Heads of Laboratories
Jeffrey V. Ravetch, M.D., Ph.D.
Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Professor
Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology
The Ravetch laboratory analyzes systemic autoimmunity in mouse models of certain diseases by investigating the genesis and fate of the pathological antigen-antibody complexes that trigger tissue damage. They simplify this problem by examining the mechanisms through which immune complexes influence both the afferent and efferent immune responses by interacting with a family of low-affinity surface receptors, the Fc receptors. These receptors are expressed as pairs of activation and inhibitory molecules, and play a central role in appropriate immune responses.
Another focus in the Ravetch lab is the regulation of shifts from inhibition to activation. He has demonstrated that removing the inhibitory pathway in vivo, for example, can dramatically increase the potency of a cytotoxic antitumor antibody. This was the first demonstration of antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity in vivo. Current studies aim at manipulating the inhibitory response to enhance or limit the cytotoxicity of antibodies in vivo to better understand the role of these pathways and their therapeutic potential.
The lab is also working to determine the pathways through which the coupling of innate and adaptive mechanisms are coordinated. Two such pathways are currently under investigation: the feedback by immune complexes on antigen presentation and the targeting of selected antigens to restricted follicular locations to initiate T cell independent responses. Using a series of mice deficient in specific Fc receptors and immune complexes designed to selectively engage these pathways, they are determining the role of each in activating or tolerizing presenting cells in vivo.
Dr. Ravetch graduated from Yale University in 1973 and received his Ph.D. in 1978 from The Rockefeller University, where he studied under Norton Zinder and Peter Model. He received his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1979 and completed his postdoctoral research at the National Institutes of Health with Philip Leder. In 1982 Dr. Ravetch joined the faculty of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and in 1984 also became a guest investigator in Rockefeller’s Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology. He was appointed professor at Rockefeller in 1996 and named Theresa and Eugene M. Lang Professor in 1997.
Dr. Ravetch received Wolf Prize in Medicine in 2015, the Canada Gairdner International Award and the Sanofi-Pasteur Award in 2012, the Coley Award from the Cancer Research Institute in 2007, the American Association of Immunologists-Huang Foundation Meritorious Career Award in 2005, the Lee C. Howley Sr. Prize for Arthritis Research in 2004 and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Award in Molecular Parasitology in 1986. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine.
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