S. Celeste Morley, M.D., Ph.D.  morleys@wustl.edu

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Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases
Associate Professor, Pathology & Immunology
Researcher, Pathobiology
Pathology & ImmunologyInfectious Diseases

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.


  • BS, summa cum laude, Duke University1993
  • MD, Harvard Medical School2002
  • PhD, Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences2002


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

Licensure and Board Certification

  • 2005 - PresGeneral Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics
  • 2008 - PresMO, Physician and Surgeon
  • 2009 - PresPediatric Infectious Diseases, American Board of Pediatrics

Honors and Awards

  • 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
  • K08 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
  • Elected to the Society for Pediatric Research2017

Recent Publications view all (38)

  1. L-plastin enhances NLRP3 inflammasome assembly and bleomycin-induced lung fibrosis. Cell Rep. 2022;38(11):110507. PMID:35294888 
  2. Efficient T cell Migration and Activation require L-plastin. Frontiers Immunology. 2022. 
  3. Novel Mouse Model Reveals That Serine Phosphorylation of L-Plastin Is Essential for Effective Splenic Clearance of Pneumococcus. J Immunol. 2021;206(9):2135-2145. PMCID:PMC8323710  PMID:33858961 
  4. Recovery from COVID-19 in a Child with Chronic Granulomatous Disease and T Cell Lymphopenia. J Clin Immunol. 2021;41(1):23-25. PMCID:PMC7588587  PMID:33108551 
  5. miR-125a-5p Regulates Megakaryocyte Proplatelet Formation Via the Actin Bundling Protein L-Plastin. Blood. 2020. PMID:32844999 
  6. The Association of Medications and Vaccination with Risk of Pneumonia in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2020;26(6):919-925. PMCID:PMC7350553  PMID:31504531 
  7. Neutrophil L-Plastin Controls Ocular Paucibacteriality and Susceptibility to Keratitis. Front Immunol. 2020;11:547. PMCID:PMC7147296  PMID:32318063 
  8. L-Plastin deficiency produces increased trabecular bone due to attenuation of sealing ring formation and osteoclast dysfunction. Bone Res. 2020;8:3. PMCID:PMC6976634  PMID:31993243 
  9. Inhaled GM-CSF in neonatal mice provides durable protection against bacterial pneumonia. Sci Adv. 2019;5(8):eaax3387. PMCID:PMC6693910  PMID:31453341 
  10. Cells under stress: The mechanical environment shapes inflammasome responses to danger signals. J Leukoc Biol. 2019. PMID:30645000 
  11. LRRK1 regulation of actin assembly in osteoclasts involves serine 5 phosphorylation of L-plastin. J Cell Biochem. 2018;119(12):10351-10357. PMCID:PMC6218268  PMID:30136304 
  12. Technical Advance: New in vitro method for assaying the migration of primary B cells using an endothelial monolayer as substrate. J Leukoc Biol. 2017;102(3):941-948. PMCID:PMC5557643  PMID:28637896 
  13. Colonization with 19F and other pneumococcal conjugate vaccine serotypes in children in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Vaccine. 2017;35(34):4389-4395. PMID:28687405 
  14. Alveolar macrophage development in mice requires L-plastin for cellular localization in alveoli. Blood. 2016;128(24):2785-2796. doi:10.1182/blood-2016-03-705962  PMCID:PMC5159703  PMID:27758872 
  15. L-Plastin promotes podosome longevity and supports macrophage motility. Mol Immunol. 2016;78:79-88. PMCID:5205537  PMID:27614263 
  16. Mst1 Kinase Regulates the Actin-Bundling Protein L-Plastin To Promote T Cell Migration. J Immunol. 2016;197(5):1683-91. PMCID:PMC4992580  PMID:27465533 
  17. Klebsiella pneumoniae FimK Promotes Virulence in Murine Pneumonia. J Infect Dis. 2016;213(4):649-58. PMCID:PMC4721909  PMID:26347570 
  18. Prevalence of nasopharyngeal pneumococcal colonization in children and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles of carriage isolates. Int J Infect Dis. 2015;39:50-52. PMCID:PMC4620696  PMID:26327122 
  19. HIV-1 Nef drives macrophages into hiding. Blood. 2015;125(10):1512-3. PMID:25745180 
  20. 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 
  21. 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. 
  22. The actin-bundling protein L-plastin supports T-cell motility and activation. Immunol Rev. 2013;256(1):48-62. PMCID:PMC3801223  PMID:24117812 
  23. 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;43(7):1735-44. PMCID:PMC3794664  PMID:23589339 
  24. 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. 
  25. The actin-bundling protein L-plastin: a critical regulator of immune cell function. Int J Cell Biol. 2012;2012:935173. PMCID:PMC3238366  PMID:22194750 
  26. 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 
  27. 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 
  28. 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 
  29. Visual Diagnosis: Skin Ulcerations in a Preterm Newborn NeoReviews. 2009;10:e575. 
  30. Protein kinase C-theta is required for efficient positive selection. J Immunol. 2008;181(7):4696-708. PMCID:PMC2645034  PMID:18802072 
  31. Taking a toll road to better vaccines. Immunity. 2008;28(5):602-4. PMID:18482564 
  32. 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 
  33. 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 
  34. The actin cytoskeleton, membrane lipid microdomains, and T cell signal transduction. Adv Immunol. 2001;77:1-43. PMID:11293114 
  35. Failure of gelsolin overexpression to regulate lymphocyte apoptosis. Blood. 2000;95(11):3483-8. PMID:10828033 
  36. Actin stabilization by jasplakinolide enhances apoptosis induced by cytokine deprivation. J Biol Chem. 1999;274(7):4259-65. PMID:9933626 
  37. 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 
  38. Inhaled GM-CSF in neonatal mice provides durable protection against bacterial pneumonia. Sci. Adv. 
Last updated: 06/13/2022
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