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Scheherazade Sadegh-Nasseri, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Scheherazade Sadegh-Nasseri, Ph.D.

Professor of Pathology

Research Interests: T cell tolerance; T cell activation; T cell memory survival; Molecular mechanisms in antigen processing and presentation more


Dr. Scheherazade Sadegh-Nasseri is a professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on molecular mechanisms in antigen processing and presentation, T cell memory survival, T cell activation, and T cell tolerance.

Dr. Sadegh-Nasseri and her lab made the notable discovery that binding of peptides to MHC class II induces different conformations, a finding that has formed the basis for how peptide-MHC class II complexes are recognized and editted by the MHC class II accessory molecules. They have maintained a leading role in understanding mechanisms in peptide binding and the role of MHC class II accessory molecule, HLA-DM, in peptide exchange and editing. The team also reported the first cell free reductionist antigen processing system that identifies immunodominant epitopes from protein antigens for recognition by helper T cells.

Dr. Sadegh-Nasseri received her undergraduate degree from Pahlavi University in Iran and her M.Sc. in a joint program with Harvard University and Teheran University in Iran. She earned her Ph.D. from University of California at Los Angeles. She was a Cancer Research Institute Postdoctoral Scholar in Chemistry Department at Stanford University, and a Sr. Staff Fellow in Laboratory of Immunology of NIAID at NIH prior to her current department at the JHU. more


  • Professor of Pathology

Departments / Divisions

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Sadegh-Nasseri is interested in two general areas of T cell recognition. She investigates the biophysical and biochemical processes that control formation of complexes of antigenic fragments and the MHC Class II, and addresses cellular and molecular events related to T cell tolerance.


The long-term interests of Dr. Sadegh-Nasseri’s lab include understanding the molecular basis for the generation of ligands for presentation to CD4 T cells and investigating the parameters that control activation and inactivation of CD4 T cells.

Selected Publications

  1. Dalai SK, Khoruzhenko S, Drake CG, Jie CC, and Sadegh-Nasseri S. "Resolution of infection promotes a state of dormancy and long survival of CD4 memory T cells." Immunol. Cell Biol. 2011 Nov;89(8):870-81.
  2. Hartman IZ, Kim A, Cotter RJ, Walter K, Dalai SK, Boronina T, Griffith W, Lanar DE, Schwenk R, Krzych U, Cole RN, Sadegh-Nasseri S. "A novel minimalist Cell-Free MHC class II antigen processing system identifies immunodominant epitopes." Nat. Med. 2010 Nov;16(11):1333-1340.
  3. Sadegh-Nasseri S, Natarajan S, Chou CL, Hartman IZ, Narayan K, Kim A. "Conformational heterogeneity of MHC class II induced upon binding to different peptides is a key regulator in antigen presentation and epitope selection." Immunologic Research. 2010 Jul;47(1-3):56-64.
  4. Narayan K, Su KW, Chou CL, Khoruzhenko S, Sadegh-Nasseri S. "HLA-DM mediates peptide exchange by interacting transiently and repeatedly with HLA-DR1." Molecular Immunology. 2009 Sep;46(15):3157-62. Epub 2009 Jul 31.
  5. Narayan K, Perkins EM, Murphy GE, Dalai SK, Edidin M, Subramaniam S, Sadegh-Nasseri S. "Staphylococcal enterotoxin A induces small clusters of HLA-DR1 on B cells." PLoS One. 2009 Jul 9;4(7).

Narayan K, Chou CL, Kim A, Hartman IZ, Dalai S, Khoruzhenko S, Sadegh-Nasseri S. HLA-DM targets the hydrogen bond between the histidine at position 81 and peptide to dissociate HLA-DRpeptide complexes. 2007. NATURE IMMUNOLOGY, 8:92-100.

Mirshahidi S, Huang CT, Sadegh-Nasseri S. Anergy in peripheral memory CD4+ T cells induced by low avidity engagement of T cell receptor. 2001. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE. 194(6):719-31.

Chou C-L, Sadegh-Nasseri S. HLA-DM recognizes the flexible conformation of major histocompatibility complex class II. 2000. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL MEDICINE,192:1697-706.

Natarajan SK, Assadi M, Sadegh-Nasseri S. Stable peptide binding to MHC class II molecules is rapid and is determined by a receptive conformation shaped by prior association of low affinity peptides. 1999. JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY,162: 4030-6

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Graduate Program in Immunology

Graduate Program in Biophysics

Graduate Program in Pathobiology

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