University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vaccine Testing Center

Bio for Sean Diehl, Ph.D.
Sean Diehl, Ph.D.

Sean Diehl, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Immunobiology Medicine
Department of Medicine, Unit of Infectious Diseases

Contact Information
Office Location:
Given Medical Building Room C205, 89 Beaumont Avenue, Burlington, VT 05405


1998 – 2003    Ph.D. Cell and Molecular Biology (Immunology). University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.

                        Thesis: The Two Faces of Interleukin-6 on T helper 1/2 Differentiation

1994-1998      B.S. Biology (Chemistry minor), State University of New York at Geneseo, Geneseo, New York

Research Interests

Human Immunology, Vaccine Development

The overarching goal of my research is to define signaling mechanisms that control human T and B cell function in both normal and dysfunctional (i.e. chronic inflammation) states. We study this in the context of in vivo human vaccine responses as well as in defined in vitro culture settings. Through the use of relevant culture models and retroviral delivery of stable genetic modifications we can dissect the molecular mechanisms involved in human T and B cell differentiation and acquisition of effector function. This work is done with a focus on neglected infectious diseases and global health. Current projects aim to 1) understand immunological basis for oral vaccine failure in the context of malnourishment and 2) Cellular and humoral immune responses to vaccination with live-attenuated formulations of Dengue virus (DENV), a vector-borne virus endemic to nearly half the world’s population.

Awards and Honors

2011          NIH Clinical Research Loan Repayment Program.

2005          NIH F32 National Service Research Award (NSRA) Postdoctoral Fellowship

2005          AMC Magazine cover article "American support for immortal cells" by Arthur van Zuylen

2002          University of Vermont Graduate College Mini Travel Grant

2000          Tuition Scholarship, Cold Spring Harbor  Laboratory Course, Eurkaryotic Gene Transcription


Rincon M, Carbone G, Wilson A, Diehl SA, Bunn JY, and SM Cooper (2013) Interleukin-6 receptor blockade selectively reduces IL-21 production by CD4+ T cells and IgG4 autoantibodies in rheumatoid arthritis. Int. J. Biol. Sci.; 9(3): 279-288.

Diehl SA*, Schmidlin H, Nagasawa M, Blom B, and H Spits. (2012) IL-6 triggers IL-21 production by human CD4+ T cells to drive STAT3-dependent plasma cell differentiation in B cells. Immunology and Cell Biology 90(8):802-11 *corresponding author.

Becker PD, Legrand N, van Geelen CMM, Noerder M, Huntington ND, Lim A, Yasuda E, Diehl SA, Scheeren FA, Ott M, Weijer K, Wedemeyer H, Di Santo JP, Beaumont T, Guzman CA, and H Spits. (2010) Generation of Human Antigen-Specific Monoclonal IgM Antibodies Using Vaccinated "Human Immune System" Mice. PLoS ONE.  Oct 4; 5(10). pii: e13137.

Kwakkenbos MJ*, Diehl SA*, Yasuda E, Bakker AQ, van Geelen CM, Lukens MV, van Bleek GM, Widjojoatmodjo MN, Bogers WMJM, Mei H, Radbruch A, Scheeren FA, Spits H, and T Beaumont (2010) Generation of stable monoclonal antibody-producing B cell receptor-positive human memory B cells by genetic programming. Nature Medicine 16 (1): 123-128. *equal contribution.

Schmidlin H*, Diehl SA*, and B Blom. (2009) New insights in the regulation of human B cell differentiation (review). Trends In Immunology 30(6): 277-285. *equal contribution.

Schmidlin H, Diehl SA, Nagasawa M, Scheeren FA, Schotte R, Uittenbogaart CH, Spits H, and B Blom. Spi-B inhibits human plasma cell differentiation by repressing expression of BLIMP1 and XBP-1 (2008), Blood 112(5): 1804-1812.

Diehl SA, Schmidlin H, Nagasawa M, Kwakkenbos M, Yasuda E, Beaumont T, Scheeren FA, and H Spits. STAT3-mediated BLIMP1 upregulation is coordinated with BCL6 downregulation to control human plasma cell differentiation (2008) J.Immunol. 180: 4805-4815.

Scheeren FA, Diehl SA, Smit LA, Beaumont T, Naspetti M, Bende RJ, Blom B, Karube K, Ohshima K, van Noesel CJ, and H Spits. (2008) IL-21 is expressed in Hodgkin Lymphoma and activates STAT5; evidence that activated STAT5 is required for Hodgkin Lymphomagenesis. Blood 111(9) 4706-4715.

Scheeren FA*, Naspetti M*, Diehl S, Schotte R, Nagasawa M, Wijnands E, Gimeno R, Vyth-Dreese FA, Blom B, and H Spits (2005) STAT5 regulates the self-renewal capacity and differentiation of human memory B cells and controls Bcl-6 expression. Nat.Immunol. 6:303-313  *equal contribution.

Diehl S and M Rincón (2002). The two faces of IL-6 on Th1/Th2 differentiation. Mol. Immunol. 39(9), 531-536.

Diehl S, Chow C-W, Rounds LL, Anguita J, Davis RJ, and M Rincón (2002) Induction of NFATc2 expression by IL-6 promotes Th2 differentiation. J. Exp. Med. 196(1), 39-49. PMCID: PMC2194007.

Diehl S*, Anguita J*, Hoffmeyer A, Zapton T, Ihle JN, Fikrig E, and M Rincón (2000) Inhibition of Th1 differentiation by IL-6 is mediated by SOCS1. Immunity 13(6), 805-815. *equal contribution.

Publications on PubMed

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