Keli Hippen

Associate Professor, Division of Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation & Cellular Therapy
Faculty, Department of Pediatrics
Research Scientist, Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant (BMT) Center


Dr. Hippen received his BS degree in Biochemistry from Iowa State University in 1990, and a PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology in 1993. Following postdoctoral positions with Dr. John Cambier at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine and Dr. Timothy Behrens in the Department of Rheumatology here at the University of Minnesota, he joined Dr. Blazar's group in Pediatrics.
Dr. Hippen's research is focused on inhibiting Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD), which is a frequent and severe complicating factor in bone marrow transplants. GVHD is a T cell mediated disease that arises in autoimmune fashion due to graft-derived immune cells recognizing recipient cells as non-self. Activation of autoreactive T cells (and those that induce GVHD) is normally prevented by a subset of T cells termed regulatory T cells (Treg). Transplant of donor Treg has been shown to ameliorate disease in mouse models of both GVHD and autoimmunity. Dr. Hippen's specific interest is defining the mechanisms that control human regulatory T cell proliferation and function with the goal of generating large numbers of very active cells that can be co-transferred at the time of bone marrow transplantation and reduce or completely abolish GVHD. These studies have led to 'first-in-man' studies using ex vivo expanded Treg that demonstrated these cells are safe, and can ameliorate GVHD in humans. Dr. Hippen's current projects include: defining Treg signaling pathways that enhance expansion and/or suppressive function and inducing suppressive function using in human T cells (not Treg) via TGFß, nutrient stress, or co-ligation of inhibitory molecules.


PhD in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Fellowships, Residencies, and Visiting Engagements

Postdoctoral Fellowship,
National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine
Denver, Colorado, United States



Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation & Cellular Therapy
Mayo Mail Code 366
420 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Administrative Contact

Elizabeth Soderberg
Administrative Phone: 612-625-8319
Administrative Email:
Administrative Fax Number: 612-626-4074