Dr. JoAnne Flynn is an international expert in the field of tuberculosis and infectious disease immunology. Studying tuberculosis for almost 35 years, Dr. Flynn has made prominent discoveries on the immune response against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. She also has developed an array of technologies to investigate tuberculosis in nonhuman primate models, including PET-CT imaging and immunologic and microbiologic techniques.
Dr. Flynn has published extensively on the biology and immunopathogenesis of infectious microbes. Her work was featured by various news media outlets, including The New York Times and Medical News Today.
In a study published in Nature magazine in 2020, Dr. Flynn and colleagues were the first to demonstrate that vaccinating rhesus macaque monkeys intravenously with a Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) injection could provide sterilizing immunity against infection and disease. Her work on adaptive immune response against Mycobacterium tuberculosis published in Cell Reports uncovered that the adaptive response against the bacteria matures over time and provides an insight on how the BCG injection could speed up immune cell responses in the lungs to rid the body of infection..
Dr. Flynn is a longtime member of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research and UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Immunology Program, and holds secondary appointments in the Department of Immunology and Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. In the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics (MMG), she had served as interim chair for several months prior to being appointed to serve as the chair of the department.
She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and a Distinguished Fellow of the American Association of Immunologists. Flynn has won numerous awards, including the University of Pittsburgh Distinguished Mentor Award and Distinguished Research Award.
Dr. Flynn joined the University of Pittsburgh in 1994 as an assistant professor of molecular genetics and biochemistry. Prior to Pitt, she trained as a research associate at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the laboratory of Barry Bloom, PhD, a global health pioneer in the study of tuberculosis immunology and pathogenesis. Flynn earned her PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, Berkeley and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology at The Scripps Research Institute.