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Abraham Avi Kupfer, Ph.D.

Research summary

Abraham "Avi" Kupfer, Ph.D.
Abraham "Avi" Kupfer, Ph.D.

The Kupfer lab aims to understand the complex physiological mechanisms of inter- and intra-cellular communication in the immune system. T cells play a central role in regulating the cellular and humoral responses towards invading pathogens and malignant transformation. Improper recognition of self-antigens by T cells is the primary cause of most autoimmune diseases. The critical molecular and cellular mechanisms that the T cells use to respond properly to engagement of their T Cell Receptors (TCRs) are still unclear.

Using a combination of biochemical, genetic and novel multi-dimensional digital imaging approaches the team studies complex multi dimensional signal integration rather than signal dissection during the interaction of T cells with live antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Protein Kinase C-theta was identified as the first key protein that serves as master switch for determining the physiological outcome to initial T cell activation. These studies identified the previously unknown structure of the Immunological-Synapse that is composed of different Supra-Molecular Activation Clusters (SMACs) of receptors, cytoskeletal and signaling proteins. The lab continues to study the 4-dimensional structure and function of the dynamic SMACs and their roles in regulation of the immune response.

Additional information

Meet Dr. Kupfer

Q and A: On finding a better way to suppress the immune system

On curbing overactive immune systems:

Professor of Cell Biology 
Co-Director, Immunobiology Program, Institute for Cell Engineering

Graduate programs
Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology

View a list of publications on PubMed.

Contact information
Phone: 443-287-3102
Fax: 410-287-3109



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