Nick Giannoukakis, PhD
Associate Professor of Pathology

Dr. Giannoukakis is a member of the Division of Experimental Pathology and a member of the Cellular and Molecular Pathology Graduate Training Program. He teaches topics on pancreas and thyroid development and pathology as well as cell and gene therapy approaches in diabetes mellitus in a number of courses administered by the Department and also directs the "Introduction to Immunobiotherapeutics" course in the Department of Immunology. He has mentored graduate, MD/PhD students as well as clinical fellows over the years and is one of the founders of DiaVacs, a biotechnology entity leveraging dendritc cell therapy for autoimmunity.

Office Location:
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
Rangos Research Center 6123
4401 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Contact Information:
Office Telephone: 412-692-8127
Lab Telephone: 412-692-9174


  • BSc - 1992, McGill University
  • PhD - 1997, McGill University

Clinical Expertise

Tolerogenic Dendritic Cell Therapy for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Research Interests

  • Gene and cell therapy for type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus and their complications
  • Gene and cell-based approaches for facilitating allogeneic and xenogeneic transplantation
  • Imprinted gene expression and developmental disorders
  • Fine-mapping of type 1 diabetes susceptibility genes
  • Proteomics and systems biology approaches in type 1 diabetes pathogenesis

Selected Publications

View Dr. Giannoukakis' publications on PubMed

A phase I (safety) study of autologous tolerogenic dendritic cells in type 1 diabetic patients, Nick Giannoukakis, Brett Phillips, David Finegold, Jo Harnaha and Massimo Trucco (2011), Diabetes Care. 34(9):2026-32.

Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase activity during in vitro dendritic cell generation determines suppressive or stimulatory activity, Valentina Di Caro, Antonella D' Anneo, Brett Phillips, Carl Engman, Jo Harnaha, Massimo Trucco and Nick Giannoukakis (2011), Immunol. Res. 50(2-3):130-152

IL-7 promotes the phenotypic maturation of suppressive CD25+ CD127+ Foxp3+ T- cells into Foxp3+ CD127- CD25HIGH Tregs, Valentina Di Caro, Antonella D'Anneo, Brett Phillips, Carl Engman, Massimo, Trucco and Nick Giannoukakis

A microsphere-based vaccine prevents and can reverse new-onset autoimmune diabetes, Brett Phillips, Karen Nylander, Jo Harnaha, Jennifer Machen, Robert Lakomy, Alexis Styche, Kimberly Gillis, Larry Brown, Michael Gallo, Janet Knox, Kenneth Hogeland, Massimo Trucco, Nick Giannoukakis, (2008) Diabetes, 57: 1544-1555.

Interleukin-7 is a survival factor for CD4+ CD25+ T-cells and is expressed by diabetes-suppressive dendritic cells. Harnaha, J., Machen, J., Wright, M., Lakomy, R., Styche, A., Trucco, M. and Giannoukakis, N. Diabetes. (2006) 55:158-70.

Antisense oligonucleotides down-regulating costimulation confer diabetes-preventive properties to nonobese diabetic mouse dendritic cells. Machen J, Harnaha J, Lakomy R, Styche A, Trucco M, Giannoukakis N. J Immunol. 2004, 173(7):4331-4341.

Prolongation of islet allograft survival following ex vivo transduction with adenovirus encoding a soluble type 1 TNF receptor-Ig fusion decoy. Jennifer Machen, Suzanne Bertera, Yigang Chang, Rita Bottino, A N Balamurugan, Paul D. Robbins, M Trucco and Nick Giannoukakis (2004) Gene Therapy 11(20):1506-14.

Protection of human islets from the effects of interleukin-1beta by adenoviral gene transfer of an IkappaB repressor (2000) Nick Giannoukakis, William A. Rudert, Massimo Trucco and Paul D. Robbins Journal of Biological Chemistry 275: 36509-36513.

Prevention of beta cell dysfunction and apoptosis activation in human islets by adenoviral gene transfer of the insulin-like growth factor I (2000) Nick Giannoukakis, Zhibao Mi, William A. Rudert, Andrea Gambotto, Massimo Trucco and Paul D. Robbins Gene Therapy 7: 2015-2022.

Prolongation of allograft survival using dendritic cells treated with NF-kB decoy oligodeoxyribonucleotides (2000) Nick Giannoukakis, Shiguang Qian, Wei Li, Zhongyou Zhen, Jo Harnaha, Andrew C. Bonham, Angus W. Thompson, John C.Fung, Paul D. Robbins and Lina Lu., Molecular Therapy, 1: 74-81.

Infection of intact human islets by a lentiviral vector (1999) Nick Giannoukakis, Zhibao Mi, Andrea Gambotto, Adriana Eramo, Camillo Ricordi, Massimo Trucco and Paul D. Robbins. Gene Therapy 6: 1545-1551.

Adenoviral gene transfer of the interleukin-1 receptor antagonist protein to human islets prevents IL-1beta-induced beta-cell impairment and activation of islet apoptosis in vitro (1999) Nick Giannoukakis, William A. Rudert, Steve C. Ghivizzani, Andrea Gambotto, Camillo Ricordi, Massimo Trucco and Paul D. Robbins. Diabetes 48: 1730-1736.

The INS 5 variable number of tandem repeats is associated with IGF2 expression in humans., Jean Paquette, Nick Giannoukakis, Constantin Polychronakos, Petros Vafiadis and Cheri Deal (1998) Journal of Biological Chemistry. 273 : 14158-14164.

Parental Genomic Imprinting of the Human IGF2 gene., Nick Giannoukakis, Cheri Deal, Jean Paquette, Cynthia G. Goodyer and Constantin Polychronakos, (1993). Nature Genetics, 4(5):98-101.