Alan Aderem

Affiliate Faculty

President, Center for Infectious Disease Research


Alan Aderem is a pioneer in the field of systems biology. The Aderem Lab is focused on deciphering the role played by the innate immune response to HIV vaccination on the subsequent development of protective immunity. Systems biology approaches are also used to evaluate vaccine candidates against HIV, Mtb and plasmodium. The Aderem Lab is also studying the host response to the influenza virus. Specifically, the lab’s research is focused on identifying mechanisms by which highly-pathogenic viruses can evade and often dysregulate the innate immune system.

Dr. Aderem is an internationally recognized immunologist and cell biologist whose research focus is on the innate immune system — how it recognizes and formulates responses to infectious agents, and how it instructs the adaptive immune system to provide long-lived immunity to the pathogen. His initial studies defined how pattern recognition receptors, in particular the Toll-like receptors, identify bacteria and viruses — in essence, how the immune cell reads the molecular barcode of the infectious agent and, thereby, precisely defines the nature of the threat. This precise recognition triggers a specific, highly regulated, response to the pathogen by the host. A pioneer in the field of systems biology, Dr. Aderem is currently using these approaches of host-pathogen interaction to define these mechanisms and develop predictive, molecular models of immune and inflammatory responses.

Dr. Aderem is also applying the tools of systems biology to the study of diseases that significantly impact global health with an emphasis on the role of the innate immune system in vaccine responses.

Systems Biology

PhD, Biophysics and Biology
University of Cape Town, 1979