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SU2C Scientific Research Teams

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Ellis L. Reinherz, M.D.

Scientific Research Team:
Ellis L. Reinherz, M.D.

Ellis L. Reinherz, M.D.

The SU2C-Farrah Fawcett Foundation Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Translational Research Team: Therapeutic CD8 vaccines against HPV epitopes

Ellis L. Reinherz, M.D., is the chief of the Laboratory of Immunobiology and the co-director of the Cancer Vaccine Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is also a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1971 and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1975. After an internship and residency at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1975-1977 and a period as a hematology fellow at Brigham and Women’s Hospital from 1977-1978, he joined Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His postdoctoral work was done there with Stuart Schlossman. He is currently chairman of the Steering Committee of the NIH Human Immunology Project Consortium. He is a member of several organizations including the American Association of Immunologists, from which he received the Human Immunology Award in 2011.

Reinherz’s scientific work has revealed key functional and structural discoveries about T cell receptors (TCR), including their CD3 signaling subunit components, and how, with CD4 and CD8 co-receptor molecules, which he identified as such, TCRs bind to peptide-loaded MHC (pMHC). More recently he and his colleagues have defined the TCR as an anisotropic mechanosensor, offering a physical solution to the longstanding question of how T cells can achieve rapid and specific sensing of a single peptide bound to an MHC molecule among a sea of unrelated peptides arrayed on an antigen presenting cell surface with exquisite specificity and dynamic range. His findings on the molecular basis of adaptive immunity have implications for rational vaccine design and human immunotherapy efforts in the clinic. He is the author of more than 400 research publications in human and murine immunology. These are both basic as well as translational in nature. The development of OKT3, the first FDA-approved monoclonal antibody in humans, resulted from his studies demonstrating its inhibition of antigen-specific T cell responses.