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Michael Dustin

Kennedy Trust Professor of Molecular Immunology

  • Director of Research

Prof. Dustin has a B.A. in Biology from Boston University (1984) and a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University (1990). He studied glucose transport in red blood cells for his undergraduate thesis with Scott W. Peterson and studied biochemistry and regulation of lymphocyte adhesion molecules during his PhD with Timothy A. Springer. He completed post-doctoral training with Stuart Kornfeld on lysosome structure and function at Washington University School of Medicine (1993). Dr. Dustin led his own group at the Department of Pathology at Washington University School of Medicine under Steve Teitelbaum and Emil Unanue from 1993 to 2000. While at Wash U, he led a collaborative group in discovering requirements for the T cell immunological synapse with Andrey Shaw, Paul Allen, Mark Davis (Stanford) and Emil Unanue. He moved his lab to the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at New York University School of Medicine in 2001. He collaborated on new intravital microscopy projects with Wenbiao Gan, Dan Littman, Juan Lafaille, Michel Nussensweig, Dorian McGavern and Sandra Demaria among others. Continuation of work on the immunological synapse led to a basic description of the supramolecular assemblies that make up the mature immunological synapse. Specialized functions of the immunological synapse in cytotoxic T cells and regulatory T cells were also explored. This work includes the recent observation that the small vesicles enriched in T cell receptor, synaptic ectosomes, are directly budded into the immunological synapse, handing off T cell receptor and other cargo to the antigen presenting cell. He was director of the NIH funded Nanomedicine Center for Mechanobiology from 2009-2014 In order to further advance studies on the immunological synapse and translation to treatment of human diseases he moved to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at the University of Oxford in 2013 supported by a Principal Research Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust.

Major funding

European Research Council Advanced Grant- SYNECT

Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research- Cell Dynamics Platform

The immunological synapse explained