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Janice S. Blum, Ph.D.

Chancellor's Professor of Microbiology & Immunology
Co-director of the Center for Immunobiology

Summary of the focus of the research of Dr. Blum 

Immune responsiveness in humans and its role in protective immunity to tumors and pathogens as well as suspectibility to autoimmune disease.

Description and summary of research focus of the laboratory

Immune responsiveness in humans and the importance of immunological recognition pathways in protective immunity against tumors and pathogens as well as suspectibility to autoimmune disease such as type I diabetes and arthritis. Distinguishing self and foreign antigens is a key step in the development of host immunity. Studies in Dr. Blum's laboratory are directed at understanding how protein antigens are processed for recognition by the immune system, and the events which regulate immune responses to foreign and self proteins.  Studies by Dr. Blum's group focus on cell biology and molecular approaches to examine the pathways guiding protein antigen trafficking, antigen processing and the selection of epitopes for presentation by MHC molecules.  Discoveries by the Blum laboratory include work demonstrating the importance a novel thiol reducatase GILT in tumor recognition by immune cells, and a role for heat shock proteins and lysosomal membrane proteins in immune recognition by MHC class II molecules.  Studies by the Blum laboratory also have demonstrated endosomal recycling and autophagy are important pathways guiding immune responses.   Studies are on-going to understand the specific proteins which regulate these pathways and immune responses.  These investigators have implications in terms of developing more efficient vaccine reagents specific for pathogens as well as tumors.  Studies by the Blum laboratory also strongly support a role for these pathways in regulating immune responses to autoantigens linked to the development of arthritis and diabetes in humans.   Members of Dr. Blum's laboratory are also collaborating to examine the role of specific viral proteins in disrupting immune recognition including work poxviruses.  Information from these studies is being applied to design and test novel vaccines for promoting immunity to pathogens and tumors as well as agents for gene therapy.

  • O’Donnell, P.W., A. Haque, M.J. Klemsz, M.H. Kaplan, and J.S. Blum, (2004) Induction of the Ag processing enzyme GILT in melanoma cells is STAT1-dependent but CIITA-independent. J. Immunol. Cutting Edge 173:731-736.
  • Zhou, D., P. Li, Y. Lin, J.M. Lott, A.D. Hislop, D.H. Canaday, R.R. Brutkiewicz, and J.S. Blum (2005) Lamp-2a facilitates MHC class II presentation of cytoplasmic antigens. Immunity 22:571-581.
  • Yao, Y, P. Li, P. Singh, A.T. Thiele, D.S. Wilkes, G.J. Renukaradhya, R.R. Brutkiewicz, G.D. Luker, S-C. Hong, J.S. Blum and C-H. Chang (2007) Vaccinia virus infection induces dendritic cell maturation but inhibits antigen presentation by MHC class II. Cellular Immunology 246:92-102.
  • Houlihan, J.L., Metzler, J.J., and J.S. Blum (2009) HSP90α and HSP90β isoforms selectively modulate MHC class II antigen presentation in B cells.  J. Immunol. 182:7451-8.
  • Wang, N, Weber, E, and J.S. Blum (2009) Diminished intracellular invariant chain expression following vaccinia virus infection. J. Immunol. 183:1542-1550. PMC2844081
  • Crotzer, V., Glosson, N., Zhou, D., Nishino, I and J.S. Blum (2010) LAMP-2 deficient human B cells exhibit altered MHC class II presentation of endogenous antigens. Immunology 131:318-30.
  • Yeh, N., Glosson, N.L., Wang, N., Guindon, L., McKinley, C., Hamada, H., Li, Q., Dutton, R.W., Shrikant, P., Zhou, B., Brutkiewicz, R.R., Blum, J.S., and M.H. Kaplan (2010) Tc17 cells are capable of mediating immunity to vaccinia virus by acquisition of a cytotoxic phenotype. J. Immunol. 185:2089-98.

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  • B.S., 1979: Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA
  • Ph.D., 1984: Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
  • Post Doctoral, 1984-1987:Duke University Medical Center, Microbiology and Immunology, Durham, NC
  • Post Doctoral, 1987-1990: Washington University School of Medicine, Cell Biology and Physiology, St. Louis, MO