Heather Zwickey, PhD

Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, Professor of Immunology, NCNM
Director, Helfgott Research Institute


Dr. Heather Zwickey serves as Dean of Research and Graduate Studies at NCNM and Director of NCNM's Helfgott Research Institute. Her initial training at the world renowned National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver focused on immunological challenges to vaccine development for tuberculosis. After completing her PhD at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, she began a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University where she worked with Drs. Ira Mellman and Ralph Steinman. Dr. Zwickey's research examined the potential for autoimmune sequelae from dendritic cell cancer vaccines. At NCNM, Dr. Zwickey identify mechanisms by which natural therapies stimulate immune responses. Her research experience examining the effects of botanicals, probiotics, diet, and hydrotherapy on immunological parameters in humans is pivotal to achieving this task. Dr. Zwickey also expores the mechanisms involved in infectious disease, cancer, autoimmune disease, psychoneuroimmunology, and immunological tolerance.

Dr. Zwickey has previously taught Immunology (ND), Integrative Immunology (CCM), Vaccine Elective and Gut Immunology Elective. Current courses include:

•    BAS437   Immunology
•    CLS620E   Gut Immunology

Getting to know Dr. Zwickey
Birthplace: Lake Crystal, MN
High School: Lake Crystal High School
Activities: Skiing, hiking, music, traveling
Favorite Quote: "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure." - Helen Keller
Music: Van Morrison, Sonia Dada, Lyle Lovett, Johnny Cleg & Savuka, O.A.R., Snow Patrol, Little Big Town, Virginia Coalition, Chris Brown, Paula Cole
Movies: Dave, Strictly Ballroom, Leaving Normal, X-Men, Love Actually, It's a Wonderful Life, Beyond Rangoon, The Mission, North by Northwest, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Batman Begins, Die Hard, Speed, etc.
Sitcom: I prefer football and basketball to comedy TV
Historical Figure: MLK
Personal Style: Helper
Hobbies: Paint, sculpt, play music (piano, flute, piccolo,oboe and a little guitar). Also, I love traveling to countries with cultures very different than the U.S. (like Brazil and Tanzania, most recently.)
Favorite Vacation Spot: Hawaii, Colorado
Favorite Restaurant: del Inti
What I like best about Portland: Portland is a laid-back city. It has all the benefits of some of the larger cities (concerts, plays, professional basketball, museums, etc.) without the pomp and circumstance of the larger cities. It's only an hour to the coast, but it's also only an hour to the mountains. What could be better?

Important Links


OHSU Library


Helfgott Research Institute


Institute for Vaccine Safety

Soil and Health – Nature Cure

Immunology Nobel Prize Winners


Bike Commute Challenge

Swahili – English Dictionary

Velo Asia


Growing Gardens

Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D. Immunology and Microbiology  Sept. 1993-Oct. 1998
  University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC), Denver, CO
  Dissertation:  Processing of Antigens Secreted by Non-cytoplasmic 
  L. monocytogenes  and Presentation by MHC Class I molecules
B.A. cum laude Mathematics  Sept. 1987-June 1991
  St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN  
National College of Natural Medicine  Portland, OR
Dean of Research June 2007-present
Director of Research  Jan. 2002-present
Professor of Immunology  
Projects:   Evidence Based Medicine Curriculum Development Aug. 2007-present
  Anti-Inflammatory Diet for Type II Diabetes Sept. 2006-present
  Immmune Activation with Constitutional Hydrotherapy Sept. 2005-present
  Herbal Effects on Immune Parameters Sept. 2003-present
  Comparison of Two Anti-inflammatory Diets for Psoriasis Aug. 2008-present
  Organic Cotton vs Semi-Synthetic Rayon Blend Tampons Jan. 2010-present
  Hibiscus to Reduce Cholesterol in Metabolic Syndrome Oct. 2010-present
  Fertility Supplement June 2010-present
  Relaxation and Visualization for Breast Cancer Sept. 2005-2010
Oregon Health and Sciences University Portland, OR
Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Neurology May 2005-present
Projects:  Negative Cognition and Inflammation June 2006-present
  OHSU Investigator: Beth Darnall, PhD  
  CAMEO: Conditioned treatment of EAE May 2005-2009
  VA Investigator: Richard Jones, PhD  
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
Project: Acupressure for Women with Long-term Fatigue Post Breast Cancer Treatment Sept. 2010-present
  UM Investigator: Suzanna Zick, ND  
Africa Bridge Tukuyu, Tanzania and
Co-Investigator Lake Oswego, OR
Project: Childhood Stunting in Children in the Isongole Ward Jan. 2008-present
Pontificia Universidade Catolica Do Rio Grange Do Sol  Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil
Collaborator July 2002-present
Yale University School of Medicine  New Haven, CT
Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Ira Mellman  May 1999-Jan. 2002
  Collaborator: Ralph Steinman, Rockefeller University
Project:   Analyzing the cell biology of antigen processing of self and foreign antigens by dendritic cells.
National Jewish Medical and Research Center  Denver, CO
Postdoctoral Fellow with Dr. Terry Potter  Oct. 1998-Apr. 1999
Projects:   Determining whether a single MHC-peptide complex could mediate skin graft rejection
  Defining attenuator peptides that are generated during a human immune response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis to be used as vaccine candidates
National Jewish Medical and Research Center  Denver, CO
Graduate Student at UCHSC with Dr. Terry Potter  Sept. 1993-Oct. 1998
Thesis Research:   Using LLO- Listeria monocytogenes to model class I antigen presentation of bacteria that are confined to an intracytoplasmic vesicle
Brookhaven National Laboratory   Upton, NY
Summer Research Intern with Dr. Brenda Laster  June 1988-Aug.1988
Project:   Using a mouse model to test toxicity of a new laser activated drug directed toward glial blastoma tumors
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory   Berkeley, CA
Summer Research Intern with Dr. Mina Bissell June 1987-Aug. 1987
Project:   Designing an in vitro culture system for primary breast tumor cells
National College of Natural Medicine  Portland, OR
Special Project: Development of the Master’s of Science of Integrative Medicine Degree Program Aug. 2010-present
Professor of Immunology Oct. 2011-present
Associate Immunology Professor April 2001-present
Immunology April 2001-present
Integrative Immunology Sept 2007-present
Cellular Systems April 2002-present
Microbiology April 2005-2007
Research and Biostatistics  April 2002-2010
Introduction to Cancer (Genetics) April 2002-present
Vaccine Balancing Act (CE Course) Nov. 2005-present
Gut Immunology (CE Course and Elective) March 2004-present
Naturopathic Research (CE Course) June 2002
Technology for Naturopathic Physicians (CE Course) June 2002
Immunology Update (CE Course) December 2001
Oregon Mini-Med School Organizer 2009-present
Resident Education Seminars 2007-present
•  American Association of Immunology
•  American Association for the Advancement of Science
•  National Vaccine Safety Committee Writing Group
•  New York Academy of Science
•  Institutional Review Board of Oregon College of Oriental Medicine
•  Institutional Review Board of National College of Naturopathic Medicine
•  Editorial Board, International Journal of Naturopathic Medicine
•  Editorial Board, Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
•  International Society for Complementary Medicine Research
•  Academic Consortium for Complementary and Alternative Health Care (ACCAHC) 
•  Research Working Group (RWG) Co-Chair
•  Natural Doctors International Board of Directors
•  Peer Reviewer, National Institutes of Health; Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Click here for a complete CV, including:
•  Seminars, Lectures and Workshops
•  Peer Reviewed Publications
•  Reviews, Articles & Abstracts
•  Funded Projects
•  Special Projects

Updated Nov. 2, 2012