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Denny Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology Pediatrics Vice Chair of Research Division Chief of Infectious Diseases Scientific Director of Children's Research Institute Co-Director of MD/PhD Program

Dr. Darville is a specialist in the field of infectious diseases. She is an active clinician with several leadership roles within UNC, including: Division Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease, Scientific Director of the CRI, Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Pediatrics and Co-Director of the UNC MD-PhD Program. She has studied the pathogenesis of genital tract disease due to Chlamydia trachomatis for many years. Dr. Darville’s research has discovered immune signaling pathways active in disease development, and continue to pursue studies that explore host-pathogen interactions responsible for induction of disease. She is currently working to develop a vaccine to prevent chlamydial infection, and is pursuing genetic and transcriptional microarray studies to determine biomarkers of disease risk and immune pathways that lead to protection from chlamydial infection and disease.

Education and Training

BA, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
MD, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Residency and Internship, Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Fellowship, Pediatric Infectious Disease, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences


Dr. Darville’s lab has successfully used plasmid-deficient attenuated chlamydial strains that do not induce pathology but lead to induction of protective adaptive immune responses, as tools for separating pathogen-specific virulence factors from pathogen-host interactions that drive protection.

The research is using human blood and genital tract tissue samples collected from women at high risk and followed longitudinally for 12 months to determine chlamydial proteins that induce protective CD4+ Th1 responses. She is examining the role of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and antibody in protection from ascending infection and from reinfection. Active investigations with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells include determination of T cell clonotypic expansion after repeated infection and HLA-types associated with susceptibility and protection from disease.

She is also examining the role of Th17 cells and T regulatory cells in immunopathogenesis of chlamydial infection using human samples and the mouse model. The development of a chlamydial antigen-specific TCR transgenic mouse provides an excellent tool to advance investigations of the adaptive T cell response to chlamydial infection with the ultimate goal to determine mechanisms to induce protective T cell memory.

Her lab is seeking to identify the local inflammatory and fibrotic pathways most strongly regulated during Chlamydia trachomatis infection utilizing specimens obtained from women with chlamydial pelvic inflammatory disease and women with asymptomatic chlamydial infection. They are also working to identify biomarkers for susceptibility to Chlamydia trachomatis infection and progression to tubal pathology.

Toni Darville, MD
  • Address

    Pediatric Infectious Diseases

    8340 MBRB

    CB# 7509

    Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7509