LA JOLLA, CA—For the second year in a row, Dr. Shane Crotty’s pioneering studies on vaccine-related immunology have earned him a spot among “The World’s Most Influential Minds.”
The list of highly cited researchers is compiled annually by Thomson Reuters and singles out scientists whose work has been cited most often by their peers. Researchers given this honor have been in the top 1 percent of citations for their field of study spanning the last decade.
“Shane doesn’t shy away from difficult problems and really gets at the heart of fundamental and very important questions,” says Dr. Mitchell Kronenberg, President and Chief Scientific Officer. “His approach is incredibly smart and focused and he consistently finds answers where others have come up empty. Not surprisingly, his work is inspiring and shaping a whole field of inquiry.”
Dr. Crotty, a professor in the Division of Vaccine Discovery at La Jolla Institute for Immunology, is driven by his desire to fundamentally change how vaccines are designed. “Vaccine development still relies primarily on trial and error and vaccine candidates either work or fail,” says Dr. Crotty. “That’s a really inefficient way of making progress. What we really want is to turn it into an engineering problem.”
With that goal in mind, Dr. Crotty has dedicated himself over to understanding the fundamentals of what makes a good immune response to help tailor vaccine candidates so they elicit a protective immune response.
In 2009, he discovered a pivotal master switch that ignites the production of a certain group of helper T helper cells known as follicular helper T (Tfh) cells, which in turn help B cells make more antibodies. Subsequently, Crotty’s team systematically unraveled the molecular mechanisms that drive the differentiation and maturation of Tfh and antibody-producing B cells. Most importantly, he demonstrated that Tfh cells are crucially important for triggering broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in a large group of HIV-infected individuals.
His findings led to Crotty’s recognition as an expert in vaccine design, and to his inclusion as a T cell expert in one of the nation’s top AIDS vaccine consortiums.
About Dr. Shane Crotty
Shane Crotty received his B.S. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1996. He also received a B.S. in Writing from MIT the same year. Crotty undertook graduate work in virology at the University of California, San Francisco in the Program in Biological Sciences. There he discovered the mechanism of action of the antiviral drug ribavirin, widely used to treat chronic hepatitis C infections. Crotty earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2001. He then pursued postdoctoral work at the Emory University Vaccine Center with Dr. Rafi Ahmed from 2001 to 2003, studying aspects of the generation and maintenance of immune memory after viral infections. In 2003, he accepted a faculty position at LJI.
Crotty was named a Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences in 2005, and was the recipient of the annual American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Investigator Award for outstanding early-career research contributions to the field of Immunology in 2012. He is also the author of Ahead of the Curve, a biography of Nobel laureate scientist David Baltimore, which was published in 2001.
About La Jolla Institute
La Jolla Institute for Immunology is dedicated to understanding the intricacies and power of the immune system so that we may apply that knowledge to promote human health and prevent a wide range of diseases. Since its founding in 1988 as an independent, nonprofit research organization, the Institute has made numerous advances leading towards its goal: life without disease®.