Pamela J. Bjorkman, Ph.D.

Title
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Department
Division of Biology
Institution
California Institute of Technology
Address
1200 E. California Boulevard
City, State, Zip
Pasadena, CA 91125
Phone
(626) 202-4976
E-mail
bjorkman[at]caltech.edu
Website
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~bjorker/
Research Field
Immunology
Award Year
1989

Research

Our laboratory is interested in protein-protein interactions, particularly those mediating immune recognition. We use X-ray crystallography and biochemistry to study purified proteins, and electron and confocal microscopy to examine protein complexes in cells. Some of our work focuses upon homologs and mimics of class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins, which normally function in peptide presentation to T cells. MHC homologs have similar three-dimensional structures, but different functions including immune functions (IgG transport by the neonatal Fc receptor, FcRn; evasion of the immune response by viral MHC mimics), and non-immune functions (regulation of iron or lipid metabolism by HFE and ZAG). We focus on three interrelated areas: (1) structure/function studies of homologs and mimics of MHC proteins; (2) cell biological studies of antibody receptors, for example, the MHC-related neonatal Fc receptor; and (3) designing antibodies with increased efficacy against HIV.