S. Celeste Morley, M.D., Ph.D.  morley_c@kids.wustl.edu

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and of Pathology and Immunology

Infectious Diseases
Pathology & Immunology

email: morley_c@kids.wustl.edu

phone: (314) 454-6050

Pathogenic infections result from the failure of the host immune response to prevent the spread or replication of an invading organism. The immune armamentarium includes a wide variety of innate and adaptive elements that are specifically recruited into responses according to the kind and location of the infection. Adaptive immunity provides antigen specificity, and more importantly, memory of a given infection. Adaptive immunity requires the correct development and regulation of T and B lymphocytes. T and B cell development and activity are controlled by a panoply of cell surface receptors that coordinate lymphocyte motility, adhesion, and activation. Our lab seeks to understand the intracellular molecular complexes that integrate the signals transduced from these various receptors. We are currently focused on elements of the actin cytoskeleton as coordinators of signal integration. Actin cytoskeletal elements provide platforms for the assembly of molecular signaling complexes, as well as providing the cellular structure required for the shape changes required for movement and activation. We are working with one specific actin-bundling protein called L-plastin. L-plastin is required for full T cell activation and motility. We are using mice genetically deficient for L-plastin to probe the precise requirements for L-plastin in immune function. Please see our Projects page for details.


  • B.S., Duke University, 1993
  • M.D., Harvard Medical School, 2002
  • Ph.D., Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, 2002


  • Intern, Duke University Medical Center, 2002 - 2003
  • Resident, Duke University Medical Center, 2003 - 2005
  • Fellow, Washington University School of Medicine, 2005 - 2008

Licensure and Board Certification

  • General Pediatrics, 2005
  • State of Missouri, Physician and Surgeon, 2008
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases, American Board of Pediatrics, 2009


  • 5th place, Westinghouse Science Talent Search (now Intel STS), 1989
  • National Merit Scholarship Finalist, 1989
  • IBM Watson Scholarship , 1989 - 1993
  • Provost’s Award for Academic Merit, Duke University, 1989 - 1993
  • Dean’s List with Distinction, Duke University, 1990 - 1992
  • Barry M. Goldwater scholarship award, Duke University, 1991 - 1993
  • Faculty Scholar Honorable Mention, Duke University, 1993
  • Graduation summa cum laude, Duke University, 1993
  • Medical Scientist Training Program award, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 1993
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Duke University, 1993
  • Pre-Intramural Research Training Award, NHLBI, NIH, Bethesda, MD, 1997
  • Fellowship Award for Research Excellence, NIH, Bethesda, MD, 2000
  • Medical Student Teaching Award, Pediatric Residency Program, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, 2003
  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, 2005
  • James A. Stockman III Resident Teaching Award, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, 2005
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society-St. Jude’s Fellowship Award in Basic Research, 2005
  • David Gilstrap Memorial Award, 2006
  • KO8 Award, NIH, Bethesda, MD. “Integration of T Cell Receptor and Chemokine Signaling in Thymocytes.”, 2009
  • Scholar, Child Health Research Center of Excellence, Washington University School of Medicine , 2009
  • Children’s Discovery Institute New Faculty Scholar Award, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 2010
  • James Sutherland Award for outstanding abstract presentation from a junior faculty member, Midwest Society for Pediatric Research Annual Meeting, Iowa City, IA., 2010
  • Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Research Award, March of Dimes, 2013
  • Children’s Discovery Institute Interdisciplinary Research Initiative Award, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO., 2013
  • Reappointment as a Scholar of the Child Health Research Center of Excellence in Developmental Biology at Washington University School of Medicine, 2013

Recent Publications view all (16)

PEDIATRICS Co-Authors S. Celeste Morley, M.D., Ph.D.

Pediatrics has a long tradition of collaboration across the department. The faculty above have co-authored publications with S. Celeste Morley, M.D., Ph.D.
1. Rosen, D. A., Hilliard, J. K., Tiemann, K. M., Todd, E. M., Morley, S. C., Hunstad, D. A. (2015). Klebsiella pneumoniae FimK Promotes Virulence in Murine Pneumonia. The Journal of infectious diseases PubMed: 26347570.

2. Zhou, J. Y., Isaacson-Schmid, M., Utterson, E. C., Todd, E. M., McFarland, M., Sivapalan, J., Niehoff, J. M., Burnham, C. D., Morley, S. C. (2015). Prevalence of nasopharyngeal pneumococcal colonization in children and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of carriage isolates. International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases PubMed: 26327122.

3. Deady, L. E., Todd, E. M., Davis, C. G., Zhou, J. Y., Topcagic, N., Edelson, B. T., Ferkol, T. W., Cooper, M. A., Muenzer, J. T., Morley, S. C. (2014). L-plastin is essential for alveolar macrophage production and control of pulmonary pneumococcal infection. Infection and immunity, 82 (5), 1982-93. PMCID: PMC3993441 PubMed: 24595139.

4. Rodriguez M, Nelson M, Kelly JE, Elward A, Morley SC. (2014). Successful use of temocillin as salvage therapy for cervical osteomyelitis secondary to multidrug-resistant Burkholderia cepacia.. 3 (1), 77-80.

5. Todd, E. M., Deady, L. E., Morley, S. C. (2013). Intrinsic T- and B-cell defects impair T-cell-dependent antibody responses in mice lacking the actin-bundling protein L-plastin. European journal of immunology PubMed: 23589339.

6. Watson Jr M E, Morley SC (2012). Streptococcus Intermedius Brain Abscesses in an Adolescent Male with Histoplasma Infection. Pediatric Oncall [serial online] 2012 [cited 2012 October 1]; 9. Art # 62. Available from: http://www.pediatriconcall.com/fordoctor/casereports/BrainAbscesses.asp .

7. Todd, E. M., Deady, L. E., Morley, S. C. (2011). The actin-bundling protein L-plastin is essential for marginal zone B cell development. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 187 (6), 3015-25. PMCID: PMC3169714 PubMed: 21832165.

8. Wang, C., Morley, S. C., Donermeyer, D., Peng, I., Lee, W. P., Devoss, J., Danilenko, D. M., Lin, Z., Zhang, J., Zhou, J., Allen, P. M., Brown, E. J. (2010). Actin-bundling protein L-plastin regulates T cell activation. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 185 (12), 7487-97. PMCID: PMC3027212 PubMed: 21076065.

9. Morley, S. C., Wang, C., Lo, W. L., Lio, C. W., Zinselmeyer, B. H., Miller, M. J., Brown, E. J., Allen, P. M. (2010). The actin-bundling protein L-plastin dissociates CCR7 proximal signaling from CCR7-induced motility. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 184 (7), 3628-38. PMCID: PMC2855624 PubMed: 20194718.

10. Wambach J, Morley SC (2009). Visual Diagnosis: Skin Ulcerations in a Preterm Newborn. NeoReviews, 10, e575.