Alan A. Aderem, Ph.D.

Title
President, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute
Department
Department of Immunology
Institution
Seattle Biomedical Research Institute
Address
307 Westlake Avenue N.
Suite 500
City, State, Zip
Seattle, WA 98109-5219
Phone
(206) 256-7333
E-mail
alan.aderem[at]seattlebiomed.org
Website
http://www.seattlebiomed.org/bio/aderem
Research Field
Immunology
Award Year
1986

Research

The Aderem laboratory consists of researchers from a variety of fields, who are dedicated to studying the biology of the macrophage and its functions in disease. A large portion of the lab is focused on understanding Toll-like receptor (TLR) functions in innate immunity. The lab is committed to applying a systems biology approach to these host-pathogen interactions. The innate immune system is responsible for defense in the first hours of an encounter with a potential pathogen. It has been trained over millions of years of evolution to recognize invaders and evoke potent anti-microbial responses aimed at killing microbes before they become a threat to the person. The laboratory is particularly interested in the mechanisms whereby these alarm signals are generated. The 12 members of the Toll-like receptor (TLR) family perform a critical role in this signaling and are detected at the sites where microbes are engulfed by macrophages. TLRs are able to recognize many different features of microbes, primarily combinations of sugar, protein, and lipid components of microbial cell walls, as well as toxins, metabolites, and even microbial nucleic acids. These structural features mostly are not found normally in human tissues and thus allow discrimination of self (the human host) from non-self (the microbe).