Scientists Who Study Immune System Granted Tenure

Congratulations to two scientists at The Herbert Wertheim UF Scripps Institute for Biomedical Innovation & Technology who have earned promotion to associate professor with tenure: Matthew Pipkin, Ph.D., and Laura Solt, Ph.D., both in the department of immunology and microbiology.

The granting of tenure signifies that scientists have made a series of substantive and creative contributions to their field of study, and demonstrated a high likelihood of continued excellence and increasing research productivity.

The chair of the immunology and microbiology department, Professor Susana Valente, Ph.D., notes both Solt and Pipkin have developed rigorous, high-impact research programs that are internationally recognized. They have also shown themselves to be outstanding mentors and teachers.

Solt studies transcription factors that regulate genes that influence the immune system. As dysregulated immunity can lead to autoimmune diseases including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, Solt’s work could aid the effort to create new and better treatments for autoimmune conditions, and also improve vaccine efficacy.

Pipkin studies how the adaptive immune system’s T cells become specialized to enable them to defeat viral diseases and cancer. He also investigates how long-term immune memory is established to provide sustained protection. Dr. Pipkin’s work may enable T cells to be reprogrammed for use as medicines to eliminate tumors, treat infections and address autoimmunity.

“Dr. Solt has made, and I am certain will continue to make, important contributions to our understanding of pro-inflammatory functions of T cells, to the development of new treatments that can alleviate chronic inflammatory diseases, increasing the prominence of the entire institute,” Valente said. “Dr. Pipkin’s research has established multiple entirely new areas of investigation that have defined how CD4 and CD8 T cells differentiate during infection, and I am certain he will continue his trajectory of high-impact scientific achievement.”