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  • Professor, Center for Immunology and Inflammation, Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research
  • Professor, Pediatrics and Molecular Medicine, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

Research focus

Recurrent respiratory papillomatosis (RRP) is a disease caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), specifically HPV6 and 11, that is characterized by the relentless recurrence of benign tumors of the upper airway. This disease can lead to significant breathing problems, including airway blockages which are life-threatening situations that require repeated surgical intervention to prevent suffocation.

Dr. Bonagura’s team has identified, and continues to explore, specific patterns of individual immune responses to HPV early proteins, specifically T-cell sub-populations—including regulatory T-cells, cytokines, chemokines, and macrophages.

They have recently found elevated serum levels of chemokines called CCl17, CCl18 and CCl22 in RRP patients, confirming that the immune responses made by these patients leave the patient vulnerable to chronic HPV infection, and prevent immune clearance of these viruses. In addition, Dr. Bonagura’s team has identified genes that predispose HPV-infected individuals to develop RRP or severe disease.

Dr. Bonagura is currently mapping epitopes on HPV early proteins (specifically E6 and E2) that are recognized by T-cells from these patients towards the goal of ultimately generating a therapeutic vaccine for patients with RRP.

Lab members

James DeVoti, PhD
Research Scientist
Research: Studies immune regulation of human papillomavirus.
Email: [email protected]

David Rosenthal, DO
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Research: Studies the innate immune response in respiratory papillomas.
Email: [email protected]

Linda Hatam, MS
Flow Cytometry Director
Research: Conducts immunophenotyping of tumor infiltrating lymphocytes.
Email: [email protected]


Columbia University, New York
Degree: BA

Columbia University, College of Physicians & Surgeons
Degree: MD


  1. DeVoti JA, Rosenthal DW, Wu R, Abramson AL, Steinberg BM, Bonagura VR. “Immune Dysregulation and Tumor-Associated Gene Changes in Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis: A Paired Microarray Analysis.” Molecular Medicine. Sept/Oct 2008: 14 (9-10) 608-617.
  2. Bonagura VR, Marchlewski R, Cox A, Rosenthal DW. “Biologic IgG level in primary immunodeficiency disease: the IgG level that protects against recurrent infection.” J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2008 Jul;122(1):210-2.