Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Coffman, Robert L.
Location University of California, Santa Cruz
Primary Field Immunology and Inflammation
Secondary Field Medical Genetics, Hematology and Oncology
 Election Citation
Coffman, with his colleague Tim Mosmann, demonstrated that CD4+ (helper) T cells existed in two types, TH1 and TH2, with different patterns of cytokine production and distinct properties. The TH1/TH2 model is a cornerstone of immunology and is fundamental in our understanding of autoimmunity and the development of vaccine strategies.
 Research Interests
I have spent most of my research career studying basic mechanisms of regulation of immune response. In particular, I have been interested in how different classes of both B and T lymphocyte responses to foreign antigens are controlled. In many cases, the class of an immune response will determine whether it protects from and infectious or allergic disease, or causes it. More recently I have focused on the innate immune system, an evolutionarily ancient system of recognition and response to conserved microbial molecules that provides a rapid "front line" of defense against pathogens. Cells and molecules of this innate response provide many key regulatory signals determining the class of subsequent adaptive T and B lymphocyte responses. I have been particularly interested in manipulating the link between innate and adaptive immunity to treat immunological diseases and to develop more effective vaccines. My current research is focused on preclinical and clinical development of molecules that either stimulate or inhibit specific arms of the innate immune system, with particular interest in developing new therapies for allergic and autoimmune diseases.

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