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William J Burlingham, PhD

Contact Dr. Burlingham


(608) 263-0388

MC 7375
MADISON, WI 53792-3284

William J Burlingham, PhD

Division of Transplantation


  • PhD, Biology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, 1979
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, National Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Medical School, Rochester, MN, 1980-1983

Professional Activities

Dr. Burlingham serves on the editorial board of Transplantation. He is also the chairman of the University of Wisconsin Spring Immunology Seminar Series.

Research Interests

Dr. Burlingham has developed a highly respected transplant basic research program that focuses on acquired immunologic tolerance. His laboratory hopes to gain insight into graft acceptance by studying transplant recipients who have survived after stopping immunosuppressive drugs.

Specifically, his research focuses on the natural exchange of soluble antigens and low numbers of white blood cells that occurs between mother and child during pregnancy and nursing. The lab’s working hypothesis is that this exchange, which leads to persistence of bone marrow-derived maternal blood cells within the offspring (“microchimerism”) may induce a “natural” form of tolerance. This tolerance, if harnessed, may allow for drug-free acceptance of transplanted grafts. The other major focus of Dr. Burlingham’s lab is the phenomenon of autoimmunity that develops after lung transplantation. A novel type of T Cells, called Th-17, react to collagen type V and cause inflammation and over-production of collagens causing airway blockage and graft loss. His lab is working on ways to inhibit this process by new forms of immune suppressive drugs and by increasing T regulatory cells that normally prevent autoimmune disease.

View Dr. Burlingham’s Google Scholar Citations Profile.

Dr. Burlingham's Lab

Active Clinical Trials

Recent Publications
  • "Cross-Dressing" Becomes Fashionable Among Transplant Recipients.
    Burlingham WJ
    Am. J. Transplant. 2016 Sep 2.
    [PubMed ID: 27589607]
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  • Passenger Leukocytes Revisited: One Passenger That Refuses to Leave the Airspace.
    Burlingham WJ, Braun RK, Meyer KC
    Am. J. Transplant. 2016 Aug; 16(8):2247-9.
    [PubMed ID: 27110691]
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  • Kinetics of Alloantigen-Specific Regulatory CD4 T Cell Development and Tissue Distribution After Donor-Specific Transfusion and Costimulatory Blockade.
    Tomita Y, Satomi M, Baran WB, Gan EJ, Workman AS, Workman CJ, Vignali DA, Burlingham WJ
    Transplant Direct 2016 May; 2(5):e73.
    [PubMed ID: 27500263, PMC ID: 4946513]
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  • Clinical Implications of Basic Science Discoveries: Microchimerism Finds a Major Role in Reproductive Success; but Does It Also Contribute to Transplant Success?
    Burlingham WJ
    Am. J. Transplant. 2016 Mar 14.
    [PubMed ID: 26988284]
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  • Modulation of human allogeneic and syngeneic pluripotent stem cells and immunological implications for transplantation.
    Sackett SD, Brown ME, Tremmel DM, Ellis T, Burlingham WJ, Odorico JS
    Transplant Rev (Orlando) 2016 Apr; 30(2):61-70.
    [PubMed ID: 26970668, PMC ID: 4859756]
    More Information Copyright © 2016 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System