Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Appoints NIH Immunology Researcher as Mellon Scholar

September 10, 2015

Timothy Hand, Ph.D., a scientist specializing in gastrointestinal immunology, has been named a scholar within the Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Dr. Hand is the fourth scientist in the Mellon Scholars Program, which enables promising researchers in the early stages of their careers to pursue potential breakthrough research projects in biomedicine. The scholars are selected on the basis of work that is highly innovative, delivering new expertise to the biomedical research community; likely to lead to major breakthroughs; and capable of having a long-lasting impact on the practice of medicine.

“Dr. Hand exemplifies the type of scientist we’re recruiting to the Mellon Institute at Children’s – someone who early in his or her career has already achieved very promising results, but who also has shown the potential to make an even more significant impact,” said Jay Kolls, M.D., Mellon Institute director. “Dr. Hand has distinguished himself with his work at the National Institutes of Health and we’re excited for him to continue his work at UPMC.”

Dr. Hand’s research focuses on the development and regulation of T-cell responses against microbiota and how gastrointestinal infection may “unleash” the immune response against commensal bacteria and how such responses are controlled to prevent overt pathology.

His research has many applications and may provide insight into a variety of diseases affecting children, including Crohn’s disease, environmental enteropathy and food allergies. His lab will study gastrointestinal immunity to the normal gastrointestinal tract and host-invading pathogens that may disrupt tissue stability.

Dr. Hand comes to Children’s Hospital from the Laboratory of Parasitic Disease at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in Bethesda, Md., where he has been a post-doctoral fellow since 2009.

He has been an author on numerous publications in prestigious journals including Science, Cell, Immunity, and Cell Host/Microbe, has received a National Institutes of Health transitional “K” award, and was a Food and Drug Administration Office of Dietary Supplements scholar.

Dr. Hand, who also is assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, earned his bachelor’s degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto and his doctoral degree from Yale University.

Established through a groundbreaking gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Institute is an incubator for research that challenges conventional wisdom and can lead to paradigm shifts in pediatric medicine. This kind of high-risk, high-impact investigation is not typically funded through government or conventional sources, placing Children’s Hospital in a unique realm of pediatric research centers.

Located within the John G. Rangos Sr. Research Center on Children’s main campus, the Institute's faculty and programs are a part of the Pitt School of Medicine. For more information on The Richard King Mellon Foundation Institute for Pediatric Research, please visit

Andrea Kunicky, 412-692-6254,
Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-7919,