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

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

Casting a wider net: Immunosurveillance by nonclassical MHC molecules.
D'Souza MP, Adams E, Altman JD, Birnbaum ME, Boggiano C, Casorati G, Chien YH, Conley A, Eckle SBG, Früh K, Gondré-Lewis T, Hassan N, Huang H, Jayashankar L, Kasmar AG, Kunwar N, Lavelle J, Lewinsohn DM, Moody B, Picker L, Ramachandra L, Shastri N, Parham P, McMichael AJ, Yewdell JW. Casting a wider net: Immunosurveillance by nonclassical MHC molecules. PLoS Pathog. 2019 02; 15(2):e1007567.
PMID: 30789961

Generation and molecular recognition of melanoma-associated antigen-specific human ?d T cells.
Benveniste PM, Roy S, Nakatsugawa M, Chen ELY, Nguyen L, Millar DG, Ohashi PS, Hirano N, Adams EJ, Zúñiga-Pflücker JC. Generation and molecular recognition of melanoma-associated antigen-specific human ?d T cells. Sci Immunol. 2018 12 14; 3(30).
PMID: 30552102

The Hypervariable Loops of Free TCRs Sample Multiple Distinct Metastable Conformations in Solution.
Crooks JE, Boughter CT, Scott LR, Adams EJ. The Hypervariable Loops of Free TCRs Sample Multiple Distinct Metastable Conformations in Solution. Front Mol Biosci. 2018; 5:95.
PMID: 30483515

MR1 displays the microbial metabolome driving selective MR1-restricted T cell receptor usage.
Harriff MJ, McMurtrey C, Froyd CA, Jin H, Cansler M, Null M, Worley A, Meermeier EW, Swarbrick G, Nilsen A, Lewinsohn DA, Hildebrand W, Adams EJ, Lewinsohn DM. MR1 displays the microbial metabolome driving selective MR1-restricted T cell receptor usage. Sci Immunol. 2018 07 13; 3(25).
PMID: 30006464

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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