Kerry Empey

PharmD, PhD
Associate Dean of Graduate & Postdoctoral Programs

Dr. Kerry Empey is the Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs in the School of Pharmacy and Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacy and Therapeutics and Center for Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences. She holds secondary appointments in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute and in the Department of Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh. As a clinician-scientist, Dr. Empey conducts NIH-funded clinical and translational research aimed at understanding critical immune targets involved in inefficient neonatal host immune responses to pulmonary infections with the primary goal of improving disease outcomes through immune modulating therapies, including vaccines, cytokines, and small molecules.

She received her PharmD from the University of Rhode Island and completed PGY1 and PGY2 residencies in Pharmacy Practice and Infectious Diseases at the University of Kentucky. She earned a PhD in Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Kentucky before accepting a faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to her role as Associate Dean, Dr. Empey also chairs the Graduate Curriculum Committee and the PharmD Research ARCO (Area of concentration). Dr. Empey contributes to both the PharmD and Graduate curriculum in multiple ways. Specifically, she teaches in the graduate Foundations course. She also created and coordinates Clinical Pharmacy Environments, a unique, hands-on course designed to introduce pharmacy-based clinical research to graduate-level students. Within the PharmD curriculum, she teaches pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, pharmacy and therapeutics and immunology.
The Empey Lab is interested in understanding the role of age-based factors that influence host immune responses to pulmonary infections that are prominent in infant and childhood populations. Specifically, Dr. Empey's lab studies how age-dependent immune factors influence early life viral pulmonary infections and response to direct and maternal immunization strategies. The Empey Lab also evaluates immune modulating strategies to improve immune responses to viral infections such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). RSV is a pulmonary virus that infects the very young, the elderly, and the immune compromised. Children that develop severe RSV disease at a young age have a higher risk for developing allergic asthma. Thus The Empey Lab is also interested in understanding the immune mechanisms associated with RSV-associated asthma and identifying immune targets to mitigate this risk. Dr. Empey works with several industry partners in testing the safety and efficacy of vaccine candidates in their novel infant mouse model of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection and has several patent applications in this space. In addition to their small animal work, Dr. Empey works with pediatricians at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to translate their findings in mice to human children to better understand cellular responses to viruses and treatments using ex vivo models. Dr. Empey's lab uses a variety of tools to address these important research questions, including computational approaches. This strategy is critical to assess the network of immune pathways that respond to viruses and treatments. Taken together, the Empey lab uses multiple approaches to address clinically important research question related to childhood responses to pulmonary viruses.

Graduate Program Affiliation(s)
Clinical pharmaceutical scientist
Center Affiliation(s)
Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences Center
Practice Area/Expertise
Dr. Empey has expertise in the pharmacology of immune modulating drugs and vaccines, with particular expertise in age-dependent host immunity. She also has expertise in the areas of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of monoclonal antibodies.
Honors / Awards
Dean’s List, University of Maine, College of Chemistry
Inducted, Golden Key National Honor Society
Inducted, Rho Chi
Inducted, Lambda Kappa Sigma
APhA-ASP Counseling Competition Finalist, URI Chapter
Dean’s List, URI College of Pharmacy
Wyeth-Ayerst Infectious Disease Fellow
Research Challenge Trust Foundation Fellowship
AFPE Pharmaceutical Sciences Graduate Student Recognition Award
Clinical Research Scholars Program – Graduate, High Distinction
David and Betty Brenneman Scholar Award
AFPE Gateway to Research Award, on behalf of research student
AAI Travel award, on behalf of graduate student
PLOS One top 25% most cited manuscript
Selected for the Women in Academic Leadership (WIN-AL) Program
Recent Publications

1. Empey KM. The Facts on Antibiotic Conversion Therapy. JAAPA. 2001 Nov;14(11): 40
2. Rapp RP, Empey KM. Editorial: Antimicrobial Cycling. Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 2001 Oct;35(10): 1289-90. PMID: PMID:11675862

3. Empey KM, Rapp RP, Evans ME. The Effect of an Antimicrobial Formulary Change on Resistance Patterns at a University Hospital. Pharmacotherapy. 2002 Jan;22(1):81-7.
PMID: PMID: 11794434

4. Romanelli F, Empey KM, Pomeroy C. Macrocytosis as an indicator of medication (zidovudine) adherence in patients with HIV infection. AIDS Patient Care and STDs. 2002 Sep;16(9):405-11. PMID: PMID12396692

5. Rapp RP, Evans M, Martin C, Ofotokun I, Empey K, Armitstead JA. Drug Costs and Bacterial Susceptibility After Implementing A Single-Fluoroquinolone Use Policy at A University Hospital. Current Medical Research and Opinion. 2004 Apr;20(4):469-476. PMID: PMID15119984

6. Empey KM, Hollifield M, Schuer K, Gigliotti F, Garvy BA. Passive Immunization of Neonatal Mice Against Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. muris Enhances Control of Infection Without Stimulating Inflammation. Infection and Immunity. 2004 Nov;72(11):6211-6220. PMID: PMID15501746; PMCID: PMC523030

7. Qureshi MH, Empey KM, Garvy BA. Modulation of Pro-inflammatory Responses to Pneumocystis carinii f. sp. muris in Neonatal Mice by GM-CSF and IL-4: Role of Antigen Presenting Cells. Journal of Immunology. 2005 Jan 1;174(1):441-8. PMID: PMID15611269

8. Martin C, Ofotokun I, Rapp R, Empey K, Armitstead J, Pomeroy C, Hoven A, Evans M. Results of an Antimicrobial Control Program at a University Hospital. AJHP 2005 Apr 62(7):732-8. PMID: PMID15790801

9. Empey KM, Hollifield M, Garvy BA. Exogenous heat-killed Escherichia coli improves alveolar macrophage activity and reduces Pneumocystis carinii lung burden in infant mice. Infection and Immunity. 2007 Jul;75(7):3382-93.
PMID: PMID17485459; PMCID: PMC1932967

10. Empey KM, RS Peebles, JK Kolls. Pharmacologic advances in the treatment and prevention of respiratory syncytial virus. Clin Infect Dis. 2010 50(9), 1258-1267. PMID: PMID20235830; PMCID: PMC2851489
11. Poloyac SM, Empey KM, Rohan LC, Skledar SJ, Empey PE, Nolin TD, Bies RR, Gibbs RB, Folan M, Kroboth PD. Core Competencies for Research Training in the Clinical Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. Am J Pharm Ed. 2011 Mar 10;75(2):27. PMID: PMID21519417; PMCID: PMC3073101

12. Kurkjian C, Hollifield M, Lines JL, Rogosky A, Empey KM, Qureshi M, Brown SA, and Garvy BA. Alveolar macrophages in neonatal mice are inherently unresponsive to Pneumocystis infection. Spotlight article. Infect and Immun. 2012 Aug;80(80):2835-46
13. Empey KM, Orend JG†, Peebles RS, Jr., Norris KA, Oury TD, and Kolls JK. Stimulation of immature lung macrophages with intranasal interferon gamma in a novel neonatal mouse model of respiratory syncytial virus. PLoS One. Epub 2012 Jul 7(7):e40499.
PMID: PMID22792355; PMCID: PMC3391240

14. Smith MA#, Hibino M#, Falcione B, Eichinger KM#, Patel R#, Empey KM. Immunosuppressive aspects of analgesics and sedatives used in mechanically ventilated patients: an underappreciated risk factor for the development of ventilator-associated pneumonia in critically ill patients. Annals Pharmacother. 2014 Jan;48(1):77-85.
PMID: PMID24259637; PMCID: PMC4052449

15. Kling HM, Nau GJ, Ross TM, Evans TM, Chakraborty K, Empey KM, Flynn JL. Challenges and Future in Vaccines, Drug Development, and Immunomodulatory Therapy: Proceedings from the 2013 Pittsburgh Lung Conference. Annals of the Am Thoracic Soc. 2014 Aug;11(Suppl 4):S201-S210. PMID: PMID25148426; PMCID: PMC4200570

16. Eichinger KM#, Egaña L†, Orend JG†, Resetar E#, Patel R#, Empey KM. Alveolar macrophages support interferon gamma-mediated viral clearance in RSV-infected neonatal mice. Respir Research. 2015 Oct;16:122. PMID: PMID26438053; PMCID: PMC4594958
- Cited by other leaders in the field, including Peter Openshaw and Fiona Culley
17. Hendricks MR, Lashua LP, Fischer DK, Flitter BA, Eichinger KM#, Durbin JE, Sarker SN, Coyne CB, Empey KM, Bomberger JM. Respiratory syncytial virus infection enhances Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm growth through dysregulation of nutritional immunity. PNAS. 2016 Feb;113(6):1642-7. PMID: PMID26729873; PMCID: PMC4760822

18. Eichinger KM#, Resetar E#, Orend J†, Anderson K, Empey KM. Age predicts cytokine kinetics and innate immune cell activation following intranasal delivery of IFNγ and GM-CSF in a mouse model of RSV infection. Cytokine. 2017 May;97:25-37.
PMID: PMID28558308; PMCID: PMC5541950

19. Gong T, Zhang W, Parniak MA, Graebing PW, Moncla B, Gupta P, Empey KM, Rohan LC. Preformulation and Vaginal Film Formulation Development of Microbicide Drug Candidate CSIC for HIV Prevention. J pharmaceutical innovation. 2017 June 01; 12(2):142-154.
PMID: PMID28983328; PMCID: PMC5624728

20. Eichinger KM# and Empey KM. Data describing IFNγ-mediated clearance in an adult mouse model of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Elsevier Data-in-Brief. 2017 July 19; 14:272-277. PMID: PMID28861450; PMCID: PMC5567392

21. Eichinger KM#, Kosanovich JL†, Empey KM. Localization of an anti-viral T cell response to RSV infection is altered in infant mice. Pediat. Pulmonology. 2018; 53:145-153.
PMID: PMID29115050; PMCID: PMC5775046

22. Eichinger KM#, Kosanovich JL†, Gidwani SV, Zomback A, Lipp MA, Perkins TN, Oury TD, Petrovsky N, Marshall CP, Yondola MA, Empey KM. Prefusion RSV F immunization elicits Th2-mediated lung pathology in mice when formulated with a Th2) but not a Th1/Th2-balanced) adjuvant despite complete viral protection. Front Immunol. Front. Immunol. 2020 July 29; 11:1673. PMID: 32849580
23. Kosanovich JK†, Eichinger KM#, Lipp MA#, Yondola MA, Perkins TN, Empey KM. Formulation of the prefusion RSV F protein with a Th1/Th2-balanced adjuvant provides complete protection without Th2-skewed immunity in RSV-experienced young mice. Vaccine. 2020, Sep 22;38(31):6357-6362. PMID: 32829976
24. Eichinger KM#, Kosanovich JL†, Lipp MA#, Perkins TN, Petrovsky NP, Marshall CP, Yondola MA, Empey KM.Maternal immunization with adjuvanted RSV prefusion F protein effectively protects offspring from RSV challenge and alters innate and T cell immunity. Vaccine. 2020, Nov 25; 38(50):7885-7891. PMID:33129608
25. TN Perkins, KN Killian, JL Kosanovich, MA Lipp, KM Empey. The receptor for advanced glycation endproducts promotes severe neutrophilic airway disease via NLRP3 inflammasome action. Conference: American Thoracic Society 2022 International Conference, May 13-18, 2022. San Francisco, CA
26. PR Hartmeier, JL Kosanovich, KY Velankar, J Amen-Luke, MA Lipp, ES Gawalt, N Giannoukakis, KM Empey, WS Meng. Immune cells activating biotin-decorated PLGA protein carrier. 2022, May 18; Mol. Pharmaceutics.
27. Eichinger KM, Kosanovich JL, Perkins TN, Oury TD, Petrovsky N, Marshall CP, Yondola MA, Empey KM. Prior respiratory syncytial virus infection reduces vaccine-mediated Th2-skewed immunity but retains enhanced RSV F-specific CD8 T cell responses elicited by a Th1-skeweing vaccine formulation. Front Immunol. 2022 Oct 4; 13:1025341.
28. Patel A, Kosanovich J, Sansare S, Balmuri S, Sant V, Empey KM*, Sant S*. In vitro and in vivo evaluation of cerium oxide nanoparticles in respiratory syncytial virus infection. Bioact Mater. 2022 Dec 15;24:124-135. *Co-senior authorship
29. Perkins TN, Killian KK, Kosanovich JL, Lipp MA, Empey KM, Oury TD. RAGE promotes allergen driven severe neutrophilic airway inflammation via NLRP3 inflammasome activation in mice. Front Immunol. 2023 Jan 26; 14:1039997.
Reviews, invited published papers, monographs, and book chapters
30. McGarr KL. Treatments for Cough and Cold Symptoms: Patient Information. Harvard Pilgrim Health Center Patient Pamphlet. Sept/Oct 1998
31. McGarr KL, Benson-Sardo P. Decreasing Antibiotic Prescriptions for Viral Infections and Decreasing Bacterial Resistance. Harvard Pilgrim Health Center Newsletter. Sept/Oct 1998
32. McGarr KL, Robinson C. Co-editor Kentucky Konnection, Annual Pharmacy Practice Residency Newsletter: 1999 and 2000
33. Empey KM. Ketamine (Ketalar®) Sedation monograph production and design for use within the deep sedation guidelines at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington, KY. 2000
34. Empey KM. Methohexital (Brevitol®) Sedation monograph production and design for use within the deep sedation guidelines at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington, KY. 2000
35. Empey KM. Propofol (Diprivan®) Sedation monograph production and design for use within the deep sedation guidelines at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, Lexington, KY. 2000
36. Empey KM, Peebles RS, Kolls JK. Pharmacologic Advances in the Treatment and Prevention of Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Clin Infect Dis. 2010 May 1; 50(9):1258-67.
PMID: PMID20235830; PMCID: PMC2851489

37. Empey KM and Kolls JK. Neonatal Pulmonary Host Defense Mechanisms. In: Fetal and Neonatal Physiology, 4th Ed. Chapter 159, p 1701. Elsevier Ed. By Polin, Fox, Abman. 2011
38. Good M, Kolls JK, Empey KM. Neonatal Pulmonary Host Defense Mechanisms. In: Fetal & Neonatal Physiology, 5th Ed. Chap 130, Elsevier Ed. By Polin, Fox, Abman. July 15, 2016
39. Empey KM, Janssen WJ, Peebles RS. Lung Innate Immunity and Inflammation: Mouse Models of Viral Infection. In: Methods & Protocols. Springer Ed. By Alper & Janssen. 2018
40. Strategies for active and passive pediatric RSV immunization. Ther Adv Vaccines Immunother. Eichinger KM, Kosanovich JK, Lipp M, Empey KM, Petrovsky N. 2021, Feb 10; 9:1-21.
41. Good M, Kolls JK, Empey KM. Neonatal Pulmonary Host Defense Mechanisms. In: Fetal & Neonatal Physiology, 6th Ed. Chap 130, Elsevier Ed. By Polin & Abman. August 3, 2021

Hypercholesterolemia in the Elderly: Pharmacological Treatment versus No Treatment. University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI. 1997

Pharmacokinetics in Obesity. University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI. 1997

Clopidogrel: An Alternative Antiplatelet Agent. University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI. 1998

Herceptin: A New Agent in the Fight Against Breast Cancer. University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI. 1998

Statin Use in the Normal Population. University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI. 1998

Management of Chemotherapy-induced Emesis in Childhood Cancer. University of Rhode Island, Providence, RI. 1998
HIV/AIDS Antiretroviral Resistance. Coastal Medical Center, Providence, RI. 1998

Strongyloides Case Report. University of Kentucky Hospital, Lexington, KY. 1999

Fever in the Critically Ill. University of Kentucky Hospital, Residency Seminar, Lexington, KY. 1999

Syndrome of Inappropriate Antidiuretic Hormone. University of Kentucky Hospital, Residency Seminar, Lexington, KY. 2000

Pharmacological Management of Cancer Pain. University of Kentucky Hospital, Residency Seminar, Lexington, KY. 2000

AZT-Induced Macrocytosis; A Retrospective Chart Review. University of Kentucky Residency Seminar, Lexington, KY. 2000

Gemifloxacin; A Novel Fluroquinolone With Improved Anti-Gram-Positive Activity. University of Kentucky Hospital Residency Seminar, Lexington, KY. 2000

Case Report: Vancomycin Failure in a Patient with MRSA Osteomyelitis. University of Kentucky Hospital Residency Seminar, Lexington, KY. 2000

The Incidence of AZT-induced Macrocytosis at a University Hospital Outpatient Clinic. Pharmacy Residency Southeastern Conference, Atlanta, GA. 2000

The Association Between Zidovudine Therapy and Macrocytosis at a University Hospital Outpatient Clinic. American College of Clinical Pharmacy, Monterey, CA. 2000

New Antimicrobial Agents. Advances in Pharmacy Practice Annual Fall Conference. 2000

The Association Between Zidovudine Therapy and Macrocytosis at a University Hospital Outpatient Clinic. Kentucky Society of Health-
Systems Pharmacists Conference, Lexington KY. 2000

Antimicrobial Resistance: Understanding Therapeutic Choices. Annual Resource Management Conference, Chicago, IL. 2000

Coxsackie Disease and Myocarditis. University of Kentucky Hospital Residency Seminar, Lexington, KY. 2001

The Effect on Resistance Patterns in a University-Based Hospital. University of Kentucky Clinical Research Discussion Group. 2001
Community-Acquired Pneumonia in Children. University of Kentucky Hospital Residency Seminar, Lexington, KY. 2001

Antimicrobial Formulary Changes; The Effect on Resistance Patterns in A University-Based Hospital. Infectious Disease Fellowship Forum, Chicago, IL. 2001

Antimicrobial Formulary Changes; The Effect on Resistance Patterns in a University Hospital. Southeastern Residency Conference, Athens, GA. 2001

Immunomodulation to Improve Pneumocystis Clearance in Neonatal Mice. Autumn Immunology Conference, Chicago, IL. 2003

Improving Pneumocystis Clearance through Immunomodulation. University of Kentucky, College of Pharmacy Weekly Seminar Series. 2004

Immunomodulation to Improve Pneumocystis Clearance in Neonatal Mice. BIRCWH, K-30, COBRE Spring Retreat, Lexington, KY. 2004

The role of Neonatal Alveolar Macrophages against Pneumocystis pneumonia. Autumn Immunology Conference, Chicago, IL. 2004

The use of GM-CSF to fight neonatal pulmonary infections. University of Kentucky Infectious Diseases Chalk Talk. 2006
Immunomodulation to improve Pneumocystis clearance from pup lungs. Infectious Diseases Fellow’s Conference, Lexington, KY. 2007

Primary RSV infant mouse model for the advancement of vaccine research. University of Pittsburgh CTSI, University of Pittsburgh. 2011

Immune Modulation to Improve Neonatal RSV Infection. University of Pittsburgh CTSI. 2013

Immunomodulation: An age-dependent model of RSV infection. Department of Immunology, Seminar Series, Pittsburgh, PA. 2015

Antibody production and immune priming in maternal and direct infant RSV vaccination, Immunology Department Research in Progress, Pittsburgh, PA. Jan 29th, 2019

Invited Speaking Engagements Related to My Research
Results of a Four-Year Effort to Control the Use of Antimicrobial Agents at a University-Affiliated Hospital. Presented at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. San Diego, CA. 2002

The Role of Infant Lung Macrophages in Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pediatric Infectious Diseases Research Seminar Series. 2011

Immune Enhancement Strategies for Fighting Infectious Diseases. Center for Vaccine Research, Research Seminar, Pittsburgh, PA. 2011

Monoclonal Antibodies and Immune Modulation in RSV Disease. ICAAC, Chicago, IL. 2011

Animal-based Research: Making a difference for Society. PA Society for Biomedical Research, Pittsburgh, PA. 2014
The role of infant alveolar macrophages in RSV disease. National Jewish Hospital, Denver, CO. 2015

Interferon gamma: Friend or Foe in RSV infected infant lungs. University of Kentucky Department Seminar, Lexington, KY. 2015

Animal-based Research: Making a Difference for Society. Division of Laboratory Animal Resources, Pittsburgh, PA. 2016

Age-dependent immunity regulates host immune response to RSV infection. University Hospital, Ann Arbor, MI. September 2017

Ethics in research: managing expectations. University of Michigan College of Pharmacy, Ann Arbor, MI. September 2017
Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Fall Leadership Conference: Preventive Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, September 2017

DS-Cav1/AdvaxTM for maternal RSV vaccination. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health; Rockville, MD

Maternal vaccination to prevent RSV disease in mother and child. Touro University, College of Medicine, Henderson, NV. November 7, 2018

Th2-mediated pathology is associated with poor neutralizing antibody responses in dams and offspring following maternal RSV immunization. Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. March 28, 2019

Infant immunity to RSV disease in a maternal-to-infant vaccination mouse model. St. Louise University, St. Louise, MO. April 23, 2020
Most Promising COVID-19 Vaccine Candidates. Live Webinar for Continuing Education. Oct 6, 2020.

Pharmacy Researchers developing safe and effective vaccines: From Polio to COVID-19. Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh, PA, Feb 2021

Vaccine Development and the Role of the Pharmacist. Pharmacy, Innovations, Experience, and Research – PIER. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA, 2021

Vaccine Development. RxPlore. University of Pittsburgh, School of Pharmacy. Pittsburgh, PA, 2021
University of at Texas, Austin, College of Pharmacy. Maternal
Immunization Strategies to Improve Protection against Respiratory Syncytial Virus. Austin, Tx, 2022