Alessandro Sette, Dr. Biol.Sci.

Center Head, Division Head, and Professor
Center for Infectious Disease

Dr. Sette is currently a Member and Head of LJI’s Division of Vaccine Discovery as well as chair of the Institute’s Center for Infectious Diseases. Dr. Sette has a doctorate in Biological Sciences from the University of Rome and did postdoctoral work at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver, Colorado. In 1988, Dr. Sette joined Howard Grey, M.D. at the newly founded Cytel, in La Jolla, and was also appointed as an adjunct assistant professor at The Scripps Research Institute. He founded Epimmune in 1997, where he served both as Vice President of Research and Chief Scientific Officer until 2002, when he joined LJI.

Dr Sette is a leader in the field of T cell epitope-MHC interactions, beginning with his contribution to the discovery of the biological function of MHC in the mid 80s to mid 90s. From those studies he and his collaborators further developed the notion that different MHCs have distinct binding specificities that can be used to predict epitopes. The Sette group also discovered and characterized how MHC variants can be grouped according to broad common functional specificities (MHC supertypes), greatly facilitating epitope classification, characterization and understanding the basic rules of epitope-MHC interactions. At the same time, several studies have outlined the fine specificity of different closely related alleles, in some cases clearly associated with predisposition to disease resistance or susceptibility.