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  Home > About Lab Medicine & Pathology > Faculty and Staff > Christopher A Pennell, Ph.D.

Christopher A Pennell, Ph.D.

LMP Faculty Christopher Pennell
Contact Information

Phone: 612-625-7138
Fax: 612-626-5135




MMC 609 Mayo
420 Delaware
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Associate Professor

Research Interests

Dr. Pennell’s main goal is to devise novel vaccines for cancer therapy. These vaccines contain small tumor-associated peptides that can be recognized by the immune system, along with other proteins that help initiate a potent anti-tumor immune response. The vaccines have a one-two punch: they both efficiently deliver tumor-associated peptides to the immune system and activate tumor-specific immune effector cells. Dr. Pennell is using mouse models to understand how these vaccines work at the molecular and cellular levels, and human systems to identify potent vaccines for the treatment of diseases such as breast cancer.

Educational Background

  • Clarkson University, New York (1979), B.S. (Biology)
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina (1984), Ph.D. (Genetics)
  • University of Rochester, NY, Postdoctoral (Immunology/Cancer), 1984-1986
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, Postdoctoral (Immunology/Cancer), 1986-1991


Professional Background

  • Lab Technician, Swiss Federal Institute for Reactor Research, Würenlingen, Switzerland, 1979
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Rochester Cancer Center, New York, 1984 - 1986
  • Visiting Scientist, Fox Chase Institute for Cancer Research, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1985
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1986 - 2001
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1991 - 1997
  • Associate Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1997 – present
  • Director of Graduate Studies, Microbiology, Immunology and Cancer Biology Graduate Program, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2001 - 2004
  • Faculty Outreach Coordinator, University of Minnesota Cancer Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 2005 - present


  • Erickson HA, Jund MD and Pennell CA. 2006. Ribonuclease-based immunotoxins specific for human CD7: potential therapeutics for T cell leukemia. Prot. Eng. Design Sel. 19(1):37-45.
  • Pennell CA and Heggem MA. 2006. Heat shock protein cell surface receptors. In Heat Shock Proteins in Biology and Medicine, J. Radons and G. Multhoff, eds. (Research Signpost, Kerala, India).
  • Pennell CA. 2005. Heat shock proteins in immune response in the fall of 2004. Immunology 114:297–300.
  • Foss DL, Bennaars A, Pennell CA, Moody MD, and Murtaugh MP. 2003. Differentiation of porcine dendritic cells by granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor expressed in Pichia pastoris. Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol. 91:205-15.
  • Pennell CA and Erickson HA. 2002. Designing immunotoxins for cancer therapy. Immunologic Res. 25(2):177-91.


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