Peter Cresswell Named to Higgins Professorship

Peter Cresswell, the newly designated Eugene Higgins Professor of Immunobiology, has spent most of his career unraveling some of the mysteries of the human immune system.

Creswell’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of antigen processing, in which fragments of proteins from viruses, bacteria and other disease-causing organisms bind to the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules on human cells during an infection. These molecules are recognized by T lymphocytes and are critical for making effective immune responses to infectious agents. His laboratory is also investigating the antiviral mechanisms of proteins inducible by Type 1 and Type 2 interferons. One such protein, viperin, mediates resistance to infection by influenza virus and human cytomegalovirus.

Cresswell has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator since 1991, when he joined the Yale faculty as a professor in the Department of Immunobiology. He is also affiliated with the medical school’s Departments of Dermatology and Cell Biology.

The Yale researcher earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne and his Ph.D. at London University. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University before joining the faculty at the Duke University Medical Center in 1973. He taught there until his appointment at Yale. He was a visiting scientist at the MRC Cellular Immunology Unit at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford 1981-1982.

Cresswell has earned numerous honors for his work, including the 1995 Rose Payne Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics. He is a fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.

Since 1994, Creswell has been an associate editor of Immunity. He is a member of the editorial boards of several other scientific journals. He was a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Recommendations for U.S. Army Basic Scientific Research 1987-1990 and currently serves on the scientific advisory boards of the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and the National University of Singapore’s Immunology Program. He is a member of the American Association of Immunologists and the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics, among other professional organizations.

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