T-Cell Tolerance and Memory Section LIG, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Polly Matzinger has worked as a bartender, carpenter, jazz musician, playboy bunny, and dog trainer. She is currently chief of the ghost lab and the section on T-Cell Tolerance and Memory. She worried for years that the dominant model of immunity does not explain a wealth of accumulated data and suggested an alternative, the Danger model, which suggests that the immune system is far less concerned with things that are foreign than with those that do damage. This model, whose two major tenets z most of what the immune system seems to do right, as well as most of what it appears to do wrong, covering areas as transplantation,autoimmunity, and the immunobiology of tumors. The model has been the subject of a BBC "horizon" film and was featured in three other films about immunity, as well as countless articles in both the scientific and the lay press. In 2013, her section was assigned to the Laboratory of Immunogenetics.
1986: Köln Film Festival Award for Special Excellence in Educational Films, for Das Immunsystem (German translation of Immunity: the inside story; also translated into French, Japanese, Spanish)
1996: Honorary lifetime member of the Scandinavian Society of Immunology
2002: Listed as one of The 50 Most Important Women in Science by Discover magazine, November 2002
2003: Honorary Doctorate from the Limburg’s Universitaire Centrum, Belgium
2008: Listed in Thompson’s “Highly Cited”
2009: The Fearless Scientist Award yearly scholarship given in honor of Polly Matzinger to a student at the University of Rhode Island