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Paul Robbins, Ph.D.

Department of Metabolism & Aging
Florida Campus
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(561) 228-2126

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Adjunct Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Affiliate Research Professor, Center for Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, Florida Atlantic University

Research Focus

The laboratory is developing novel approaches to treat autoimmune (type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis), inflammatory (inflammatory bowel disease, delayed type hypersensitivity) and age-related degenerative diseases using biologics and small molecules. The therapeutic approaches being developed include: 1) AAV mediated gene transfer of anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive agents; 2) peptide and small molecule inhibitors of the transcription factor of NF-kB; 3) novel osteogenic peptides; 4) adult stem cells; and 5) microvesicles exosomes) derived from immunoregulatory or stem cells able to block inflammation or promote regeneration. Although the majority of the studies are being performed in mouse models of disease, approaches to treat osteoarthritis by AAV gene transfer and Duchenne muscular dystrophy with a NF-kB inhibitory peptide will soon be entering the clinic.


B.A., Biology, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, 1980
Ph.D., Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California, 1985

Professional Experience

1986 – 1990: Postdoctoral Fellow, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts
1990 – 1995: Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
1991 – 2006: Director, Vector Core Facility, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
1996 – 1999: Associate Professor (with tenure), Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
1997 – 2001: Interim Director, Molecular and Cellular Oncology Program, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
2000 – 2012: Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
2001 – 2012: Professor, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
2001 – 2007: Director of Basic Research, Institute for Molecular Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
2003 – 2009: Co-Director, Paul Wellstone Cooperative Center of Excellence in Muscular Dystrophy
2004 – 2005: Interim Director, Clinical Vector and Vaccine Production Facility
2012 – Present: Professor, Department of Metabolism and Aging, The Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter Florida
2012 – Present: Adjunct Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Awards & Professional Activities

1976-1980: Magill-Rhodes Scholarship, Haverford College
1980: High Honors in Biology, Haverford College
1986-1989: Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research Fellowship
1998: Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry Faculty of the Year
1999: Volvo Award Prize for Best Basic Science Paper in lower back pain research
1999: North American Spine Society Award for a 1999 Outstanding Paper
1999: Founder's Award Prize from the Eastern Orthopaedic Association for outstanding paper
1999: Gerhard-Kuntscher-Preis
2000: Synos Research Award
2004: Nicolas Andry Award
2005: ORS Kappa Delta Award
2009: JDRF Kugel Award

Editorial Boards
Associate Editor, Gene Therapy (2002-2009)
Editorial Board, Gene Therapy and Molecular Biology
Editorial Board, Journal of Gene Medicine
Editorial Board, Cancer Gene Therapy
Editorial Board, Arthritis Research
Editorial Board, Journal of Extracellular Vesicles

Selected References

All Publications

Bianco, N., Kim, S.-H., Ruffner, M and Robbins, P. D. (2009) Therapeutic effect of exosomes from indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase-positive dendritic cells in collagen-induced arthritis and delayed-type hypersensitivity disease models. Arthritis&Rheum. 60:380-9. PMC3491653

Lefèvre, S., Knedla, A., Tennie. C., Kampmann, A., Wunrau, C., Dinser, R., Korb, A., Schnäker, E. M., Tarner, I. H., Robbins, P. D., Evans, C. H., Stürz, H., Steinmeyer, J., Gay, S., Schölmerich, J., Pap, T., Müller-Ladner, U.,and Neumann, E. (2009) Synovial fibroblasts spread rheumatoid arthritis to unaffected joints. Nat. Med. 15:1414-1420. NIHMS406794

Ruffner, M. A., Kim, S. H., Bianco, N. R., Francisco, L. M., Sharpe, A. H. and P. D. Robbins. (2009) B7-1/2, but not PD-L1/2 molecules, are required on IL-10-treated tolerogenic DC and DC-derived exosomes for in vivo function. E. Jour. Immunol. 39:3084-3090. PMC3075967

Gaddy, D. F., Riedel, M. J., Pejawar-Gaddy, S., Kieffer, T. J, and P. D. Robbins. (2010) In vivo expression of HGF/NK1 and GLP-1 From dsAAV vectors enhances pancreatic ß-cell proliferation and improves pathology in the db/db mouse model of diabetes. Diabetes 59:3108-3016. PMC2992772

Ruffner, M. A. and Robbins, P. D. (2010) Dendritic cells transduced to express interleukin 4 reduce diabetes onset in both normoglycemic and prediabetic nonobese diabetic mice. PLoS ONE 5:e1184. PMC2912295

Gaddy, D. F., Riedel, M. J., Bertera, S., Kieffer, T. J, and P. D. Robbins. (2011) DsAAV8-mediated gene transfer and ß cell expression of IL-4 and b-cell growth factors is capable of reversing early-onset diabetes in NOD mice. Gene Ther. 19:791-9. PMID22089495

Yang, C., Kim, S.-H, Bianco, N. R. and Robbins, P. D. (2011) Tumor-Derived Exosomes Confer Antigen-Specific Immunosuppression in a Murine Delayed-Type Hypersensitivity Model. PLoS ONE6:e22517. PMC3149056

Lavasani, M., Robinson, A. R., Lu, A., Tilstra, J., Feduska, J. M., Robbins, P. D., Niedernhofer, L. J., and Huard, J. (2012) Muscle-derived stem/progenitor cell dysfunction limits healthspan and lifespan in a murine progeria model. Nat. Commun. 3:608. doi:10.1038/ncomms1611. PMC3272577

Reay, J., Gambotto, A. and Robbins, P. D. (2012) The Anti-tumor Effects of Adenoviral-Mediated, Intra-tumoral delivery of Interleukin 23 require Endogenous IL-12. Can. Gene Therapy, 19:135-43. PMC3508719

Tilstra, J. S., Robinson, A. R., Wang, J., Gregg, S., Clauson, C. L., Reay, D., Nasto, L. A., St. Croix, C., Vo, N., Usas, A., Huard, J., Clemens, P. A., Stoltz, D., Guttridge, D.C., Watkins, S.C., Garinis, G.A., Wang, Y., Niedernhofer, L.J., and P. D. Robbins. (2012) NF-kB inhibition delays DNA damage-inducedsenescence and aging in mice. J. Clin. Invest. 122:2601-12. PMC3386805

Yang, C., Ruffner, M. A., Kim, S.-H., and Robbins, P. D. (2012) Plasma-derived MHCII+ exosomes from tumor-bearing mice suppress tumor antigen-specific immune responses. Eur. J. Immunol. 42:1778-84. PMC3471134


Department of Metabolism & Aging

Two Noted Scientists Appointed to Metabolism and Aging Department