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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

Caspi Named Chief of NEI Laboratory of Immunology

Dr. Rachel Caspi

Dr. Rachel Caspi

Dr. Rachel Caspi has been named chief of the NEI Laboratory of Immunology. 

A longtime member of the NIH intramural community, Caspi is among the foremost authorities on uveitis—an autoimmune disease of the eye that accounts for up to 15 percent of blindness in developed nations. Her uveitis mouse model has been adopted worldwide, enabling significant contributions to understanding of the disease. Her studies of basic mechanisms driving uveitis have informed the design of clinical trials for uveitis. 

In 2015, she showed that intestinal bacteria are capable of triggering uveitis by a mechanism involving recognition of a surrogate bacterial antigen, a finding with implications for other autoimmune disorders.

“Dr. Caspi has repeatedly introduced new concepts, challenged established dogmas and shifted paradigms—driving the uveitis field forward and creating new lines of inquiry,” said NEI scientific director Dr. Sheldon Miller. 

Caspi holds a Ph.D. from Bar Ilan University, Israel. She joined NEI in 1984 as a visiting fellow in the Laboratory of Immunology. Since 1990, she has served as chief of the lab’s section on immunoregulation. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She served as deputy chief of the Laboratory of Immunology from 1999 until she became acting chief in 2016.

“Throughout her career, Dr. Caspi has been devoted to training, earning a reputation as one of the NEI’s most outstanding and effective mentors,” said Miller. She has mentored more than 60 trainees.

Caspi has authored or coauthored more than 230 publications. She is the recipient of the 2010 Friedenwald award and the 2012 Alcon Research Institute award.

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