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Kaplan named Department of Microbiology and Immunology chair

Mark Kaplan, PhD

Leader also named director of basic science in Brown Center

INDIANAPOLIS — Mark Kaplan, PhD, a professor, researcher and leader at the Indiana University School of Medicine, has been selected to chair the school’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology and serve as director of basic science in the Brown Center for Immunotherapy. His new appointment begins Jan. 1, 2020.

“Dr. Kaplan’s strong leadership and his approach to collaboration make him uniquely qualified for his roles with the department and the Brown Center,” said Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, dean of IU School of Medicine and IU’s executive vice president for university clinical affairs. “His leadership will be critical to our success in discovering how we can apply emerging immunotherapies to more patients.”

Kaplan joined the IU School of Medicine faculty in 1998 as an assistant professor of microbiology and immunology. In 2005, he was named the director of pediatric pulmonary basic research in the Department of Pediatrics and was promoted to professor in 2008. In 2014, Kaplan was honored with the Billie Lou Wood Professorship, and became associate director of the Wells Center for Pediatric Research in 2017.

His research examines transcription factors that are involved in the development of T helper cell subsets and how those cells contribute to inflammation in allergic and autoimmune diseases.

“The Department of Microbiology and Immunology was my first home at Indiana University and its faculty have been colleagues, collaborators and friends. I am honored to lead the next phase of growth and development that will build on an already outstanding department,” Kaplan said. “I am excited to use my experience to guide this expansion of the basic and translational immunology program.”

Kaplan received his Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Windsor and his PhD in immunology and microbiology from Wayne State University. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the Harvard University School of Public Health.

Kaplan will hold the Nicole Brown Chair, have a primary appointment as professor of microbiology and immunology and secondary appointment, with tenure, as professor of pediatrics.

He succeeds Stanley Spinola, MD, as chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Spinola has led the department since 2010 and announced that he intended to step back from his administrative responsibilities once the next chair was in place. Hess recognized Spinola for his exceptional leadership of the department and his many contributions to the school.

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology at IU School of Medicine includes research centers focused on molecular mechanisms of pathogenesis, immune responsiveness, infectious diseases, cancer biology, hematopoiesis, stem cell biology and gene therapy. The department offers core graduate courses in immunology, infection and pathogenesis, neoplastic determinants and stem cell biology and advanced courses in specialty areas that reflect the research expertise of microbiology and immunology faculty.

The Brown Center for Immunotherapy at Indiana University School of Medicine was established in December 2016 with a $30 million gift from Indianapolis entrepreneur and IU School of Medicine alumnus Don Brown, MD. The mission of the Brown Center is to develop new treatments and cure disease through the use of cell-based immunotherapies.


IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.