicity of human hepatitis A virus.", Science, vol. 353, issue 6307, pp. 1541-1545, 2016 09 30. PMCID: PMC5068972  PMID: 27633528
A Koblansky, A., A. D. Truax, R. Liu, S. A. Montgomery, S. Ding, J. E. Wilson, J. W Brickey, M. Mühlbauer, R-M. T. McFadden, P. Hu, et al., "The Innate Immune Receptor NLRX1 Functions as a Tumor Suppressor by Reducing Colon Tumorigenesis and Key Tumor-Promoting Signals.", Cell Rep, vol. 14, issue 11, pp. 2562-75, 2016 Mar 22. PMCID: PMC4853907  PMID: 26971998


Wilson, J. E., A. S. Petrucelli, L. Chen, A. A Koblansky, A. D. Truax, Y. Oyama, A. B. Rogers, J. W Brickey, Y. Wang, M. Schneider, et al., "Inflammasome-independent role of AIM2 in suppressing colon tumorigenesis via DNA-PK and Akt.", Nat Med, vol. 21, issue 8, pp. 906-13, 2015 Aug. PMCID: PMC4529369  PMID: 26107252


Wilson, J. E., B. Katkere, and J. R. Drake, "Francisella tularensis induces ubiquitin-dependent major histocompatibility complex class II degradation in activated macrophages.", Infect Immun, vol. 77, issue 11, pp. 4953-65, 2009 Nov. PMCID: PMC2772548  PMID: 19703975


Woolard, M. D., J. E. Wilson, L. L. Hensley, L. A. Jania, T. H. Kawula, J. R. Drake, and J. A. Frelinger, "Francisella tularensis-infected macrophages release prostaglandin E2 that blocks T cell proliferation and promotes a Th2-like response.", J Immunol, vol. 178, issue 4, pp. 2065-74, 2007 Feb 15. PMID: 17277110