Dr. Sempowski earned his PhD in Immunology in 1997 from the University of Rochester and was specifically trained in the areas of inflammation, wound healing, and host response (innate and adaptive). Dr. Sempowski contributed substantially to the field of lung inflammation and fibrosis defining the roles of pulmonary fibroblast heterogeneity and CD40/CD40L signaling in regulating normal and pathogenic lung inflammation. During his postdoctoral training with Dr. Barton F. Haynes at Duke University, Dr. Sempowski focused on human immunology and more specifically immune reconstitution in settings of immune deficiency. This resulted in publication of seminal findings regarding the cellular and molecular mechanisms that drive attenuation of immune function in the elderly.
Since joining the Duke School of Medicine faculty in 2000, Dr. Sempowski has developed an independent research program studying immune deficiency associated with aging and radiation exposure. Dr. Sempowski is highly collaborative and works closely with investigators across the US, Europe, Australia and Japan and is internationally recognized as a thought leader in thymic aging, immunosenescence and multiplex biomarker analysis.
In 2017, Dr. Sempowski assumed the directorship of the Duke Global Health Research Building, a division of the Duke Human Vaccine Institute. This state-of-the-art Regional Biocontainment Laboratory (RBL) was built with funding from the NIH to support basic research to develop drugs, diagnostics and vaccines for emerging/reemerging infections and biodefense. The Duke RBL has a comprehensive safety and operations program to provide the Duke and RTP communities biocontainment facilities for BSL2, BSL3, and Select Agent research. The facility is home to a portfolio of sponsored research programs focused on biosafety and biopreparedness, vaccine and therapeutic development, host response and immune monitoring and assay proficiency and quality assurance.