Our Faculty

Erin J. Adams, PhD

Our laboratory is interested in the molecular signals that are used by the immune system to distinguish healthy from unhealthy tissue. Many of our projects focus on “unconventional” T cell recognition, involving ?d T cells, Natural Killer T cells and Muscosal-Associated Invariant T (MAIT) cells and antigen presentation by nonclassical or MHC-like proteins. Our strengths are in biochemistry, structural biology, protein engineering and cellular assays that will reveal the fundamental principles behind how effector cells of the immune system regulate human disease. We have a high level of expertise in studying molecular recognition of T cells, particularly unconventional T cells outside the canonical CD4+/CD8+ lineage and structure function of antigen-presenting molecules.

Stanford University
Stanford, CA
Postdoc - Molecular Immunology
2005

UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
PhD - Evolutionary Genetics
2001

UC San Diego
La Jolla, CA
BS - Animal Physiology and Neuroscience
1993

The molecular characterization of antibody binding to a superantigen-like protein from a commensal microbe.
Borowska MT, Drees C, Yarawsky AE, Viswanathan M, Ryan SM, Bunker JJ, Herr AB, Bendelac A, Adams EJ. The molecular characterization of antibody binding to a superantigen-like protein from a commensal microbe. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 09 28; 118(39).
PMID: 34548394

How Tim proteins differentially exploit membrane features to attain robust target sensitivity.
Kerr D, Gong Z, Suwatthee T, Luoma A, Roy S, Scarpaci R, Hwang HL, Henderson JM, Cao KD, Bu W, Lin B, Tietjen GT, Steck TL, Adams EJ, Lee KYC. How Tim proteins differentially exploit membrane features to attain robust target sensitivity. Biophys J. 2021 Sep 14.
PMID: 34529946

Molecular design of the ?dT cell receptor ectodomain encodes biologically fit ligand recognition in the absence of mechanosensing.
Mallis RJ, Duke-Cohan JS, Das DK, Akitsu A, Luoma AM, Banik D, Stephens HM, Tetteh PW, Castro CD, Krahnke S, Hussey RE, Lawney B, Brazin KN, Reche PA, Hwang W, Adams EJ, Lang MJ, Reinherz EL. Molecular design of the ?dT cell receptor ectodomain encodes biologically fit ligand recognition in the absence of mechanosensing. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Jun 29; 118(26).
PMID: 34172580

Altered selection on a single self-ligand promotes susceptibility to organ-specific T cell infiltration.
Klawon DEJ, Gilmore DC, Leonard JD, Miller CH, Chao JL, Walker MT, Duncombe RK, Tung KS, Adams EJ, Savage PA. Altered selection on a single self-ligand promotes susceptibility to organ-specific T cell infiltration. J Exp Med. 2021 06 07; 218(6).
PMID: 33914024

Biochemical patterns of antibody polyreactivity revealed through a bioinformatics-based analysis of CDR loops.
Boughter CT, Borowska MT, Guthmiller JJ, Bendelac A, Wilson PC, Roux B, Adams EJ. Biochemical patterns of antibody polyreactivity revealed through a bioinformatics-based analysis of CDR loops. Elife. 2020 11 10; 9.
PMID: 33169668

Diversity in recognition and function of human ?d T cells.
Castro CD, Boughter CT, Broughton AE, Ramesh A, Adams EJ. Diversity in recognition and function of human ?d T cells. Immunol Rev. 2020 11; 298(1):134-152.
PMID: 33136294

Alpaca (Vicugna pacos), the first nonprimate species with a phosphoantigen-reactive V?9Vd2 T cell subset.
Fichtner AS, Karunakaran MM, Gu S, Boughter CT, Borowska MT, Starick L, Nöhren A, Göbel TW, Adams EJ, Herrmann T. Alpaca (Vicugna pacos), the first nonprimate species with a phosphoantigen-reactive V?9Vd2 T cell subset. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 03 24; 117(12):6697-6707.
PMID: 32139608

Production of MR1 Tetramers Loaded with Microbial Ligands.
Ladd NA, Froyd CA, Adams EJ. Production of MR1 Tetramers Loaded with Microbial Ligands. Methods Mol Biol. 2020; 2098:191-207.
PMID: 31792824

MAIT cells are imprinted by the microbiota in early life and promote tissue repair.
Constantinides MG, Link VM, Tamoutounour S, Wong AC, Perez-Chaparro PJ, Han SJ, Chen YE, Li K, Farhat S, Weckel A, Krishnamurthy SR, Vujkovic-Cvijin I, Linehan JL, Bouladoux N, Merrill ED, Roy S, Cua DJ, Adams EJ, Bhandoola A, Scharschmidt TC, Aubé J, Fischbach MA, Belkaid Y. MAIT cells are imprinted by the microbiota in early life and promote tissue repair. Science. 2019 10 25; 366(6464).
PMID: 31649166

TCR-pMHC bond conformation controls TCR ligand discrimination.
Sasmal DK, Feng W, Roy S, Leung P, He Y, Cai C, Cao G, Lian H, Qin J, Hui E, Schreiber H, Adams EJ, Huang J. TCR-pMHC bond conformation controls TCR ligand discrimination. Cell Mol Immunol. 2020 03; 17(3):203-217.
PMID: 31530899

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Joseph Regenstein Professorship
UChicago
2016 - pres

Searle Scholar
UChicago
2007 - 2010

Cancer Research Institute Postdoc Fellow
Stanford University
2001 - 2004

Phi Beta Kappa
UC San Diego
1993

Graduate Cum Laude
UC San Diego
1993