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Rosangela Mezghanni, PhD

Academic Title:

Associate Professor

Primary Appointment:



HSF1, 480

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-3374


(410) 706-2345

Education and Training

  • B.Sc., Medical Analysis, Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Brazil, 1987           
  • Diplome d'Etudes Approfondie (DEA), Microbiology, Paris Descartes University, France, 1994
  • Ph.D., Microbiology and Immunology, Paris Descartes University, France, 1999
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD), 2003


Dr. Mezghanni’s main research interest is in human translational immunology. She conducts immunologic studies that could translate to the treatment of human diseases. Dr. Mezghanni analyzes innate immune response immediately after infection to the development of long-term adaptive immune response. The goal of her research is to understand the cellular controllers of continual immune response that results in successful vaccination.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Human translational immunology, immunity, immunologic studies, host immune response, adaptive immune response, cellular control, gastrointestinal infection, enteric pathogen, E. coli, Shigella, Salmonella, T cells, 3-D organotypic model.

Highlighted Publications

Link to complete set of publications:

Publications (since 2016) (publication & maiden name: Salerno-Goncalves)

  • R. Salerno-Goncalves, A. Fasano and M.B. Sztein. Development of a multicellular three-dimensional organotypic model of the human intestinal mucosa grown under microgravity. J Vis Exp. 2016 July 25; (113).
  • R. Salerno-Goncalves, F. Safavie, A. Fasano and M.B. Sztein. Free and complexed-secretory immunoglobulin A triggers distinct intestinal epithelial responses. Clin Exp Immunol. 2016 Sep; 185(3): 338-47.
  • R. Salerno-Goncalves, D. Luo, S. Fresnay, L. Magder, T.C. Darton, C. Jones, C.S. Waddington, C.J. Blohmke, B. Angus, M.M. Levine, A.J. Pollard, M.B. Sztein. Challenge of humans with wild-type Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi elicits changes in the activation and homing characteristics of Mucosal-Associated Invariant T cells. Front Immunol. 2017 April 6; 8:398.
  • R. Salerno-Goncalves, H. Tettelin, D. Luo, S. Steiner, T. Rezwanul, Q. Guo, W.D. Picking, V. Nene, M.B. Sztein. Use of a Novel Antigen Expressing System to Study the Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi protein recognition by T cells. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2017 Sep 5; 11(9):e0005912.
  • Y. Zhanga, S. Lia, Z. Yanga, L. Shia, H. Yua, R. Salerno-Goncalves, A. Saint-Fleura and H. Feng. Cysteine protease-mediated autocleavage of Clostridium difficile glucosylating toxins regulates their proinflammatory activity. Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2018 Feb 9; 5(4):611-625.
  • E. Higginson, G. Ramachandran, A Panda, S.T. Shipley, E.H. Kriel, L.J. DeTolla, M. Lipsky, D.J. Perkins, R Salerno-Goncalves, S. Rao, M.B. Sztein, M.F. Pasetti, M.M. Levine and S.M. Tennant. Improved tolerability of a Salmonella Typhimurium live-attenuated vaccine strain by balancing inflammatory potential with immunogenicity. Infection & Immunity. 2018 Sep24. pii: IAI.00440-18.
  • R. Salerno-Gonçalves, J.E. Galen, M.M. Levine, A. Fasano, M.B. Sztein. Manipulation of Salmonella Typhi gene expression impacts innate cell responses in the human intestinal Front Immunol. 2018 Nov1; 9:2543.
  • R. Salerno-Goncalves, D. Kayastha, H. Chen, A. Fasano, M.M. Levine and. M.B. Sztein. Crosstalk between leukocytes triggers differential immune responses against Salmonella enterica Serovars Typhi and Paratyphi. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. 2019 Aug14; 13(8):e0007650.
  • R. Salerno-Goncalves, H. Tettelin, D. Luo, Q. Guo, MT. Ardito, WD. Martin, A De Groot, and M.B. Sztein. Differential functional patterns of memory CD4+ and CD8+ T-cells from volunteers immunized with Ty21a typhoid vaccine observed using a recombinant Escherichia coli system expressing S. Typhi proteins. Vaccine 2020 Jan10; 38(2):258-270.
  • B. Sztein, Bafford A.C., and R. Salerno-Goncalves. Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi exposure elicits ex vivo cell-type-specific epigenetic changes in human gut cells. Sci Rep. 2020 August 12;10(1):13581.
  • R. Salerno-Gonçalves, W.H. Chen, M.J. Mulligan. S.E. Frey, J.T. Stapleton, W.A. Keitel, J. Bailey, E. Sendra, H. Hill, R.A. Johnson, and M.B. Sztein. Vaccine-related major cutaneous reaction size correlates with cellular-mediated immune responses after tularaemia immunisation. Clinical & Translational Immunology 2021; e1239.
  • R. Salerno-Goncalves, Rezwan T., D. Luo, H. Tettelin, and M.B. Sztein. B cells control mucosal-associated invariant T cell responses to Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi infection through the CD85j HLA-G receptor. Front Immunol. 2021 October 1; 12:4109

  • R. Salerno-Goncalves, S. Fresnay, L. Magder, T.C. Darton, C.S. Waddington, C.J. Blohmke, B. Angus, M.M. Levine, A.J. Pollard, M.B. Sztein. Mucosal-Associated Invariant T cells exhibit distinct functional signatures associated with protection against typhoid fever. Cellular Immunology. 2022 August; 378:104572

Research Interests

Gastrointestinal infections occur worldwide with  approximately 700,000 hospitalizations per year in the United States. Enteric pathogens include viruses and bacteria such as toxigenic E. coli, Shigella, and Salmonella. Preventing or treating gastroenteritis drastically reduces hospitalizations and the burden of medical costs. The prevalence of antimicrobial-associated diarrhea and the increase of antibiotic resistance highlight the importance of alternatives to antibiotic strategies for treatment. Thus, there has been an increased emphasis on control measures, such as improved sanitation, food hygiene, and vaccination. Dr. Mezghanni’s primary research focus is on innate-like T cells, with studies to evaluate the activation and expansion of different subpopulations of innate-like T cells before and after vaccination against Salmonella Typhi.

Dr. Mezghanni also conducts research to understand the early gut mucosal events following S. Typhi infection. Her laboratory has developed a patented, innovative, multicellular in vitro three-dimensional (3-D) model of the human intestinal mucosa in lieu of animal models might not fully recapitulate human immunity and restrictive human studies. The multicellular 3-D model is unique and has characteristics with close structural and functional resemblance to the human intestinal mucosa. In this 3-D model, the epithelial cells behave as a multipotent progenitor cell that gives rise to functional and highly differentiated cells from multiple lineages (i.e., absorptive enterocyte, goblet, and M cells). Through this 3-D organotypic model, Dr. Mezghanni studies the interactions between epithelial cells and intestinal pathogens, antigen trafficking, and inflammatory processes.

Lab Techniques and Equipment

Dr. Mezghanni uses a broad range of contemporary and emerging technologies in immunology and vaccine design and analysis in laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment. Studies use of conventional flow cytometry, mass cytometer (CyTOF and Helios), and bioengineering tissue culture, as well as classical immunological tools such as immunochemistry, immunoblotting, ELISA, and ELISPOT.


US patent 9,200,258: Multicellular Organotypic Model of Intestinal Mucosa, 2015.

This patent discloses a method for preparation of a multi-cellular three-dimensional model of human intestinal mucosa, which includes fibroblasts, endothelial cells, lymphocytes and epithelial cells.

Inventors: Rosangela Mezghanni, Alessio Fasano, and Marcelo B Sztein