Division of Gastroenterology

Kathy McCoy


Assistant Professor (PT), Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine





I am interested in how hygiene status, or exposure to microbial stimulus early in life, can influence susceptibility to diseases such as allergy and autoimmunity. Using germ-free and gnotobiotic techniques my research program aims to determine the impact of microbial exposure on the developing immune system and focuses on elucidation of the mechanisms involved, with particular emphasis on long-range effects on development of allergic diseases.


Axenic and gnotobiotic techniques, in vivo animal models, flow cytometry, RT-PCR, ELISA, immunohistochemistry, cell culture, laser capture microscopy, B and T cell functional assays, bacteriology.

Selected Publications

  1. McCoy KD, Stoel M, Stettler R, Merky P, Fink K, Senn BM, Schaer C, Massacand J, Odermatt B, Oettgen HC, Zinkernagel RM, Bos NA, Hengartner H, Macpherson AJ and Harris NL. 2008. Polyclonal and specific antibodies mediate protective immunity against enteric helminth infection. Cell, Host & Microbe. 4: October 16, 2008: In press
  2. Macpherson AJ, McCoy KD, Johansen F-E and Brandtzaeg P. The immune geography of IgA induction and function. Mucosal Immunol. 1: 11-22
  3. Pochanke V, Koller S, Dayer R, Hatak S, Ludewig B, Zinkernagel RM, Hengartner H, McCoy KD. 2007. Identification and characterization of a novel antigen from the nematode Nippostrongylus brasiliensis recognized by specific IgE. European Journal of Immunology 37(5):1275-1284.
  4. Smith, K., McCoy KD, Macpherson, A. J. 2007. Use of axenic animals in studying the adaptation of mammals to their commensal intestinal microbiota. Semin Immunol Apr;19(2):59-69.
  5. Pochanke V, Hatak S, Hengartner H, Zinkernagel RM, and McCoy KD. 2006. Induction of IgE and allergic-type responses in fur mite-infested mice. European Journal of Immunology Sep;36(9):2434-45.
  6. McCoy KD, Harris NL, Diener P, Hatak S, Odermatt B, Hangartner L, Senn BM, Marsland BJ, Geuking MB, Hengartner H, Macpherson AJ and Zinkernagel RM. 2006. Natural IgE production in the absence of MHC Class II cognate help. Immunity 24: 329-339.
  7. Hangartner L, Zellweger RM, Giobbi M, Weber J, Eschli B, McCoy KD, Harris N, Recher M, Zinkernagel RM, and Hengartner H. 2006. Non-neutralizing antibodies binding to the surface glycoprotein of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus reduce early virus spread. Journal of Experimental Immunology Aug 7;203(8):2033-42.
  8. MacPherson AJ, Geuking MB, McCoy K. 2005. Immune responses that adapt the intestinal mucosa to commensal intestinal bacteria. Immunology Jun;115(2):153-62.
  9. Probst, HC, McCoy K, Okazaki T, Honjo, T, van den Broek, M. 2005. Resting dendritic cells induce peripheral CD8+ T cell tolerance through PD-1 and CTLA-4. Nature Immunology 6(3): 280-286.