Find Faculty Members at MUSC.

Leonardo Ramos Ferreira PhD

Leonardo Ramos Ramos Ferreira PhD

Provider Image
  • Assistant Professor
  • College of Medicine
  • Microbiology and Immunology
Academic Focus
  • Regulatory T cells
  • CAR T cell, CAR Treg therapy
  • Type 1 diabetes, Cancer
Faculty email addresses should not be used to seek medical advice or to make medical appointments. Please visit MyChart for medical appointments or to contact your provider.


Office Location


My goal is to control how the immune system recognizes self and non-self. This knowledge will allow us to reestablish immune tolerance in autoimmunity and organ transplant rejection, as well as to enhance immunity in cancer and persistent infections. I have the broad expertise and motivation necessary to successfully carry out this work. I am an Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Immunology and, by courtesy, of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Biology at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and the Hollings Cancer Center. As a graduate student at Harvard University with professors Jack Strominger and Chad Cowan, I studied human pregnancy as a model of immune tolerance and uncovered an enhancer element regulating the expression of the nonclassical tolerance-inducing molecule HLA-G. I was also the first to report the use of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing in clinically relevant primary human cells – hematopoietic stem cells and CD4+ T cells – and generated hypoimmunogenic human pluripotent stem cells by combined CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockout and knock-in. As a postdoctoral scholar with professors Qizhi Tang and Jeffrey Bluestone at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), I created an anti-HLA-A2 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and used CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knock-in to replace the endogenous T cell receptor (TCR) gene with this CAR gene in primary human regulatory T cells (Tregs). The resulting CAR Tregs were suppressive specifically upon recognizing HLA-A2 in vitro and in humanized mice, and trafficked to transplanted HLA-A2+ human islets. My laboratory focuses on using engineered immune receptors to systematically study how specificity, affinity, and signaling modulate T cell function in autoimmunity and organ transplant rejection, as well as on using this knowledge to develop new cellular therapies.