Andrew W. Taylor, PhD

Associate Dean of Research

Andrew Taylor
72 E. Concord St Instructional (L)


A large part of our research effort has been to characterize the immunosuppressive and immunoregulating factors within immune privilege tissues. Through immunochemical and biological analysis of aqueous humor, the fluid filling the anterior chamber of the eye, we have identified several potent immunoregulating and immunosuppressing neuropeptides that 1) suppress the activation of effector Th1 cells, 2) suppress the activation and the inflammatory activity of macrophages, and 3) mediate the induction of antigen-specific regulatory T cells.

Our research has found constitutively present neuropeptides in the immune privileged eye, alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (a-MSH), vasoactive intestinal peptide, calcitonin gene related peptide, and somatostatin. Collectively, the neuropeptides in aqueous humor suppress activation of delayed type hypersensitivity of adaptive immunity, and endotoxin activation of macrophages in innate immunity. Individually, the neuropeptides target different cells and stages in the induction of an immune response. Also we have preliminary data suggesting a role for the ocular neuropeptides in the regulation of macrophage functionality in the immune privileged eye.

We are finding that within the ocular microenvironment the activation of macrophages to pathogens does not promote inflammation, but promotes suppressor functionality in the macrophages. These macrophages respond to pathogens without mediating inflammation, or activating T cells. Moreover, the macrophages produce anti-inflammatory cytokines, suppress and possibly induce apoptosis in activated T cells, and produce enzymes associated with wound repair. We have preliminary evidence that this is mediated by neurotransmitters of the sympathetic nervous system, norepinephrine and neuropeptide Y along with a-MSH and somatostatin.

As we continue to examine the mechanisms of ocular immune privilege we further promote the importance of the interactions between the nervous and the immune systems and how we can use these interactions to beneficially manipulate immunity.

Other Positions

  • Professor, Ophthalmology, Boston University School of Medicine


  • Ohio State University, PhD
  • Ohio State University, MS
  • University of Wisconsin Madison, BS


  • Published on 1/14/2019

    Spana C, Taylor AW, Yee DG, Makhlina M, Yang W, Dodd J. Probing the Role of Melanocortin Type 1 Receptor Agonists in Diverse Immunological Diseases. Front Pharmacol. 2018; 9:1535. PMID: 30692924.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 11/1/2018

    Benque IJ, Xia P, Shannon R, Ng TF, Taylor AW. The Neuropeptides of Ocular Immune Privilege, a-MSH and NPY, Suppress Phagosome Maturation in Macrophages. Immunohorizons. 2018 Nov; 2(10):314-323. PMID: 30613828.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/12/2018

    Taylor AW, Ng TF. Negative regulators that mediate ocular immune privilege. J Leukoc Biol. 2018 Feb 12. PMID: 29431864.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/1/2017

    Wang E, Choe Y, Ng TF, Taylor AW. Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells Suppress Phagolysosome Activation in Macrophages. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2017 Feb 01; 58(2):1266-1273. PMID: 28241314.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/1/2017

    Taylor AW. Reference Module in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology. Immunosuppressive and Anti-inflammatory Molecules That Maintain Immune Privilege of the Eye. 2017.

    Read at: Custom
  • Published on 11/25/2016

    Lee DJ, Preble J, Lee S, Foster CS, Taylor AW. MC5r and A2Ar Deficiencies During Experimental Autoimmune Uveitis Identifies Distinct T cell Polarization Programs and a Biphasic Regulatory Response. Sci Rep. 2016 11 25; 6:37790. PMID: 27886238.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/8/2016

    Taylor AW. Ocular Immune Privilege and Transplantation. Front Immunol. 2016; 7:37. PMID: 26904026.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/25/2016

    Clemson CM, Yost J, Taylor AW. The Role of Alpha-MSH as a Modulator of Ocular Immunobiology Exemplifies Mechanistic Differences between Melanocortins and Steroids. Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 2017 Apr; 25(2):179-189. PMID: 26807874.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 4/15/2015

    Lee DJ, Taylor AW. Recovery from experimental autoimmune uveitis promotes induction of antiuveitic inducible Tregs. J Leukoc Biol. 2015 Jun; 97(6):1101-9. PMID: 25877928.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/29/2015

    Taylor AW, Dixit S, Yu J. Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cell Line Suppression of Phagolysosome Activation. Int J Ophthalmol Eye Sci. 2015 Jan 29; Suppl 2(1):1-6. PMID: 25905107.

    Read at: PubMed

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