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Clare M. Baecher-Allan, PhD
Associate Scientist, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School

Brigham and Women's Hospital
Department of Neurology
Department of Dermatology
75 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02115

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Research Narrative:
Clare M Baecher-Allan, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Dermatology department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA, and has a secondary appointment in Neurology. Her research focuses on understanding how the immune system is regulated in health and disease, with an emphasis on human immunology and the function of a small population of T cells, known as regulatory T cells or ‘Tregs’. Tregs function to suppress the activation of other T cells and other types of hematopoietic cells – and thus regulate the activity of the immune system. Tregs induce suppression via a mechanism that requires cell contact, as they express a number of inhibitory molecules, often referred to as immune checkpoint molecules, on their surface. She initially found that Tregs from patients with multiple sclerosis do not induce suppression as efficiently as Tregs isolated from healthy donors. Getting at mechanism, her most recent findings demonstrate that the non-regulatory T cells in these patients are actually resistant to Treg mediated suppression, as the patient-derived Tregs can suppress healthy donor cells more efficiently. She is currently working to understand how cells become refractory to Treg-mediated inhibition – as identifying this mechanism of resistance would uncover ideal targets to block therapeutically for the treatment of autoimmunity – or - ideal targets to enhance for the treatment of cancer where it is desirable to inhibit immune-suppression.


Publications (Pulled from Harvard Catalyst Profiles):

1. Greenberg SA, Pinkus JL, Kong SW, Baecher-Allan C, Amato AA, Dorfman DM. Highly differentiated cytotoxic T cells in inclusion body myositis. Brain. 2019 Jul 20.

2. von Glehn F, Dias-Carneiro RPC, Moraes AS, Farias AS, Silva VAPG, Oliveira FTM, Silva CEBG, de Carvalho F, Rahal E, Baecher-Allan C, Santos LMB. Dimethyl fumarate downregulates the immune response through the HCA2/GPR109A pathway: Implications for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler Relat Disord. 2018 Jul; 23:46-50.

3. Kaskow BJ, Baecher-Allan C. Effector T Cells in Multiple Sclerosis. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2018 04 02; 8(4).

4. Baecher-Allan C, Kaskow BJ, Weiner HL. Multiple Sclerosis: Mechanisms and Immunotherapy. Neuron. 2018 02 21; 97(4):742-768.

5. Donnelly C, Dykstra B, Mondal N, Huang J, Kaskow BJ, Griffin R, Sackstein R, Baecher-Allan C. Optimizing human Treg immunotherapy by Treg subset selection and E-selectin ligand expression. Sci Rep. 2018 01 11; 8(1):420.

6. Bhela S, Kempsell C, Manohar M, Dominguez-Villar M, Griffin R, Bhatt P, Kivisakk-Webb P, Fuhlbrigge R, Kupper T, Weiner H, Baecher-Allan C. Nonapoptotic and extracellular activity of granzyme B mediates resistance to regulatory T cell (Treg) suppression by HLA-DR-CD25hiCD127lo Tregs in multiple sclerosis and in response to IL-6. J Immunol. 2015 Mar 01; 194(5):2180-9.

7. Hu X, Kim H, Raj T, Brennan PJ, Trynka G, Teslovich N, Slowikowski K, Chen WM, Onengut S, Baecher-Allan C, De Jager PL, Rich SS, Stranger BE, Brenner MB, Raychaudhuri S. Regulation of gene expression in autoimmune disease loci and the genetic basis of proliferation in CD4+ effector memory T cells. PLoS Genet. 2014 Jun; 10(6):e1004404.

8. Hu X, Kim H, Brennan PJ, Han B, Baecher-Allan CM, De Jager PL, Brenner MB, Raychaudhuri S. Application of user-guided automated cytometric data analysis to large-scale immunoprofiling of invariant natural killer T cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Nov 19; 110(47):19030-5.

9. Seneschal J, Clark RA, Gehad A, Baecher-Allan CM, Kupper TS. Human epidermal Langerhans cells maintain immune homeostasis in skin by activating skin resident regulatory T cells. Immunity. 2012 May 25; 36(5):873-84.

10. Dominguez-Villar M, Baecher-Allan CM, Hafler DA. Identification of T helper type 1-like, Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in human autoimmune disease. Nat Med. 2011 Jun; 17(6):673-5.