William Burlingham, PhD

Portrait of William Burlingham, PhD
G4/702 CSC-7375
600 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53792
(608) 263-0119
Focus Groups: 
PhD, Biology, Syracuse University
Research Summary: 
Acquired immunologic tolerance; graft acceptance through the study of transplant recipients who have survived even though they have stopped taking immunosuppressive drugs; Th17 and Treg development
Research Detail: 

Dr. Burlingham has developed a highly respected transplant basic research program that focuses on acquired immunologic tolerance. His laboratory hopes to gain insight into graft acceptance by studying transplant recipients who have survived even though they have stopped taking immunosuppressive drugs.

Specifically, his research focuses on the natural exchange of soluble antigens and low numbers of white blood cells that occurs between mother and child during pregnancy and nursing. The lab's working hypothesis is that this exchange, which leads to persistence of bone marrow-derived maternal blood cells within the offspring ("microchimerism") may induce a "natural" form of tolerance. This tolerance, if harnessed, may allow for drug-free acceptance of transplanted grafts.

New directions in the past 3 years include:

  1. identification of TH17 responses to collagen type V as a fundamental aspect of fibro-obliterative diseases such as atherosclerosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, as well as chronic rejection of lung and heart transplants[collaboration with David Wilkes, Indiana U.]
  2. [most recently] identification of prostate antigen-specific regulatory T cells in patients undergoing immunotherapy for prostate ca. [collaboration with Doug McNeel, UW-Madison].
Selected Publications: 
Burlingham, W.J., Love, R.B., Jankowska-Gan, E., Haynes, L.D., Xu, Q., Bobadilla, J.L., Meyer, K.C., Hayney, M.S., Braun, R.K., Greenspan, D.S., et al. 2007. IL-17-dependent cellular immunity to collagen type V predisposes to obliterative bronchiolitis in human lung transplants. J Clin Invest 117:3498-3506.
Molitor-Dart ML, Andrassy J, Haynes LD, Burlingham WJ. Tolerance induction or sensitization in mice exposed to noninherited maternal antigens (NIMA). Am J Transplant. 2008 Nov;8(11):2307-15.
Xu Q, Lee J, Keller M, Burlingham WJ. Analysis of indirect pathway CD4+ T cells in a patient with metastable tolerance to a kidney allograft: possible relevance to superior graft survival of HLA class II closely matched renal allografts. Transpl Immunol. 2009 Mar;20(4):203-8.
Burlingham, W.J. A lesson in tolerance--maternal instruction to fetal cells. N Engl J Med. 2009 Mar 26;360(13):1355-7.
Dutta P, Molitor-Dart M, Bobadilla JL, Roenneburg DA, Yan Z, Torrealba JR, Burlingham WJ. Microchimerism is strongly correlated with tolerance to noninherited maternal antigens in mice. Blood. 2009;114 (17):3578-87.
Dutta P, Dart M, Roenneburg DA, Torrealba JR, Burlingham WJ. Pre-transplant Immune Regulation Predicts Alllograft Tolerance. Am J Transplant 2011;11(6):1296-301. PMC3110527
Haynes LD, Jankowska-Gan E, Sheka A, Keller M, Hernandez-Fuentes MP, Lechler RI, Seyfert-Margolis V, Turka LA, Newell KA, Burlingham WJ. Donor-Specific Indirect Pathway Analysis Reveals a B-Cell-Independent Signature which Reflects Outcomes in Kidney Transplant Recipients. Am J Transplant. 2012 Mar;12(3):640-8;PMID:22151236
Jankowska-Gan E, Sheka A, Sollinger HW, Pirsch JD, Hofmann MR, Haynes LD, Armbrust MJ, Mezrich JD, Burlingham WJ. Pretransplant Immune Regulation Predicts Allograft Outcome: Bidirectional Regulation Correlates With Excellent Renal Transplant Function in Living-Related Donor-Recipient Pairs. Transplantation. 2012;93(3):283-90; PMID:22186938
Szabolcs P, Burlingham WJ, Thomson AW. Tolerance after solid organ and hematopoietic cell transplantation. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2012 Jan;18(1 Suppl):S193-200. NIHMS 379899
Burlingham WJ., Nelson JL. Microchimerism in cord blood: mother as anticancer drug.. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2012 Feb 14; 109(7):2190-1.
Olson BM, Jankowska-Gan E, Becker JT, Vignali DA, Burlingham WJ, McNeel DG.Human prostate tumor antigen-specific CD8+ regulatory T cells are inhibited by CTLA- 4 or IL-35 blockade. Journal of immunology, 2012. 189(12): p. 5590-601PMID:23152566