Harikesh Wong

Harikesh Wong, PhD

Principal Investigator

Core Member

Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard

Assistant Professor

Department of Biology, MIT


400 TS

Intercellular Communication, Tissue Microenvironment, Quantitative & Systems Immunology

Research Overview

The Wong lab investigates how the immune system mounts destructive responses against host threats, such as pathogens and tumors, while simultaneously limiting damage to surrounding tissues.

We employ advanced fluorescence microscopy methods, computational modeling, and experimental perturbations to study how communication between multiple cell types controls the immune response within tissue microenvironments. Specifically, we’re interested in how intercellular circuits enable discrimination between self and non-self and how cytokine gradients evolve to promote localized host defense while limiting bystander tissue damage. We also develop computational methods to quantify multicellular spatial organization and dynamics in high-dimensional imaging data sets. Ultimately, we seek to understand how imbalanced cell communication results in detrimental host outcomes, including pathogen dissemination, autoimmunity, and tumorigenesis.


Dr. Harikesh Wong completed his PhD in Cell Biology at the University of Toronto. He then pursued his post-doctoral training with Dr. Ronald N. Germain at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Harikesh will open his lab in early 2022 as a Core Member of the Ragon Institute and an Assistant Professor in the MIT Department of Biology.

Selected Publications

Robust control of the adaptive immune system

Wong HS & Germain RN

2018 Semin Immunol 36, 17–27

T cell subset-selective IL2RA enhancers shape autoimmune diabetes risk

Simeonov DR*, Wong HS*, Cortez JT, Young A, Li Z, Park K, Umhoefer J, Indart AC, Woo JM, Anderson MS, Germain RN*, Marson A*

2020 bioRxiv

Commensal-driven immune zonation of the liver promotes host defence

Gola A, Dorrington MG, Speranza E, Sala C, Shih RM, Radtke AJ, Wong HS, Baptista AP, Hernandez JM, Castellani G., Fraser IDC, Germain RN

2021 Nature 589, 131-136

A local regulatory T cell feedback circuit maintains immune homeostasis by pruning self-activated T cells

Wong HS, Park K, Gola A, Baptista AP, Miller CH, Deep D, Lou M, Boyd LF, Rudensky AY, Savage PA, Altan-Bonnet G, Tsang JS, Germain RN

2021 Cell 184, 1–17

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