Ellen Vitetta, Ph.D., M.D., is one of the nation’s most respected— and honored — researchers and scientists. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the Academy of Cancer Immunology, Dr. Vitetta is among the 100 most cited biomedical scientists of the past several decades.

An immunologist who does translational (“bench to bedside”) research, Dr. Vitetta has published nearly 500 papers, edited several books, and is a co-inventor on 14 issued patents. Over the past two decades, she has developed antibody-based “biological missiles” to destroy cancer cells and cells infected with HIV. In 2001, Dr. Vitetta developed a vaccine against ricin.

Dr. Vitetta has been the recipient of the Pierce Immunotoxin Award, a National Institutes of Health Merit Award, 15 faculty teaching awards, the Basic Science Educator Award, and the Minnie Piper Teaching Award. In addition, she has received the FASEB Excellence in Science Award, the American Society for Microbiology Abbott Clinical Immunology Award, and the American Association for Cancer Research Rosenthal Prize. She has served on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute, and the Board of Scientific Counselors–Office of AIDS Research. She has also served on the editorial board of 20 journals and was Editor-in-Chief of Therapeutic Immunology.

A past president of the American Association of Immunologists, Dr. Vitetta is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. In 2004, Dr. Vitetta’s former graduate student, Dr. Linda Buck, shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Dr. Richard Axel. In 2006, Dr. Vitetta was inducted into the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame by Governor Rick Perry. The following year, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Immunology. In 2011, Dr. Vitetta received one of 10 Minnie Piper Professorships in Texas.


Medical School New York University , Medicine
Graduate School New York Medical College (1966)
Graduate School New York Medical College (1968)

Research Interest

  • Antibody-based therapies
  • Cancer Dormancy
  • Nanotechnology
  • Vaccines


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

RiVax, a recombinant ricin subunit vaccine, protects mice against ricin delivered by gavage or aerosol
Smallshaw, J.E., Richardson, J.A., and Vitetta, E.S Vaccine 2007 25 7459=7469
A pilot clinical trial of a recombinant ricin vaccine in normal humans
Vitetta, E.S., Smallshaw, J.E., Coleman, E., Jafri, H., Foster, C., Munford, R., and Schindler, J PNAS Spring 2006 103:7 2268-2273
Generation and characterization of a novel tetravalent anti-CD22 antibody with improved antitumor activity and pharmacokinetics
Liu, X., Pop, L., Smallshaw, J.E., Ghetie, V., Vitetta, E.S Int Immunopharma 2006 6:5 791-799
Preclinical toxicity and efficacy testing of RiVax, a recombinant protein vaccine against ricin
Smallshaw, J., Richardson, J.A., Pincus, S., Schindler, J., and Vitetta, E.S. Vaccine 2005 23:39 4775-4784
An anti-CD19 antibody inhibits the interaction between P-gp and CD19, causes P-gp to translocate out of lipid rafts and chemosensitizes a multi-drug resistant lymphoma cell line
Ghetie, M-A., Marches, R., Kufert, S., Vitetta, E.S. Blood 2004 104:1 178-183

Honors & Awards

  • American Association of Immunologists
    Lifetime Achievement Award (2007)
  • Texas Women’s Hall of Fame
    Award (2007)
  • Institute of Medicine
    Member (2006)
  • American Association of Cancer Research
    Rosenthal Award (1995)
  • National Academy of Sciences
    Member (1994)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • Academy of Cancer Immunology
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • American Assocation of Immunologists
  • American Association of Cancer Research
  • American Women in Science