Research Interests

My laboratory is interested in the structure and function of molecules involved in cell surface recognition, particularly those mediating recognition in the immune system, with special attention to the homologs of class I MHC proteins, which function in many ways that are distinct from their immunological role in peptide presentation to T cells. These include an immunoglobulin G receptor (FcRn), the protein mutated in the iron storage disease hereditary hemochromatosis (HFE), a protein that stimulates lipid catabolism (Zn-alpha-2-glycoprotein; ZAG), and virally encoded class I MHC homologs. To study these proteins we use a combined approach of X-ray crystallography to determine structures, molecular biology to produce proteins for crystallization and to modify them, and biochemistry to study protein-protein interactions. In the FcRn and HFE systems we use structural information to address cell biological issues involving intracellular receptor-ligand trafficking, which we are studying by confocal and electron microscopy. We are also interested in bacterial pathogenesis and the innate immune response to bacterial infection. Our efforts in these areas involve the study of the Yersinia pseudotuberculosis protein invasin, the insect immune response protein hemolin, the mammalian mannose receptor, and inhibitory receptor-ligand interactions.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 21: Biochemistry

Secondary Section

Section 29: Biophysics and Computational Biology