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Neuroimmunological Diseases Unit - Division of Intramural Research


Bibiana Bielekova Image

Bibiana Bielekova, M.D., Investigator

Dr. Bielekova received an M.D. degree in 1993 from Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. After a medical internship at SUNY Downstate, Medical Center in Brooklyn and a neurology residency at the Boston University, she did 3 year postdoctoral research fellowship at the NIH/NINDS/Neuroimmunology Branch (NIB). She remained at NIB for additional 5 years as staff physician, focusing on development of novel therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS). In 2005 she became associate professor of neurology and director of the Waddell Center for MS at University of Cincinnati. In 2008 she moved back to NINDS as an investigator. Her laboratory is studying mechanisms of immunoregulation in humans and mechanisms of tissue injury in neuroimmunological diseases, such as MS. In addition, Dr. Bielekova is in charge of the clinical service of the Neuroimmunology Branch and is principal investigator on several innovative Phase I/II clinical trials and natural history protocols.

Laboratory Staff

Mika Komori, M.D., Ph.D., Visiting Fellow
Peter Kosa, Ph.D., Research Fellow
Yen-Chih Lin, Ph.D., Research Fellow
Ina Mexhitaj, B.A., Post baccalaureate IRTA Fellow
Elena Romm, M.Sc, Research Assistant
Blake Snyder, B.A., Post baccalaureate IRTA Fellow
Pin Wang, M.D., Special Volunteer
Simone Wuest, Ph.D., Visiting Fellow

Research Interests

Neuroimmunological Diseases Unit (NDU) has two major areas of interest: First, we study mechanisms of immunoregulation in humans with special emphasis on immunoregulatory natural killer (NK) cells and IL-2/IL-2R system. We are investigating mechanisms that maintain immune tolerance (i.e. mechanisms that assure that immune system does not attack normal tissue) in healthy human subjects and in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) a putative autoimmune disorder of the central nervous system (CNS). Second, we are interested to define targets of the immune response in neuroimmunological diseases, mechanisms that participate in CNS tissue destruction and to define in-vivo biomarkers that reflect prevailing mechanisms of CNS tissue injury in neuroimmunological diseases.

Our laboratory focuses on human subjects and extensive functional in-vitro studies are complemented with in-vivo observations derived from Phase I/II clinical trials that target pathways/molecules of interest defined in the laboratory. This allows us to correlate therapy-induced changes on the immune system functions to neuroimaging and functional measures of neurological disability, providing in-vivo relevance for the observed biological alterations. Our long-term goal is to develop novel, potentially curative immunomodulatory therapies for MS and to develop neuroprotective strategies for neuroimmunological diseases. Furthermore, we strive to define and validate biomarkers indicative and predictive of therapeutic response to different treatment modalities.


Selected Recent Publications

  • Bielekova, B.
    Daclizumab therapy for multiple sclerosis, Neurotherapeutics, 2013, vol. 10(1), pp. 55-67.
  • Bielekova, B., Komori, M., Xu, Q., Reich, D.S. and Wu, T
    Cerebrospinal fluid IL-12p40, CXCL13 and IL-8 as a combinatorial biomarker of active intrathecal inflammation, PLoS One, 2012, vol. 7(11), pp. e48370.
  • Perry, J.S., Han, S., Xu, Q., Herman, M.L., Kennedy, L.B., Csako, G. and Bielekova, B.
    Inhibition of LTi cell development by CD25 blockade is associated with decreased intrathecal inflammation in multiple sclerosis, Science Translational Medicine, 2012, vol. 4(145), pp. 145ra106.
  • Bielekova B., Richert, N., Herman, M.L., Ohayon, J., Waldmann, T.A., McFarland, H., Martin, R. and Blevins, G.
    Intrathecal effects of daclizumab treatment of multiple sclerosis, Neurology, 2011, vol. 77(21), pp. 1877-1886.
  • Wuest, S., Edwan, J., Martin, J., Han, S., Perry, J., Cartagena, C., Matsuura, E., Maric, D., Waldmann, T.A., and Bielekova, B.
    A vital role for IL-2 trans-presentation in DC-mediated T cell activation as revealed by daclizumab therapy, Nature Medicine, 2011, vol. May; 17(5), pp. 604-609.
  • Jiang, W., Chai, N. R., Maric, D. and Bielekova, B.
    Unexpected role for granzyme K in CD56bright NK cell-mediated immunoregulation of multiple sclerosis, Journal of Immunology (Jun 10, Epub ahead of print), 2011
  • Bielekova, B. and Becker, B.L
    Monoclonal antibodies in MS: mechanisms of action, Neurology, 2010, vol. 74 (Suppl 1), pp. S31-S40.
  • Martin, M., Perry, J., Jakhete, N., Wang, X and Bielekova, B.
    An IL-2 paradox: Blocking CD25 on T Cells Induces IL-2-driveb Activation of CD56bright NK cells, Journal of Immunology, 2010, vol. 185(2), pp. 1311-1320.

Selected Earlier Publications


Contact Information

Neuroimmunological Diseases Unit
Bld 10/Rm 5C103
10 center Drive MSC 1400
Bethesda, MD 20892

Telephone: 301-402-4488 (office), 301-496-4734 (laboratory)
Email: Bibi.Bielekova@nih.gov