Melissa M. Herbst-Kralovetz, PhD

Melissa M. Herbst-Kralovetz, PhD portrait
    • Primary Address
    • Office
    • University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix
    • ABC-1 Building
    • 425 North 5th Street
    • Phoenix, AZ, United States 85004



  • Postdoctoral Fellowship 2008, Mucosal Vaccine Development, The Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University
  • PhD 2006, Experimental Pathology, Sealy Center for Vaccine Development, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston


Dr. Herbst-Kralovetz’s laboratory is broadly interested in understanding innate mucosal immune responses to resident bacteria, pathogens, and microbial products at mucosal sites, including the female reproductive tract (FRT). Her lab is interested in studying the mucosal barrier function of the FRT and its role in host defense and maintaining mucosal homeostasis, which is widely relevant to infection, immunity, reproduction and even cancer. She has a long-standing interest in women’s health.

As a member of the University of Arizona Cancer Center Dr. Herbst-Kralovetz has had the opportunity to establish productive and rewarding collaborations with other members. She has a broad working knowledge of human immune responses, molecular biology, an in-depth understanding of sexually transmitted infection (STI) research, and believes she has demonstrated innovation and creativity in these research endeavors.

Dr. Herbst-Kralovetz's long-term career goal is to further develop a unique area of expertise in the field of mucosal immunology, and to apply these skills in the arena of innate and reproductive immunology to enhance women’s health. A continued focus is on mucosal immunobiology, with special emphasis on cellular regulatory pathways, which can be modulated or influenced by microbiota to prevent carcinogenesis is planned. Specifically she is interested in studying how the vaginal microbiome impacts the reproductive mucosa to create microenvironments that may lead to inflammation and epithelia barrier disruption that promote carcinogenesis. She has extensive experience in mucosal immunology, modeling infectious disease, molecular biology and bioreactor technology as evidenced by 23+ publications in these areas.

In addition, Dr. Herbst-Kralovetz has significant expertise in evaluating human mucosal immune responses, epithelial-specific innate immune responses, and the structure and function of 3-D organotypic epithelial cell culture models. During this time she has developed productive and rewarding collaborations with cancer experts including those within the UA Cancer Center. Similarly, she has active collaborations with individuals with different areas of expertise, which maximizes the potential and feasibility for expansion of his proposed projects.