Dr. Cowell received a M.S. in Biomathematics with a minor in Mathematics in 1995 from North Carolina State University. In 2000, she received a Ph.D. in Biomathematics with a minor in Immunology, also from North Carolina State University. She spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Immunology at Duke University Medical Center and then became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics.  She was also on the graduate faculty at Duke for the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Graduate Program. In September 2010, she joined the Biomedical Informatics Division in the Department of Clinical Sciences at UT Southwestern. Dr. Cowell is broadly interested in understanding the mechanisms of adaptive immunity and their role in infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, cancer immunology, and vaccine responses. Her methodologic focus has centered on the development of probabilistic models and the use of formal logics for representing and computing with descriptive information. Dr. Cowell is also involved in the educational mission at UT Southwestern. She is a member of the Graduate Program in Immunology. She directs the Introduction to Statistics course for first year graduate students and is involved in training and mentoring graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.


Adaptive Immunity

Research in the Cowell group is directed toward advancing understanding of (1) the molecular mechanisms by which adaptive immune receptor genes are somatically generated and diversified, (2) the role of these mechanisms in disease, and (3) the dynamics of adaptive immune receptor repertoires in the context of various states of human health and disease. In addition to our basic science research, we have pursued clinical applications in the areas of autoimmune disease (e.g., multiple sclerosis), infectious disease (e.g., Staphylococcus aureus, HIV), and cancer immunology (e.g., HPV-related cancers, particularly cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, design of chimeric antigen receptors for cancer therapy).


Computable Representations of Descriptive Biological and Clinical Information 

Dr. Cowell’s research in this area has focused on using formal logics to represent and compute with biological and clinical information in the immunology and infectious diseases domains. She is interested in using logical representations to enhance the analysis of high-throughput biological data and its integration with electronic health record data.


University of North Carolina A (1992), Education
Graduate School
North Carolina State Universit (1995)
Graduate School
North Carolina State Universit (2000)

Research Interest

  • 1. Somatic diversification of antigen receptor encoding genes
  • 2. Antigen receptor repertoire dynamics
  • 3. Biomedical Ontologies and formal logic


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

The antibody genetics of multiple sclerosis: comparing next-generation sequencing to sanger sequencing.
Rounds WH, Ligocki AJ, Levin MK, Greenberg BM, Bigwood DW, Eastman EM, Cowell LG, Monson NL Front Neurol 2014 5 166
Expansion of CD27(high) plasmablasts in transverse myelitis patients that utilize VH4 and JH6 genes and undergo extensive somatic hypermutation.
Ligocki AJ, Rounds WH, Cameron EM, Harp CT, Frohman EM, Courtney AM, Vernino S, Cowell LG, Greenberg B, Monson NL Genes Immun. 2013 Apr
CD19-Targeted T Cells Rapidly Induce Molecular Remissions in Adults with Chemotherapy-Refractory Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Brentjens RJ, Davila ML, Riviere I, Park J, Wang X, Cowell LG, Bartido S, Stefanski J, Taylor C, Olszewska M, Borquez-Ojeda O, Qu J, Wasielewska T, He Q, Bernal Y, Rijo IV, Hedvat C, Kobos R, Curran K, Steinherz P, Jurcic J, Rosenblat T, Maslak P, Frattini M, Sadelain M Sci Transl Med 2013 Mar 5 177 177ra38
Ontology for vector surveillance and management.
Lozano-Fuentes S, Bandyopadhyay A, Cowell LG, Goldfain A, Eisen L J. Med. Entomol. 2013 Jan 50 1 1-14
Design and evaluation of a bacterial clinical infectious diseases ontology.
Gordon CL, Pouch S, Cowell LG, Boland MR, Platt HL, Goldfain A, Weng C AMIA Annu Symp Proc 2013 2013 502-11
Towards an ontological representation of resistance: the case of MRSA.
Goldfain A, Smith B, Cowell LG J Biomed Inform 2011 Feb 44 1 35-41
Hematopoietic cell types: prototype for a revised cell ontology.
Diehl AD, Augustine AD, Blake JA, Cowell LG, Gold ES, Gondré-Lewis TA, Masci AM, Meehan TF, Morel PA, Nijnik A, Peters B, Pulendran B, Scheuermann RH, Yao QA, Zand MS, Mungall CJ J Biomed Inform 2011 Feb 44 1 75-9
Logical development of the cell ontology.
Meehan TF, Masci AM, Abdulla A, Cowell LG, Blake JA, Mungall CJ, Diehl AD BMC Bioinformatics 2011 12 6
Memory B cells from a subset of treatment-naïve relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients elicit CD4(+) T-cell proliferation and IFN-? production in response to myelin basic protein and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein.
Harp CT, Ireland S, Davis LS, Remington G, Cassidy B, Cravens PD, Stuve O, Lovett-Racke AE, Eagar TN, Greenberg BM, Racke MK, Cowell LG, Karandikar NJ, Frohman EM, Monson NL Eur. J. Immunol. 2010 Oct 40 10 2942-56
Two genes on A/J chromosome 18 are associated with susceptibility to Staphylococcus aureus infection by combined microarray and QTL analyses.
Ahn SH, Deshmukh H, Johnson N, Cowell LG, Rude TH, Scott WK, Nelson CL, Zaas AK, Marchuk DA, Keum S, Lamlertthon S, Sharma-Kuinkel BK, Sempowski GD, Fowler VG PLoS Pathog. 2010 6 9 e1001088