Meet the PI

Dr. Ferrara is a physician-scientist whose clinical and research career has focused on the immunology of bone marrow transplantation (BMT), particularly its major complication graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). Using trailblazing proteomic techniques, his team has identified and validated unexpected biomarkers for skin, gut and steroid-resistant GVHD. He has created exceptionally large and informative biorepositories and then mined them to meld these biomarkers into the first algorithm that predicts response to treatment and that can guide GVHD therapy. Dr. Ferrara’s pioneering mechanistic studies have illuminated unexpected interactions between the innate and adaptive immune systems and have led to both conceptual breakthroughs and the discovery of novel therapeutic targets. A superb clinician and world-class clinical investigator, his decades-long focus on GVHD has significant potential impact in making BMT safer and more effective for all patients.

Dr. Ferrara graduated Cum laude from Georgetown Medical School and then completed his pediatric residency at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and his fellowship in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He joined the faculty of Harvard Medical School in 1987 where he remained until 1998 when he went to the University of Michigan as the Ruth Heyn Professor of Pediatric Oncology to direct the combined adult and pediatric BMT program. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mout Sinai recruited Dr. Ferrara in 2014 to become the Ward-Coleman professor of Cancer medicine and to direct the Center for Translational Resarch in Hematologic Malignancies. He created the Mt. Sinai Acute GVHD International Consortium (MAGIC), a group of ten BMT centers throughout the US and Europe to conduct ground-breaking clinical trials in GVHD.

Dr. Ferrara is the only pediatrician to chair the steering committee of the NIH BMT Clinical Trials Network, whose scientific agenda he significantly advanced.  A charismatic mentor committed to fostering the next generation of researchers, he served as principal investigator for a major training grant in Molecular and Translational Pediatric Hematology.  Two thirds of the fifty fellows have become medical school faculty, with at least ten considered as international BMT leaders in their own right.


1990       Junior Faculty Research Award, American Cancer Society

1993       Scholar Award, Leukemia Society of America

1997       Member, American Society for Clinical Investigation

 Alexander von Humboldt Research Prize, German Republic

 America’s Top Doctors

 Who’s Who in America

 American Pediatric Society

2002       Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award

 Outstanding Clinician Award, University of Michigan Medical School

2003       Member, Association of American Physicians

2004       Senior Fellow, Michigan Society of Fellows

2008       American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor

2009       Doctor of Medicine (h.c.) University of Regensburg, Germany

 Doctor of Science, Oxford University

2011       E. Donnell Thomas Lecturer, Am Society of BMT

 Visiting Fellowship, All Soul’s College, Oxford, England

2012       Nobel Lecture, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden