La Jolla Institute appoints Hilde Cheroutre to lead research division

Hilde Cheroutre, Ph.D., an award-winning scientist internationally recognized for her research on the immune system of the intestine and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, has been promoted to lead the Division of Developmental Immunology at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology.


“Hilde is a highly creative scientist whose research innovations have brought her national and international recognition as a pioneering scientist,” said Amnon Altman, Ph.D., La Jolla Institute director of scientific affairs in a press release. “Hilde is regarded as world authority on mucosal immunity and is highly respected by her scientific peers at our Institute and around the globe.  We are pleased to have her serve as the new head of our Developmental Immunology Division and, at the same time, to take this important step toward promoting the status of women at the Institute.”

Developmental Immunology is one of six research divisions at the La Jolla Institute, and was previously led by Dr. Kronenberg, who has stepped down as division head to devote more time to his duties as Institute president and chief scientific officer.

An Institute faculty member for 13 years, Dr. Cheroutre said she was honored by the appointment.  “I am proud to be among the many talented researchers at the La Jolla Institute and appreciate the opportunity to lead one of its research divisions,” she said.

The La Jolla Institute is one of the few research institutes in the world focused on the immense potential of the immune system to improve health and fight disease.  The immune system plays a critical role in health by fighting infections.  However, disorders of the immune system affect millions and include many of society’s most debilitating illnesses.  These include many autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Cheroutre’s expertise in the immunology of the digestive system has brought her to the international forefront of research on inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and other intestinal disorders.  Her research accomplishments, coupled with her novel approaches, have also brought her national recognition as a recipient of the prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pioneer Award in 2009.  The award is given annually to a handful of scientists nationwide by NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., the nation’s highest ranking research official.  The NIH created the award to encourage highly respected scientists to explore bold ideas that have the potential to transform human health.

Dr. Cheroutre joined the La Jolla Institute in 1998 as an assistant member in the Division of Developmental Immunology, becoming an associate member in 2002 and full member in 2007.   In 2007, her seminal discovery that retinoic acid, a vitamin A derivative, can play a critical role in controlling autoimmune diseases and the associated inflammation in the body, published in the prestigious journal Science, was named as one of the key biomedical research advances of the year by Nature Medicine.  Nature Medicine is a highly respected and internationally renowned journal for biomedical research.

Dr. Cheroutre has been awarded the NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship twice and the Cancer Research Coordinating Committee Fellowship from the state of California.  She is past chair of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America grant review committee, a current member of the NIH Cell and Molecular Immunology B grant review committee, and was recently elected by her peers to the council of the Society for Mucosal Immunology.  She is also an adjunct professor in UCSD’s School of Medicine.  Dr. Cheroutre received her Licentiate in Sciences from the State University of Ghent in Belgium, and also received her Ph.D. there in 1984, earning highest honors.  Dr. Cheroutre did her postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology and UCLA, where she worked before joining the La Jolla Institute.

Founded in 1988, the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology is a biomedical research nonprofit focused on improving human health through increased understanding of the immune system.  Its scientists carry out research seeking new knowledge leading to the prevention of disease through vaccines and the treatment and cure of infectious diseases, cancer and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 (juvenile) diabetes, Crohn’s disease and asthma.  La Jolla Institute’s research staff includes more than 100 Ph.D.s and M.D.s. To learn more about the Institute’s work, visit




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