Other Resource

Immunobiology: Decoding Cellular Conversations

Mike Kuhns, a 2011 Pew scholar, aims to decode the “conversations” that take place between immune cells and other cells in the body as they work together to respond to infections, vaccines, and growing tumors. As an assistant professor of immunobiology at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine, his long-term research goal is to develop techniques that manipulate the molecular machinery of the immune system for a desired outcome—such as enhancing response to vaccines or developing therapies to fight tumors.

Quick Facts on Mike Kuhns:

  • Named a Pew scholar in 2011.
  • Studies the molecular mechanisms of the immune system involved in the communication between cells, and the roles they play in the midst of infections, after vaccines, and during tumor development.
  • Appointed assistant professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in 2010.
  • Conducted postdoctoral studies in immunology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University.
  • Earned a doctorate in molecular and cellular biology from the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Arizona.
  • Native of Prescott, AZ.

Related Resources:

Related Resources

New York Times: Science Tools Anyone Can Afford

Media Coverage
  • Apr 21, 2014
Manu Prakash has proposed the creation of a “frugal science.” More

NPR: 2009 Pew Scholar Reveals Neurological Basis of Our Response to Spicy Food

Media Coverage
  • Apr 17, 2014

Diana Bautista, a 2009 Pew scholar and assistant professor of molecular and cell biology at University of California, Berkeley, was featured in a segment of Morning Edition, explaining the vibrating sensation we experience when we eat Sichuan peppers. Her research on the nerve cells involved in the response to spicy food could unveil possible treatments for tingling and numbing paresthesia, or chronic “pins and needles.”


USA Today: Inexpensive, Ingenious Invention by 2013 Pew Scholar Could Save Lives

Media Coverage
2013 Pew scholar Manu Prakash, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, has developed an inexpensive tool to diagnose infections like malaria in developing countries. He is leveraging citizen science to test his origami-inspired paper microscope. More

WIRED: 2013 Pew Scholar Creates Chemistry Kit from a Music Box

Media Coverage
Manu Prakash, a 2013 Pew scholar, recently won an award for developing a chemistry kit, intended for children, that mixes chemicals together using the insides of a music box. Having also invented a foldable paper microscope, the Stanford University bioengineer is advancing access to science for non-scientists. More

Pew Latin American Fellows Advance Biomedical Science Around the World

  • Mar 31, 2014

Nobel laureate Torsten Wiesel helped establish the Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences, and is chair of the program’s national advisory committee. In this video, he discusses the program’s origins and successes over its first two decades.


ABC News: 2013 Pew Scholar Designs Powerful Microscope Costing Less Than $1

Media Coverage
  • Mar 24, 2014
An amazingly cheap and rugged microscope created in the lab of 2013 Pew Scholar Manu Prakash could greatly improve disease diagnosis in remote parts of the world. More

2008 Pew Scholar Wins Vilcek Prize in Biomedical Science

Media Coverage
  • Feb 5, 2014

In January, Antonio Giraldez, a 2008 Pew Scholar, was awarded the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science for his research on the role of microRNAs in the early developmental stages of vertebrates.


LiveScience: 2009 Pew Scholar Unlocking Causes of Chronic Itch

Media Coverage
  • Jan 28, 2014

The sensation of feeling itchy is pretty universal, and yet scientists still don't completely understand the complex processes that give us the urge to scratch.


2012 Biomedical Scholar Awarded Distinguished Government Honor

Media Coverage
  • Jan 23, 2014

Two BU researchers will travel to Washington, D.C., later this year to accept the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), one of the highest honors for young science and engineering professionals.


Nature: Charities: Profiting From Non-profits

Media Coverage
  • Jan 22, 2014
Nature magazine profiled seven scientists—including Anita Pepper, director of the Pew Programs in the Biomedical Sciences—who decided to apply their expertise to the nonprofit sector. Pepper, a geneticist by training, describes how she began working at Pew. More

Four Pew Scholars Win Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers

Other Resource
  • Dec 31, 2013
Four Pew biomedical scholars are among this year’s 102 recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, announced Dec. 23 by President Barack Obama. The award is considered the highest U.S. government honor bestowed on researchers in the beginning stages of their careers. More

The Recorder: 2013 Pew Scholar Making New Discoveries on Cancer Spread

Media Coverage
  • Dec 29, 2013

In October, 2013 Pew scholar Shelly Peyton won the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, a five-year, $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. With the funds, the assistant professor at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is focusing on cancer spread—and the possibility that some cancer treatments might speed up the process.


2013 Pew Scholar Creates One of ''The Best Scientific Visualizations of 2013''

Media Coverage
  • Dec 25, 2013

Wired magazine has compiled a list of the year’s best scientific visualizations—including an image by 2013 Pew scholar Viviana Gradinaru. In collaboration with other researchers at California Institute of Technology, the assistant professor created a technique to make fatty tissues translucent and color-coded for easier study.


1985 Pew Scholar Finds Gender Differences in Flu Susceptibility

Media Coverage
  • Dec 23, 2013

Mark Davis, a 1985 Pew scholar and director of Stanford University’s Institute for Immunity Transplantation and Infection, is featured in US News & World Report for his research on how men and women respond differently to influenza vaccines. His study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to demonstrate a correlation between testosterone levels, gene expression, and immune responsiveness in humans.


Health Canal: 2010 Pew Scholar Reveals Regional Differences in Parasite Strains

Media Coverage
  • Dec 20, 2013
Jeroen Saeij, a 2010 Pew scholar and the Robert A. Swanson Career Development Associate Professor of Life Sciences and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has discovered differences in the Toxoplasma gondii strains originating from South America, when compared to most of their North American and European counterparts. More