Ligia Pinto
Ligia Pinto
Principal Investigator

Frederick National Laboratory
National Cancer Institute


  • Faculty of Medicine of Lisbon/NIHDoctor of Philosophy (PhD), Immunology 1992 – 1995
  • Faculty of Sciences of Lisbon Degree in Biology 1984 – 1988


Ligia Pinto completed her PhD in 1995 at the Experimental Immunology Branch, National Institutes of Health, after several years of research on cellular immunology of HIV infection at the University of Lisbon, School of Medicine in Portugal. She continued her postdoctoral studies at NIH where she focused on investigating immunological alterations induced by HIV as well as host protective immune responses that may control HIV replication and associated immunopathogenesis. In 2001, she became the head of the HPV Immunology Laboratory at the Frederick National Laboratory, where she is a Principal Investigator and leads a team of scientists, postdoctoral fellows, research associates and students. She has worked in the area of immunology of infectious diseases and vaccines for the last 27years, with over 80 peer-reviewed publications, has many invited international presentations and received a number of distinguished scientific awards.

Research Interest

Our research efforts are directed toward a better characterization of the cellular immune response to HPV in studies of the natural history of cervical cancer and HPV vaccines. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer diagnosed among women worldwide with approximately 500,000 new cases and over 200,000 deaths per year. Genital HPV infections have been found to be the central etiological risk factor for cervical cancer and are the most common viral sexually transmitted diseases worldwide. Thererfore, the development of a prophylactic vaccine against HPV-16 and possibly other known oncogenic HPV types is needed to decrease the incidence of cervical cancer.

Professional Activities:

2001–Present Principal Investigator, HPV Immunology Laboratory Head Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research
1998 – 2001 Staff Scientist National Institutes of Health
1995 – 1998 Fogarty Postdoctoral Fellow National Institutes of Health



  • Pinto LA, Trivett MT, Wallace D, Higgins J, Baseler M, Terabe M, Belyakov IM, Berzofsky JA, Hildesheim A. 2004. Fixation and Cryopreservation of Whole Blood and Isolated Mononuclear Cells: Influence of Different Procedures on Immunophenotyping by Flow Cytometry. Clinical Cytometry. 2004. In Press.
  • Wallace D, Hildesheim A and Pinto LA. Comparison of benchtop microplate beta counters with the traditional gamma counting method for measurement of chromium-51 release in cytotoxic assays. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol 2004;11:255-60
  • Jackson SH, Devadas S, Kwon J, Pinto LA and Williams MS. T cells express a phagocyte-type NADPH oxidase that is activated after T cell receptor stimulation. Nat Immunol 2004;5:818-27
  • Pinto LA, Edwards J, Castle PE, et al. Cellular immune responses to human papillomavirus (HPV)-16 L1 in healthy volunteers immunized with recombinant HPV-16 L1 virus-like particles. J Infect Dis 2003;188:327-38


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