Location: 5.016V.6 - MED


Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics

Griffith, Ann V., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Personal Statement:

Dr. Griffith’s lab focuses on the biology of the lymphopoietic thymic microenvironment during the steady state, and during age-induced thymic atrophy. Dr. Griffith established the unique computational deconvolution technique that she used to identify thymic stromal gene expression during her postdoctoral fellowship in Howard Petrie’s laboratory. This technique surmounts significant obstacles in the field and allowed the first comprehensive transcriptome mapping of the thymic stromal microenvironment, essentially in situ.


Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston-M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, 2006


Dr. Griffith’s research interests lie in the identification of lymphopoietic signals provided by the stromal microenvironment in the thymus, the biology of thymic stromal cells, and the mechanisms and consequences (including diminished vaccine response and increased susceptibility to infection) of age-induced thymic atrophy. The impact of age-induced atrophy on T cell production, which is pronounced by young adulthood, is not limited to the elderly, but is also apparent in young adults when lymphopenia is actively induced, such as in patients receiving myeloablative therapy and bone marrow stem cell transplants. The primary targets of age-induced atrophy are a relatively rare stromal population. Unfortunately this population is difficult to isolate for a number of reasons, and the mechanisms governing thymic atrophy have remained relatively obscure. Over the last several years they have devised and implemented a novel computational deconvolution approach to globally and spatially map gene expression in thymic stromal cells, revealing exciting new aspects of thymus biology. Ongoing projects in the lab aim to identify the causes and consequences of age-associated thymic stromal dysfunction. Their ultimate goal is to develop novel approaches to extend the health span during aging.

Awards & Accomplishments

  • 2018: HHMI Gilliam Fellowship Mentor
  • 2018: Editorial Board: Aging Cell
  • 2017: Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund Young Investigator Award.
  • 2016: Faculty of the Year, UTHSCSA Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics
  • 2015: American Association of Immunologists Early Career Travel Award
  • 2015: Greehey President’s Fund for Faculty Excellence Award
  • 2014: American Association of Immunologists Travel for Techniques Award
  • 2009-2012: Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, N.I.H.
  • 1998: University of Texas Undergraduate Research Fellowship


American Association of Immunologists

Lab Members




Yangming Xiao
Yangming Xiao Ph.D. M.D
Lab Manager
Allison Hester
Ph.D. Student
Kymberly Wimberly
Kymberly Wimberly
Ph.D. Student
Manpreet Semwal
Manpreet Semwal
Ph.D. Student
Sergio Cepeda
Sergio Cepeda
Ph.D. Student
Martin Sandoval
Master Student
Stephanny Lizarraga
Master Student

Griffith Lab Alumni


Current Position

Kymberly Wimberly (MS)

PhD student, UT Health San Antonio

Carolina Cantu (MS)

Biomedical Research Associate, US Army Institute of Surgical Research

Stephanie Orozco (MS)

 PhD student, Baylor College of Medicine

Abdulaziz Almutairi (MS)

 PhD student, University of Alabama at Birmingham


  • 8/17/18- Kym won an honorable mention for the GSBS Joe Robles Graduate Student Leadership Award- Way to go Kym!
  • 8/17/18- Congrats to Allison for winning the 2018 Heather Menzie Junior Graduate Student of the Year Award!
  • 8/17/18- Sergio won the GSBS Senior Student of the Year Award for 2018 – Congrats!

  • 7/26/18 Congratulations, Sergio! A 2018 Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellow!

  • 05/18/18 Congratulations to our MS graduates, Stephanie and Aziz!
  • 05/04/18 Congratulations to Sergio for his AAI Trainee Poster Award and to Allison for her Block Symposia Travel Award!
  • 04/10/18 Congratulations to Sergio on his 2nd Place Poster Award at the MIMG Retreat!
  • 11/2017- Stephanie won 1st place for an oral presentation at the Vaccine Development Center of San Antonio Conference – Congrats Stephanie!


Complete List of Publications


  • Cepeda, S., Cantu,C., Orozco ,S., Xiao, Y., Brown, Z., Semwal,M.K., Venables, T., Anderson, M.S., Griffith, A.V. 2018 Age-Associated Decline in Thymic B Cell Expression of Aire and Aire-Dependent Self-Antigens. Cell Reports.

  • Cepeda, S, Griffith AV. 2017 Thymic stromal cells: Roles in atrophy and age-associated dysfunction of the thymus. Experimental Gerontology.

  • Griffith AV, Venables T, Shi J, Farr A, Van Remmen H, Szweda L, Fallahi M, Rabinovitch P, Petri H. 2015 Metabolic damage and premature thymus aging caused by stromal catalase deficiency. Cell Reports.

  • Bryson JL, Griffith AV, Hughes B, Saito F, Takahama Y, Richie ER, Manley NR. 2013 Cell-Autonomous Defects in Thymic Epithelial Cells Disrupt Endothelial – Perivascular Cell Interactions in the Mouse Thymus.  PLoS ONE 8(6), e65196

  • Griffith AV, Fallahi M, Venables T, Petrie HT. 2012 Persistent degenerative changes in thymic organ function revealed by an inducible model of organ regrowth. Aging Cell Feb; 11 (1): 169-77.

  • Griffith AV, Fallahi M, Nakase H, Gosink M, Young B, Petrie HT.  2009 Spatial mapping of thymic stromal microenvironments reveals unique features influencing T lymphoid differentiation. Immunity Dec 18; 31(6):999-1009.

  • Griffith AV, Cardenas K, Carter C, Gordon J, Iberg A, Engleka K, Epstein JA, Manley NR, Richie ER. 2009 Increased thymus- and decreased parathyroid-fated organ domains in Splotch mutant embryos. Dev Biol. Mar 1;327(1):216-27.

  • Benavides F, Gomez G, Venables-Griffith A, Lambertz I, Flores M, Angel JM, Fuchs-Young R, Richie ER, Conti CJ. 2006 Differential susceptibility to chemically-induced thymic lymphomas in SENCARB and SSIN inbred mice. Mol Carcinog. Jul;45(7):543:8.
  • Benavides F*, Venables A*, Poetschke Klug H, Glasscock E, Rudensky A, Gomez M, Palenzuela N, Guenet J, Richie E, Conti C.  2001 The CD4 T cell-deficient mouse mutation nackt (nkt) involves a deletion in the cathepsin L (Ctsl) gene. Immunogenetics. Apr;53(3):233-242.*These authors contributed equally to this work.