Michael Dustin is an Immunologist and Cell Biologist recognized for work on the immunological synapse using the supported lipid bilayers. He also tested this hypothesis in vivo using two-photon laser scanning microscopy. Dustin was born and raised in Poughkeepsie, NY. He obtained a B.A. in Biology from Boston University (1984) and a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University (1990) in the lab of Timothy A. Springer. He was a post-doctoral fellow with Stuart Kornfeld at Washington University School of Medicine and was recruited by Emil Unanue as an Assistant Professor in 1993 and achieved a tenured Associate Professor in 1999. He was recruited by Dan Littman to the Skirball Institute of NYU in 2000 as an Irene Diamond Associate Professor. He was recruited to the University of Oxford by Marc Feldmann in 2013 with a Principal Research Fellowship from Wellcome and the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research, where he is currently a Professor of Molecular Immunology. We was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering that supported studies on cell biology of the immune response and is a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization and the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Michael Dustin's laboratory focuses on cell biology of T cell activation during the initiation and effector phase of immune responses. They have developed fluorescence microscopy approaches to quantify molecular interactions and dynamics that underly immunity. Dustin pioneered the use of supported lipid bilayers as surrogate antigen presenting cells to quantify the receptor-ligand interactions and dynamics underlying immunological synapses. The immunological synapse provides a mechanistic framework for checkpoint blockade and related immunotherapies. His lab developed the concept of stable synapses and mobile kinapses that enable T cells to engage in a prolonged dialog with a single cell or capture information from an entire cellular network, respectively. His lab tested hypotheses related to synapses and kinapses using intravital microscopy and two-photon laser scanning microscopy to detect immune cell dynamics deep in living tissues. This exploration revealed additional unexpected phenomena that opened new questions for exploration. Recent work has focused on using the supported lipid bilayer technology to discover complex information packages used by human T cells to coordinate immune response or to kill infected or cancerous cells. A current focus is to understand these novel effectors well enough to engineer them for use in advanced biologic therapies.

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Primary Section

Section 43: Immunology and Inflammation

Secondary Section

Section 22: Cellular and Developmental Biology