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

Multiple, conserved cryptic recombination signals in VH gene segments: detection of cleavage products only in pro B cells.
Davila M, Liu F, Cowell LG, Lieberman AE, Heikamp E, Patel A, Kelsoe G J. Exp. Med. 2007 Dec 204 13 3195-208
Reassignment of the murine 3'TRDD1 recombination signal sequence.
Touvrey C, Cowell LG, Lieberman AE, Marche PN, Jouvin-Marche E, Candéias SM Immunogenetics 2006 Nov 58 11 895-903
V(D)J recombinase-mediated processing of coding junctions at cryptic recombination signal sequences in peripheral T cells during human development.
Murray JM, O'Neill JP, Messier T, Rivers J, Walker VE, McGonagle B, Trombley L, Cowell LG, Kelsoe G, McBlane F, Finette BA J. Immunol. 2006 Oct 177 8 5393-404
The recombination difference between mouse kappa and lambda segments is mediated by a pair-wise regulation mechanism.
Larijani M, Chen S, Cunningham LA, Volpe JM, Cowell LG, Lewis SM, Wu GE Mol. Immunol. 2006 Mar 43 7 870-81
SoDA: implementation of a 3D alignment algorithm for inference of antigen receptor recombinations.
Volpe JM, Cowell LG, Kepler TB Bioinformatics 2006 Feb 22 4 438-44
Neonate-primed CD8+ memory cells rival adult-primed memory cells in antigen-driven expansion and anti-viral protection.
Fadel SA, Cowell LG, Cao S, Ozaki DA, Kepler TB, Steeber DA, Sarzotti M Int. Immunol. 2006 Feb 18 2 249-57
Computational tools for understanding sequence variability in recombination signals.
Cowell LG, Davila M, Ramsden D, Kelsoe G Immunol. Rev. 2004 Aug 200 57-69
A functional analysis of the spacer of V(D)J recombination signal sequences.
Lee AI, Fugmann SD, Cowell LG, Ptaszek LM, Kelsoe G, Schatz DG PLoS Biol. 2003 Oct 1 1 E1
The "dispensable" portion of RAG2 is necessary for efficient V-to-DJ rearrangement during B and T cell development.
Liang HE, Hsu LY, Cado D, Cowell LG, Kelsoe G, Schlissel MS Immunity 2002 Nov 17 5 639-51
The targeting of somatic hypermutation closely resembles that of meiotic mutation.
Oprea M, Cowell LG, Kepler TB J. Immunol. 2001 Jan 166 2 892-9