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

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases
Assistant Professor, Pathology & Immunology
Pathology & ImmunologyInfectious DiseasesPathobiology

phone: (314) 454-6050

Clinical Interests

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., summa cum laude, Duke University1993
  • Ph.D., Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences2002
  • M.D., Harvard Medical School2002


  • Intern, Duke University Medical Center2002 - 2003
  • Resident, Duke University Medical Center2003 - 2005
  • Fellow, Washington University School of Medicine2005 - 2008

Licensure and Board Certification

  • General Pediatrics2005
  • MO, Physician and Surgeon2008
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases, American Board of Pediatrics2009


  • 5th place, Westinghouse Science Talent Search (now Intel STS)1989
  • National Merit Scholarship Finalist1989
  • IBM Watson Scholarship1989 - 1993
  • Provost’s Award for Academic Merit, Duke University1989 - 1993
  • Dean’s List with Distinction, Duke University1990 - 1992
  • Barry M. Goldwater scholarship award, Duke University1991 - 1993
  • Faculty Scholar Honorable Mention, Duke University1993
  • Graduation summa cum laude, Duke University1993
  • Medical Scientist Training Program award, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA1993
  • Phi Beta Kappa, Duke University1993
  • Pre-Intramural Research Training Award, NHLBI, NIH, Bethesda, MD1997
  • Fellowship Award for Research Excellence, NIH, Bethesda, MD2000
  • Medical Student Teaching Award, Pediatric Residency Program, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC2003
  • Alpha Omega Alpha, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC2005
  • James A. Stockman III Resident Teaching Award, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC2005
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society-St. Jude’s Fellowship Award in Basic Research2005
  • David Gilstrap Memorial Award2006
  • 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 Medicine2009
  • Children’s Discovery Institute New Faculty Scholar Award, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO2010
  • 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 Dimes2013
  • 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 Medicine2013

Recent Publications view all (25)

Publication Co-Authors

  1. Todd EM, Zhou JY, Szasz TP, Deady LE, D'Angelo JA, Cheung MD, Kim AHJ, Morley SC. Alveolar macrophage development in mice requires L-plastin for cellular localization and retention within alveoli. Blood. 2016. doi:10.1182/blood-2016-03-705962  
  2. Zhou JY, Szasz TP, Stewart-Hutchinson PJ, Sivapalan J, Todd EM, Deady LE, Cooper JA, Onken MD, Morley SC. L-Plastin promotes podosome longevity and supports macrophage motility. Mol Immunol. 2016;78:79-88. PMID:27614263  
  3. Xu X, Wang X, Todd EM, Jaeger ER, Vella JL, Mooren OL, Feng Y, Hu J, Cooper JA, Morley SC, Huang YH. Mst1 Kinase Regulates the Actin-Bundling Protein L-Plastin To Promote T Cell Migration. J Immunol. 2016. PMID:27465533  
  4. Rosen DA, Hilliard JK, Tiemann KM, Todd EM, Morley SC, Hunstad DA. Klebsiella pneumoniae FimK Promotes Virulence in Murine Pneumonia. J Infect Dis. 2015. doi:10.1093/infdis/jiv440  PMID:26347570  
  5. Zhou JY, Isaacson-Schmid M, Utterson EC, Todd EM, McFarland M, Sivapalan J, Niehoff JM, Burnham CA, Morley SC. Prevalence of nasopharyngeal pneumococcal colonization in children and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of carriage isolates. Int J Infect Dis. 2015. doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2015.08.010  PMID:26327122  
  6. Morley SC. HIV-1 Nef drives macrophages into hiding. Blood. 2015;125(10):1512-3. PMID:25745180  
  7. Deady LE, Todd EM, Davis CG, Zhou JY, Topcagic N, Edelson BT, Ferkol TW, Cooper MA, Muenzer JT, Morley SC. L-plastin is essential for alveolar macrophage production and control of pulmonary pneumococcal infection. Infect Immun. 2014;82(5):1982-93. doi:10.1128/IAI.01199-13  PMCID:PMC3993441  PMID:24595139  
  8. Rodriguez M, Nelson M, Kelly JE, Elward A, Morley SC. Successful Use of Temocillin as Salvage Therapy for Cervical Osteomyelitis Secondary to Multidrug-Resistant Burkholderia cepacia. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2014;3(1):77-80. PMID:26624908  
  9. Rodriguez M, Nelson M, Kelly JE, Elward A, Morley SC. Successful use of temocillin as salvage therapy for cervical osteomyelitis secondary to multidrug-resistant Burkholderia cepacia. J Ped Infect Dis. 2014;3(1):77-80. 
  10. Morley SC. The actin-bundling protein L-plastin supports T-cell motility and activation. Immunol Rev. 2013;256(1):48-62. PMCID:PMC3801223  PMID:24117812  
  11. Todd EM, Deady LE, Morley SC. Intrinsic T- and B-cell defects impair T-cell-dependent antibody responses in mice lacking the actin-bundling protein L-plastin. Eur J Immunol. 2013. doi:10.1002/eji.201242780  PMID:23589339  
  12. Watson Jr M E, Morley SC. 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 2012. 
  13. Morley SC. The actin-bundling protein L-plastin: a critical regulator of immune cell function. Int J Cell Biol. 2012;2012:935173. PMCID:PMC3238366  PMID:22194750  
  14. Todd EM, Deady LE, Morley SC. The actin-bundling protein L-plastin is essential for marginal zone B cell development. J Immunol. 2011;187(6):3015-25. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1101033  PMCID:PMC3169714  PMID:21832165  
  15. Wang C, Morley SC, Donermeyer D, Peng I, Lee WP, Devoss J, Danilenko DM, Lin Z, Zhang J, Zhou J, Allen PM, Brown EJ. Actin-bundling protein L-plastin regulates T cell activation. J Immunol. 2010;185(12):7487-97. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1001424  PMCID:PMC3027212  PMID:21076065  
  16. Morley SC, Wang C, Lo WL, Lio CW, Zinselmeyer BH, Miller MJ, Brown EJ, Allen PM. The actin-bundling protein L-plastin dissociates CCR7 proximal signaling from CCR7-induced motility. J Immunol. 2010;184(7):3628-38. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.0903851  PMCID:PMC2855624  PMID:20194718  
  17. Wambach J, Morley SC. Visual Diagnosis: Skin Ulcerations in a Preterm Newborn NeoReviews. 2009;10:e575. 
  18. Morley SC, Weber KS, Kao H, Allen PM. Protein kinase C-theta is required for efficient positive selection. J Immunol. 2008;181(7):4696-708. PMCID:PMC2645034  PMID:18802072  
  19. Morley SC, Allen PM. Taking a toll road to better vaccines. Immunity. 2008;28(5):602-4. PMID:18482564  
  20. Morley SC, Sung J, Sun GP, Martelli MP, Bunnell SC, Bierer BE. Gelsolin overexpression alters actin dynamics and tyrosine phosphorylation of lipid raft-associated proteins in Jurkat T cells. Mol Immunol. 2007;44(9):2469-80. doi:10.1016/j.molimm.2006.09.024  PMCID:PMC1945820  PMID:17178161  
  21. Celeste Morley S, Sun GP, Bierer BE. Inhibition of actin polymerization enhances commitment to and execution of apoptosis induced by withdrawal of trophic support. J Cell Biochem. 2003;88(5):1066-76. doi:10.1002/jcb.10449  PMID:12616543  
  22. Morley SC, Bierer BE. The actin cytoskeleton, membrane lipid microdomains, and T cell signal transduction. Adv Immunol. 2001;77:1-43. PMID:11293114  
  23. Posey SC, Martelli MP, Azuma T, Kwiatkowski DJ, Bierer BE. Failure of gelsolin overexpression to regulate lymphocyte apoptosis. Blood. 2000;95(11):3483-8. PMID:10828033  
  24. Posey SC, Bierer BE. Actin stabilization by jasplakinolide enhances apoptosis induced by cytokine deprivation. J Biol Chem. 1999;274(7):4259-65. PMID:9933626  
  25. Palanivel V, Posey C, Horauf AM, Solbach W, Piessens WF, Harn DA. B-cell outgrowth and ligand-specific production of IL-10 correlate with Th2 dominance in certain parasitic diseases. Exp Parasitol. 1996;84(2):168-77. doi:10.1006/expr.1996.0102  PMID:8932766