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Dianne McKay, MD

Associate Professor Adjunct
Department of Immunology and Microbiology
California Campus
Scripps VIVO Scientific Profile
(858) 784-9716

Research Focus

There are two areas of interest of our laboratory. The first is on defining how intracellular signaling proteins are modified in acquired peripheral T cell tolerance to alloantigens. We have identified several proximal T cell receptor-coupled signaling molecules that are altered in tolerant peripheral T cells and are now focused on understanding the events that lead to alteration of these critical signaling proteins and to the initial events associated with activation of host T cells by donor antigen presenting cells.

The second interest of our laboratory is on defining the signaling pathways that mediate the expansion of activated T cells in response to transplantation antigens. The long-range goal is to develop effective ways to block proliferative signals and prevent allograft rejection. Transplantation of allogeneic tissues induces vigorous expansion of host T cells with specificity to donor alloantigens. The processes of activation and cell division are differentially regulated by intracellular signals evoked through cell surface receptor ligation. A classic example is seen by IL-2/IL-2R ligation, which culminates in three distinct intracellular signaling pathways including two that are important for T cell proliferation - the Jak/STAT pathway and the RAS/MAPK pathway. A third pathway the PI3K/Atk pathway provides an important apoptotic pathway that explains the dual role of IL-2 - to induce proliferation and apoptosis. We are evaluating the intracellular signaling mechanisms that lead to effective blockade of growth factor receptor ligation. In the microenvironment of an allogeneic organ, there may be several growth factors which influence the expansion of potentially alloreactive T cells and understanding these factors may lead to better use of therapeutic growth factor blockade.


M.D., Medicine, The University of Chicago, 1983

Professional Experience

2012-2017 Associate Professor Adjunct, Immunology and Microbial Science (IMS), The Scripps Research Institute
2001-2012 Associate Professor, Immunology and Microbial Science (IMS), The Scripps Research Institute
2001-2012 Faculty Member, Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences, The Scripps Research Institute

Awards & Professional Activities

Roche Organ Transplant Research Award
Harvard Medical School, 50th Anniversary Scholars in Medicine Award
Chair, Women's Health Committee - American Society of Transplantation
Elected member Community of Practice, American Society of Transplantation

Selected References

All Publications

Zambricki, E., Shigeoka, A., Kishimoto, H., Sprent, J. Burakoff, S., Carpenter, C., Milford, E., McKay, D. Signaling T cell survival and death by IL-2 and IL-15. in review, 2005.

McKay, D., Shigeoka, A., Zambrecki, E., Rubinstein, M., Hoebe, K., Beutler, B., Surh, C., Sprent, J. TLR adapter proteins and rejection of grafted tissue, in preparation for submission, 2005.

McKay, D.B., Josephson, MA. Reproduction and Pregnancy in the Transplanted Patient: Current Practices, in review, 2005 .

McKay, D.B., Josephson, MA. Reproduction and Transplantation, Am J. Transplant accepted for publication, 2005.