j frazier

Kevin J. Tracey

Kevin J. Tracey (b. 10 December 1957, Fort Wayne, IN, USA) is Director of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and Professor and President of the Elmezzi Graduate School of Molecular Medicine in Manhasset, NY. Although trained as a neurosurgeon, he is an immunologist known for his physiological and molecular studies of inflammation and disease and, in particular, for investigating how the nervous system controls the responses of the immune system to threat.


Tracey identified the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway. He has been involved in molecular target research, beginning in 1987 with his paper in Nature which was the first publication to show that monoclonal antibodies against TNF can be used to prevent inflammation and tissue injury. His 1999 paper in Science was the first to implicate a nuclear molecule called HMGB1 as an inflammatory mediator and drug target. His Nature paper in 2000 was the first report that the vagus nerve regulates the innate immune response to invasion; and in 2007, his paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation first coined the term "the immunogical homunculus", suggesting that the representation of the immune system in the central nervous system is somatotopically organized, in a manner likened to Wilder Penfield’s the classical sensory and motor homunculi.


Tracey received his B.S. (Chemistry) from Boston College in 1979 and his M.D. from Boston University in 1983. From 1983 to 1992 he trained as a neurosurgeon at the New York Hospital/Cornell University Medical Center and was a guest investigator at Rockefeller University, working in the laboratory of Anthony Cerami. In 1992, Tracey moved to North Shore University Hospital, where he practiced neurosurgery while building the research program. In 2001, he was appointed the founding program director for the General Clinical Research Center, which received designation from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2005, Tracey was appointed Director of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

Awards and Honors

Tracey’s honors include receiving the prestigious DeWitt Stetten lectureship in 2007 from The National Institutes of Health, and the Annual Clinical Science Lectureship in 2002 from the Karolinska Institute. Other notable honors include invited lectureships at Harvard, Yale, The Rockefeller University, The Scripps Institute, the University of Texas Southwestern, and elsewhere. He co-chaired the first international scientific congress addressing "The Inflammatory Reflex", a Nobel Symposium in 2004 of the Karolinska Institute and co-chaired the "First HMGB1 Cytokine World Congress" in 2003 in Saltsjobaden, Sweden. Tracey is Editor in Chief of Molecular Medicine (journal), and Advisory Editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine. The Institute for Scientific Information named him a "Highly Cited Researcher in Immunology", placing him in the top 0.5% of all publishing immunologists. Tracey is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation (2001).

His critically acclaimed book Fatal Sequence: The Killer Within, published by the Dana Press in 2005, recounts the hospital course of a young patient with sepsis who changed his life, and the series of remarkable events that shaped his research.


External links

Key Publications

  • Tracey KJ, Beutler B, Lowry SF, Merryweather J, Wolpe S, Milsark IW, Hariri RJ, Fahey III TJ, Zentella A, Albert JD, Shires GT, Cerami A (1986). Shock and tissue injury induced by recombinant human cachectin. Science 234:470 474.
  • Tracey KJ, Fong Y, Hesse DG, Manogue KR, Lee AT, Kuo GC, Lowry SF, Cerami A (1987). Anti-cachectin/TNF monoclonal antibodies prevent septic shock during lethal bacteremia in baboons. Nature 330:662-664.
  • Wang H, Bloom O, Zhang M, Vishnubhakat JM, Ombrellino M, Che J, Frazier A, Yang H, Ivanova S, Borovikova L, Manogue KR, Faist, E, Abraham E, Andersson J, Andersson U, Molina PE, Abumrad NN, Sama A, Tracey KJ (1999). Identification of HMG-1 as a late mediator of endotoxin lethality in mice. Science 285(5425):248-251.
  • Andersson U, Wang H, Palmblad K, Aveberger AC, Bloom O, Erlander-Harris H, Janson A, Kokkola R, Zhang M, Yang H, Tracey KJ (2000). High mobility group 1 protein (HMG1) stimulates proinflammatory cytokine synthesis in human monocytes. J Exp Med 192(4):565-570.
  • Yang H, Ochani M, Li J, Qiang X, Tanovic M, Harris HE, Susarla SM, Ulloa L, Wang H, DiRaimo R, Czura CJ, Wang H, Roth J Warren HS, Fink MP, Fenton MJ, Andersson U, Tracey KJ (2004). Reversing established sepsis with antagonists of endogenous high-mobility group box 1. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101(1):296-301.
  • Borovikova LV, Ivanova S, Zhang M, Yang H, Botchkina GI, Watkins LR, Wang H, Abumrad N, Eaton JW, Tracey KJ (2000). Vagus nerve stimulation attenuates the systemic inflammatory response to endotoxin. Nature 405:458-62.
  • Bernik TR, Friedman ST, Ochani M, DiRaimo R, Ulloa L, Yang H, Sudan S, Czura CJ, Ivanova S, Tracey KJ (2002). Pharmacological stimulation of the Cholinergic Antiinflammatory Pathway. J Exp Med 195:781-788.
  • Tracey KJ (2002) The Inflammatory Reflex. Nature 420:853-859.
  • Wang H, Yu M, Amella CA, Ochani M, Tanovic M, Susarla S, Li JH, Wang H, Ulloa L, Al-Abed Y, Czura CJ, Tracey KJ (2003) Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α7 subunit is an essential regulator of inflammation. Nature 421:384-388.
  • Wang H, Liao H, Ochani M, Justiniani M, Lin X, Yang L, Al-Abed Y, Wang H, Metz C, Miller EJ, Tracey KJ, Ulloa L (2004). Cholinergic agonists inhibit HMGB1 release and improve survival in experimental sepsis. Nat Med. 10:1216-21.
  • Huston JM, Ochani M, Rosas-Ballina M, Liao H, Ochani K, Pavlov VA, Gallowitsch-Puerta M, Ashok M, Czura CJ, Foxwell B, Tracey KJ, Ulloa L (2006). Splenectomy inactivates the cholinergic antiinflammatory pathway during lethal endotoxemia and polymicrobial sepsis. J Exp Med. 203:1623-8.
  • Pavlov VA, Ochani M, Gallowitsch-Puerta M, Ochani K, Huston JM, Czura CJ, Al-Abed Y, Tracey KJ (2006). Central muscarinic cholinergic regulation of the systemic inflammatory response during endotoxemia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 103:5219-23.
  • Tracey KJ (2007). Physiology and immunology of the cholinergic antiinflammatory pathway. J Clin Invest. 117:289-96.
  • Rosas-Ballina M, Ochani M, Parrish WR, Ochani K, Harris YT, Huston JM, Chavan S,. Tracey KJ (2008). The splenic nerve is required for cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway control of TNF in endotoxemia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A., in press.

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