Whitney Elizabeth Harrington, MD, PhD

Whitney Elizabeth Harrington, MD, PhD

Infectious Disease and Virology

On staff since July 2018

Children's Title: Physician, Division of Infectious Diseases, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle, Washington

Academic Title: Assistant Professor, Pediatric Infectious Diseases

"Every day I am inspired by my patients and their families. I strive to provide thoughtful and personalized care to support them in their journeys both locally and globally."

  • Whitney E. Harrington, MD PhD. Physician, Division of Infectious Diseases, Seattle Children's Hospital; Member, Center for Global Infectious Diseases Research, Seattle Children's Research Institute; Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Harrington's research focuses on immunology and infection at the maternal-fetal interface.

    Dr. Harrington completed her Pediatric Residency and Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship at Seattle Children's Hospital / University of Washington. She enjoys seeing pediatric infectious disease patients in the inpatient and outpatient settings at Seattle Children's Hospital.

    Dr. Harrington's research is focused on maternal-fetal immunology and infection during pregnancy and infancy. In particular, she investigates the role of maternal microchimerism (maternal cells acquired by the fetus during pregnancy) in fetal and infant immunity to malaria, HIV, and early vaccination. She is a member of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

  • Award Name Award Description Awarded By Award Date
    Alberta Corkery Travel Fellowship Award, Seattle Childrens Hospital 2017
    Seattle Childrens Hospital Fellow and Resident Research Day Outstanding Abstract Award 2016
    Alberta Corkery Travel Fellowship Award, Seattle Childrens Hospital 2015
    Frederic C Moll Prize in Pediatrics, University of Washington 2012
    Nomination for the Family Medicine Professionalism Award, University of Washington 2011
    Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) Honors Society 2011
    Nomination for Outstanding Dissertation Award, University of Washington Pathobiology Program 2010
    Spotlight on Research, University of Washington School of Public Health 2010
    Young Investigator Award, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2009
    Travel Award for Annual Meeting, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2009
    Outstanding Student Award, University of Washington School of Public Health 2009
    Martin Luther King Community Service Award, University of Washington School of Medicine 2007
    Radcliffe Travel Grant (London, UK) 2002
    W. Barry Wood Memorial Scholarship, Harvard University 2001
    Detur Book Prize for Academic Excellence, Harvard University 2001
    John Harvard Academic Scholarship, Harvard University 2001
    American Association of University Women Scholarship 2000
  • Manuscripts in Refereed Journals

    • Harrington WE, Mató S, Burroughs L, Carpenter PA, Gershon A, Schmid DS, Englund JA
      Vaccine Oka Varicella Meningitis in Two Adolescents.
      31776194 Pediatrics, 2019 Dec. : 144(6)
    • Harrington WE, Kakuru A, Jagannathan P
      Malaria in pregnancy shapes the development of foetal and infant immunity.
      30019470 Parasite immunology, 2019 March : 41(3)e12573
    • Shree R, Harrington WE, Kanaan SB, Forsyth A, Cousin E, Lopez A, Nelson JL, Gammill HS
      Fetal microchimerism by mode of delivery: a prospective cohort study.
      30102819 BJOG : an international journal of obstetrics and gynaecology, 2019 Jan. : 126(1)24-31 PMCID:PMC6294652
    • Wilson MR, O'Donovan BD, Gelfand JM, Sample HA, Chow FC, Betjemann JP, Shah MP, Richie MB, Gorman MP, Hajj-Ali RA, Calabrese LH, Zorn KC, Chow ED, Greenlee JE, Blum JH, Green G, Khan LM, Banerji D, Langelier C, Bryson-Cahn C, Harrington W, Lingappa JR, Shanbhag NM, Green AJ, Brew BJ, Soldatos A, Strnad L, Doernberg SB, Jay CA, Douglas V, Josephson SA, DeRisi JL
      Chronic Meningitis Investigated via Metagenomic Next-Generation Sequencing.
      29710329 JAMA neurology, 2018 April 16 : PMCID:PMC5933460
    • Gammill HS, Harrington WE
      Microchimerism: Defining and redefining the prepregnancy context - A review.
      28911790 Placenta, 2017 Dec. : 60130-133 PMCID:PMC5718967
    • Harrington WE, Kanaan SB, Muehlenbachs A, Morrison R, Stevenson P, Fried M, Duffy PE, Nelson JL
      Maternal Microchimerism Predicts Increased Infection but Decreased Disease due to Plasmodium falciparum During Early Childhood.
      28329160 The Journal of infectious diseases, 2017 May 1 : 215(9)1445-1451 PMCID:PMC5790147
    • Kanaan SB, Gammill HS, Harrington WE, De Rosa SC, Stevenson PA, Forsyth AM, Allen J, Cousin E, van Besien K, Delaney CS, Nelson JL
      Maternal microchimerism is prevalent in cord blood in memory T cells and other cell subsets, and persists post-transplant.
      28638735 Oncoimmunology, 2017 : 6(5)e1311436 PMCID:PMC5467984
    • Harrington WE, Fried M, Duffy PE
      Defending the Use of Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine for Intermittent Preventive Treatment for Malaria in Pregnancy: A Short-Sighted Strategy.
      26290607 The Journal of infectious diseases, 2016 Feb. 1 : 213(3)496-7 PMCID:PMC4704669
    • Patel AS, Bruce M, Harrington W, Portman MA
      Coronary artery stenosis risk and time course in Kawasaki disease patients: experience at a US tertiary pediatric centre.
      25815208 Open heart, 2015 : 2(1)e000206 PMCID:PMC4369001
    • Taylor SM, Antonia AL, Harrington WE, Goheen MM, Mwapasa V, Chaluluka E, Fried M, Kabyemela E, Madanitsa M, Khairallah C, Kalilani-Phiri L, Tshefu AK, Rogerson SJ, Ter Kuile FO, Duffy PE, Meshnick SR
      Independent lineages of highly sulfadoxine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum haplotypes, eastern Africa.
      24960247 Emerging infectious diseases, 2014 July : 20(7)1140-8 PMCID:PMC4073871
    • Kabyemela E, Gonçalves BP, Prevots DR, Morrison R, Harrington W, Gwamaka M, Kurtis JD, Fried M, Duffy PE
      Cytokine profiles at birth predict malaria severity during infancy.
      24130857 PloS one, 2013 : 8(10)e77214 PMCID:PMC3795067
    • Harrington WE, Morrison R, Fried M, Duffy PE
      Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnant women is associated with increased risk of severe malaria in their offspring.
      23451036 PloS one, 2013 : 8(2)e56183 PMCID:PMC3581554
    • Harrington W, McGready R, Muehlenbachs A, Fried M, Nosten F, Duffy P
      Intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine: the times they are a-changin'.
      22715177 Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2012 Oct. : 55(7)1025-6; author reply 1026-7
    • Harrington WE, Mutabingwa TK, Kabyemela E, Fried M, Duffy PE
      Intermittent treatment to prevent pregnancy malaria does not confer benefit in an area of widespread drug resistance.
      21765070 Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, 2011 Aug. 1 : 53(3)224-30 PMCID:PMC3202321
    • Muehlenbachs A, Fried M, McGready R, Harrington WE, Mutabingwa TK, Nosten F, Duffy PE
      A novel histological grading scheme for placental malaria applied in areas of high and low malaria transmission.
      20929353 The Journal of infectious diseases, 2010 Nov. 15 : 202(10)1608-16 PMCID:PMC3006170
    • Harrington WE, Mutabingwa TK, Muehlenbachs A, Sorensen B, Bolla MC, Fried M, Duffy PE
      Competitive facilitation of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasites in pregnant women who receive preventive treatment.
      19451638 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2009 June 2 : 106(22)9027-32 PMCID:PMC2690058
    • Harrington WE, Duffy PE
      Congenital malaria: rare but potentially fatal. (Review)
      Pediatric Health, 2008 April : 2(2)235-248
    • Mistry N, Harrington W, Lasda E, Wagner EJ, Garcia-Blanco MA
      Of urchins and men: evolution of an alternative splicing unit in fibroblast growth factor receptor genes.
      12554864 RNA (New York, N.Y.), 2003 Feb. : 9(2)209-17 PMCID:PMC1370387

    Other Publications

    • Harrington, WE
      Intergenerational immune interactions: Malaria and maternal microchimerism
      Infectious Diseases Hub, 2017 Sept.

  • Presentations Title Event Location Date
    The Influence of Maternal Microchimerism on Malaria Outcomes Laboratory for Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH Rockville, MD Oct. 2017
    Malaria and Microchimerism: Intergenerational Immune Interactions BC Childrens Hospital Research Institute, CHIMPS Rounds/VEC Rounds presentation Vancouver, Canada Sept. 2017
    Malaria and Microchimerism: Intergenerational Immune Interactions UW Placenta Research Symposium (Seattle, WA) July 2017
    Placental Malaria and Maternal-Fetal Microchimerism Institut de recherch pour le developpement, Universit Paris Descartes, Facult des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, Laboratoire de parasitology Paris, France Feb. 2015
    IPTp in Areas of High SP Resistance: Experiences from Tanzania Second WHO Evidence Review Group on Intermittent Preventive Treatment in Pregnancy with Sulfadoxine-Pyrimethamine Geneva, Switzerland July 2013
  • Grant Title Grantor Amount Award Date
    Defining the Role of Maternal Cells in Fetal and Infant Immunity to Malaria Burroughs-Wellcome Fund $95,000 annual direct costs July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2023
    Maternal Microchimerism and BCG-Specific Immunoregulation in HIV-exposed Infants NIH/UW - CFAR $55,000 annual direct costs April 1, 2018 - March 31, 2020
    The Effect of Maternal Cells on Infant Immunity NIH/NIAID $158,079 annual direct costs Sept. 1, 2017 - Aug. 31, 2022
    Mechanisms controlling the persistence of infectious HIV reservoirs in children NIH/NICHD $62,379 annual direct costs July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2022


Board Certification(s)

Pediatric Infectious Diseases

Medical/Professional School

Pathobiology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle
University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle


Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle


Pediatric Infectious Disease, University of Washington, Seattle

Research Description

Dr. Harrington's research focuses on intergenerational immune interactions and their effect on susceptibility to infection during pregnancy and infection. In particular, her lab investigates the role of maternal microchimerism (maternal cells acquired by the fetus in utero) in fetal and infant immune development, early vaccine responses, and susceptibility to infection. She has previously demonstrated that malaria infection and inflammation of the placenta results in infants acquiring more maternal cells. In addition, she found that infants with detectable maternal cells were more susceptible to malaria infection but, interestingly, less likely to be sick from their infections. Current projects in her lab include isolating and phenotyping the maternal cells, determining whether infants acquire a maternal graft with immunologic memory, and whether the maternal cells affect the development of immune responses against malaria and HIV. She collaborates with Drs. Frenkel and Jaspan, Drs. Pepper and Gammill (UW), and Dr. Nelson (Fred Hutch).