Department of Infectious Diseases, Norris Lab
Assistant Research Scientist

Whitney Rabacal obtained her Bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME) in 2006 and then worked as a research assistant at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston, MA) in the laboratory Dr. Vicki Rubin Kelley from 2016-2010, focusing on models of autoimmune kidney disease. In 2016, Dr. Rabacal then received her doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN) in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Sebzda, where her dissertation work was primarily focused on understanding the role of lymphocyte trafficking in development, homeostasis, and peripheral tolerance. Dr. Rabacal joined the Norris lab in the fall of 2016 where she has been involved in research focused on investigating the immuno-pathogensis of HIV-related comorbidities, and vaccine strategies for protecting immunocompromised persons against Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) and COPD.

Research Interests

  • Vaccination strategies for the prevention of Pneumocystis pneumonia (PCP) and COPD
  • Immune aging
  • Immunopathogenesis of HIV-comorbidities

Educational Background

  • PhD (2016), Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University
  • AB (2006), Bowdoin College, Maine

Selected Publications

Search PubMed for “Rabacal W”

  • Rabacal W, Pabbisetty SK, Hoek KL, Cendron D, Guo Y, Maseda D, Sebzda E. Transcription factor KLF2 regulates homeostatic NK cell proliferation and survival. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 May 10;113(19):5370-5.
  • Pabbisetty SK, Rabacal W, Volanakis EJ, Parekh VV, Olivares-Villagómez D, Cendron D, Boyd KL, Van Kaer L, Sebzda E. Peripheral tolerance can be modified byaltering KLF2-regulated Treg migration. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2016 Aug 9;113(32):E4662-70.
  • Menke J, Iwata Y, Rabacal WA, Basu R, Yeung YG, Humphreys BD, Wada T, Schwarting A, Stanley ER, Kelley VR. CSF-1 signals directly to renal tubular epithelial cells to mediate repair in mice. J Clin Invest. 2009 Aug;119(8):2330-42.
  • Pabbisetty SK, Rabacal W, Maseda D, Cendron D, Collins PL, Hoek KL, Parekh VV, Aune TM, Sebzda E. KLF2 is a rate-limiting transcription factor that can be targeted to enhance regulatory T-cell production. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 1;111(26):9579-84.
  • Lucas JA, Menke J, Rabacal WA, Schoen FJ, Sharpe AH, Kelley VR. Programmed death ligand 1 regulates a critical checkpoint for autoimmune myocarditis and pneumonitis in MRL mice. J Immunol. 2008 Aug 15;181(4):2513-21.

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