Precision Immunology Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (PrIISM)


Allergic diseases such as food allergy, asthma or atopic dermatitis occur when immune tolerance fails to develop to normally innocuous antigens in our environment. Investigators at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are working to develop new therapeutic strategies to re-educate the immune system to establish immune tolerance.

A major disease focus is food allergy. Investigators in the PrIISM Institute work closely with physicians in the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, and have access to unique patient cohorts enrolled in cutting-edge clinical trials of immunotherapy for food allergy. We study immune mechanisms of tolerance development and develop and apply novel technologies for diagnosis and to inform personalized medicine approaches for the treatment of food allergy. Scientists in the PrIISM institute are also performing studies to understand the cellular and molecular underpinnings of allergy and immune tolerance, with the goal of developing next-generation immunotherapies that will lead to a cure.

Allergic diseases begin in early life and progress from atopic dermatitis to food allergy to allergic rhinitis and asthma. Prevention of allergic disease is a key goal for researchers working in PrIISM and we are particularly focused on early life events that shape the developing immune system. On the other end of the age spectrum, scientists are studying how allergic responses in the elderly contribute to asthma pathogenesis. For a description of ongoing research on atopic dermatitis, go here.

Investigators with a major focus in allergy include:

Cecilia Berin, PhD is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics. Her laboratory focuses on immune mechanisms of allergy and tolerance to foods. The laboratory uses state of the art immune profiling approaches, including mass cytometry, multi-parameter flow cytometry, and single cell sequencing to uncover the immune basis underlying phenotypic heterogeneity of food allergy. The laboratory develops approaches for immune profiling for NIH-sponsored clinical trials, including immunotherapy and allergy prevention trials geared toward young pediatric cohorts. In addition to human immunology, the Berin Laboratory uses mouse models of food allergy to study immune mechanisms of food allergy in tissues, with emphasis on the immune link between the skin and gastrointestinal tract. Dr. Berin’s research is funded by NIAID.

Area(s) of Focus: Allergy



Hugh A. Sampson, MD is the Kurt Hirschhorn Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy/Immunology. Dr. Sampson’s laboratory has been engaged in the investigation of basic immunopathogenic mechanisms responsible for food-induced symptoms in children with atopic dermatitis, asthma, anaphylaxis and eosinophilic esophagitis, immunologic changes associated with immunotherapy, and has investigated and developed new approaches to better diagnose food allergy, most recently a novel luminex-based allergenic epitope assay. He and his lab have been involved in several clinical trials and he has been the PI on the NIH-funded Consortium for Food Allergy Research [6 universities] and is the PI on a new NIH ITN study investigating the effect of the microbiome on infants delivered by C-section. Dr. Sampson has authored over 450 primary papers and reviews in high profile journals, 88 book chapters and co-edited 7 books, primarily on clinical and immunopathogenic aspects of food allergic disorders, and has obtained extensive NIH funding to support his studies on food allergy.

Area(s) of Focus: Allergy


image of Dr. Curotto

Maria Curotto de Lafaille, PhD is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics. Her laboratory studies the immune mechanisms that are involved in the pathogenesis of IgE-mediated allergic inflammation. To understand how pathogenic IgE antibody responses form and persist, studies in the laboratory are focused on identifying unique aspects of IgE plasma cell biology and of their non-IgE memory B cell precursors in human and mice.

Her group has developed novel mouse models to track the differentiation and fate of allergen-specific B cells. The group is also investigating atopy-associated B cell phenotypes in human food allergy, atopic dermatitis and asthma. Another interest of her group is to determine the origin of tissue damage in chronic allergic inflammation. Studies in the laboratory are investigating the interactions between type 2 inflammation and lung tissue repair pathways in experimental asthma. Dr. Curotto de Lafaille’s laboratory is funded by NIH/NIAID.

Area(s) of Focus: Allergy