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Michael McHeyzer-Williams, Ph.D.

Department of Immunology and Microbial Science
California Campus
Laboratory Website
(858) 784-8259

Scripps Research Joint Appointments

Faculty, Graduate Program

Research Focus

Regulating Adaptive Immunity to Optimize Vaccines

Helper T cells are the master regulators of adaptive immunity that control the development of antigen-specific B cell immunity. Our research seeks to define the cellular and molecular details of the major developmental checkpoints that regulate these cell fate decisions in vivo. We have recently extended our studies into the earliest innate immune events that initiate and shape this adaptive immune response. If we can understand the rules that control adaptive immunity, it will be possible to design safe and effective protein sub-unit vaccines.


Ph.D., Immunology, The University of Melbourne, 1991

Selected References

Wang N.S., McHeyzer-Williams L.J., Okitsu S.L., Burris T.P., Reiner S.L., McHeyzer-Williams M.G. (2012) Divergent transcriptional programming of class-specific B cell memory by T-bet and RORalpha.. Nat Immunol 6: 604-11.

McHeyzer-Williams, M.G., Okitsu, S.L., Wang, N.S. & McHeyzer-Williams, L.J. (2011) Molecular dynamics of memory B cell programming.  Nature Reviews Immunology. 12: 24-34.

Pelletier, N., McHeyzer-Williams, L.J., Wong, K., Urich, E., Fazilleau, N., and McHeyzer-Williams, M.G. (2010) Plasma cells negatively regulate the follicular helper T cell program. Nature Immunology 11:1110-1118.

Fazilleau, N., McHeyzer-Williams, L.J., Rosen, H., and McHeyzer-Williams, M.G. (2009) The function of follicular helper T cells is regulated by the strength of T cell antigen receptor binding. Nature Immunology 10:375-384.

Malherbe, L.P., Mark, L., Fazilleau, N., McHeyzer-Williams, L.J., and McHeyzer-Williams, M.G. (2008) Vaccine adjuvants alter TCR-based selection thresholds. Immunity 28:698-709.

Fazilleau, N.R. Eisenbraun, M.D., Malherbe, L.P., Ebright, J.N., McHeyzer-Williams, L.J. and McHeyzer-Williams, M.G. (2007) Lymphoid reservoirs of antigen-specific memory T helper cells. Nature Immunology. 8:753-761

McHeyzer-Williams, L.J. and McHeyzer-Williams, M.G. (2005) Antigen-Specific Memory B Cell Development.  Annual Reviews Immunol. Vol. 23:487-513.

Malherbe L, Hausl C, Teyton L, McHeyzer-Williams MG. (2004) Clonal selection of helper T cells is determined by an affinity threshold with no further skewing of TCR binding properties.  Immunity 21(5):669-79.

McHeyzer-Williams, L.J. and McHeyzer-Williams, M.G. (2004) Developmentally-distinct Th cells control plasma cell production in vivo.  Immunity 20:231-242.


Scientists Redefine the Role of Plasma Cells in the Immune System

Specializing Early: T Cells as Rugrats of the Immune System

Joined at the Bench

The Flow of Memory