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Paul M. Allen, PhD

Paul M. Allen, PhD

Paul M. Allen, PhD, Robert L. Kroc Professor of Pathology and Immunology, is a pioneering investigator known internationally for his seminal contributions to the understanding of how the immune system recognizes pathogens.

Allen’s work laid an early foundation for elucidating the process of antigen presentation and antigen recognition by T cells. His laboratory pioneered the notion of altered peptide ligands and their function in T cell specificity, development, and immune responses.

Allen discovered many of the fundamental principles of peptide-MHC protein interactions and found that peptides with minor sequence variations elicit altered signal-transduction patterns in T cells and markedly diverse T cell responses. These findings have changed our views on the dynamics of T cell receptor ligation,’ says Emil R. Unanue, MD, Paul and Ellen Lacy Professor of Pathology and Immunology and former chair of the department.

In addition, Allen has applied his basic science investigations to the important clinical areas of autoimmunity and transplantation, including developing critical disease models for autoimmune-mediated arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

Three of Allen’s publications have been cited more than 1000 times, placing him in the highest level of recognition. One of his studies, co-authored with Unanue, has been selected as a Pillars of Immunology publication by the Journal of Immunology.

Allen also leaves his mark on the field as a mentor to many graduate students; he directed the Graduate Program in Immunology for five years.

Allen holds prestigious MERIT status with the National Institutes of Health and has served as president of the American Association of Immunologists. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, receiving the latter in 1981. After a pathology research fellowship at Harvard Medical School, he joined the Washington University faculty in 1985.

Published: 01/23/2010