James Lawrence M Ferrara MD

Professor, Pediatrics
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Pediatrics

Video profile


U of M Pediatric Hematology Oncology

CS Mott Children's Hospital Floor 7
1540 E Hospital Dr SPC 4257
Ann Arbor


Medical School or Training

  • Georgetown University School of medicine, 1980


  • Children's Hospital, Pediatrics, MA, 1982


  • Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 1983

Board Certification

  • Pediatrics

  • Pediatric Hematology-Oncology


Dr. Ferrara’s career has been devoted to the study of the most common serious complication from allogeneic BMT which is graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). He is credited with recognizing that GVHD is triggered by increases in immune activating signals early after the transplant, an observation he first published in 1992. This finding transformed  the way GVHD researchers thought about the disease and led to many clinical studies to find better ways to predict, prevent, and treat GVHD. Dr. Ferrara is also acclaimed as an educator – scientists from all over come to train in his laboratory and many of his former students now lead BMT research programs of their own around the world.

Recent Publications:

  1. Paczesny S, Krijanovski O, Braun TM, Choi S, Clouthier SG, Kuick R, Misek DE, Cooke KR, Kitko CL, Weyand A, Bickley D, Jones D, Whitfield J, Reddy P, Levine JE, Hanash SM, Ferrara JLM. A biomarker panel for acute graft versus host disease. Blood, 113:273-8, 2009.
  2. Ferrara JLM, Levine J, Reddy P, Holler E. Graft-versus-host disease. Lancet, 373:1550-61, 2009.
  3. Paczesny S, Braun TM, Levine JE, Hogan J, Crawford J, Coffing B, Olsen S, Choi SW, Wang H, Faca V, Pitteri S, Zhang O, Chin A, Kitko CL, Mineishi S, Yanik G, Peres P, Hanauer D, Wang Y, Reddy P, Hanash S, Ferrara JLM. Elafin is a biomarker of graft versus host disease of the skin. Sci Transl Med, 13:50-7, 2010.
  4. Gatza E, Wahl DR, Opipari AW, Sundberg TB, Reddy P, Liu C, Glick GD, Ferrara JL. Manipulating the bioenergetics of alloreactive T cells causes their selective apoptosis and arrests graft-versus-host disease. Sci Transl Med, 3:113-20, 2011.
  5. Ferrara JLM & Harris AC, Greenson JK, Braun TM, Holler E, Teshima T, Levine JE, Choi SW, Huber E, Landfried K, Akashi K, Vander Lugt M, Reddy P, Chin A, Zhang Q, Hanash S, Paczesny S. Regenerating islet-derived 3 alpha is a biomarker of gastrointestinal graft-versus-host disease. Blood, 118:6702-8, 2011.


James L.M. Ferrara, M.D., D.Sc., completed his residency in Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital and his fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  He then joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School where he remained until he came to the University of Michigan in 1998.  His principal focus is the pathophysiology of graft versus host disease (GVHD). His research has been continuously funded by the NIH for more than 20 years, and his exceptional contributions have been recognized by several prestigious awards, including an American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professorship, and a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award and a Nobel Lecture in 2012.  Dr. Ferrara is cited in Who’s Who in the World, America’s Top Pediatricians, and America’s Top Doctors for Cancer.  He has received an honorary Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Regensburg, and a Doctorate of Science from Oxford University.