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Erin J. Adams, Ph.D

Principle Investigator
Joseph Regenstein Professor 
Ph. D. University of California, Berkeley 
Searle Scholar 

Post Docs

Sobhan Roy

PhD in Biotechnology,
Indian Institute of Technology,
Kharagpur, India

Sobhan's research is focused on an MHC class I-like molecule, CD1c, and its recognition by αβ and γδ T cells. He is using immunological, crystallographic and biochemical techniques to understand the molecular basis of lipid antigen presentation and its interaction with T cell receptors. Sobhan enjoys cricket, soccer, and trying out new cooking recipes.

Cara Froyd

PhD in Biochemistry, 
Duke University,
North Carolina

Cara is studying the antigen diversity of the MHC class I-like molecule, MR1, and the molecular mechanisms of antigen discrimination by MR1-restricted TCRs. She is also particularly interested in how this discrimination leads to recognition of infection by specific microbial pathogens by these MR1-restricted T cells. Cara is a very passionate Duke basketball fan.

Caitlin Castro

PhD in Microbiology and Immunology,
University of Maryland, Baltimore

Caitlin is examining the role of CD1d-reactive gamma delta (γδ) T cells in human diseases. She is specifically interested in the prevalence, in vivo significance, and functional characteristics of these cells in colorectal tumors. She is also studying the stucture and function of γδ T cell receptors in sharks. In her free time Caitlin enjoys fancy cocktails, opera and architecture, and volunteers as a tour guide at the Robie House with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust.

Caitlin is an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow. 

John Leonard

PhD in Biochemistry ,
University of California,
San Francisco

John is collaborating with the Savage Lab to identify antigens recognized by tumor-associated regulatory T (Treg) cells. He aims to understand the biophysical and structural mechanisms of self-antigen recognition by Tregs, and how these properties influence Treg development and suppression.
When he's not in lab, you might find John enjoying tasty food and cocktails, swing dancing, or hanging around the Chicago Innovation Exchange.

John is a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow.

Peter Chung

PhD in Physics,
University of California,
Santa Barbara

Peter, in a partnership between Prof. Adams and Prof. Ka Yee Lee, is investigating α-Synuclein, an intrinsically disordered protein linked to Parkinson’s. He is focused on using biophysical and biochemical methods to characterize α-Synuclein binding and conformation. Peter enjoys cooking different cuisines and is a glutton for punishment, rooting for the California Golden Bears in football and basketball.

Peter is a Kadanoff-Rice Postdoctoral Fellow.







Graduate Students

Charlie Dulberger

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Charlie is interested in the molecular landscapes of MHC class I molecules and the mechanisms by which they present antigen to T cells and NK cells. In his free time he plays soccer, spends as much time outdoors as possible, and enjoys the hip restaurant/bar scene in Chicago.

May Gu

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

May's thesis work is focused on how Vγ9Vδ2 T cells recognize both infected and tumor cells. The triangle love story of pAg, BTN3A1 and the T cells keeps her up all night. She also loves growing exotic plants, drawing people’s faces when bored at seminars, and having psychic dreams. 

Ramya Parameswaran


Ramya is collaborating with the Tian Lab in using Silicon nanomaterials to optically depolarize T cell membranes in an effort to understand how membrane depolarization can alter the conformation and function of the TCR-CD3 complex. Outside of lab, Ramya volunteers with rape victim advocates. She also loves hanging with her Guinea pig, Floof, and playing the violin in a trio called "the mojito and the fishes".

Marta Borowska

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

In her doctoral thesis project, Marta combines a range of biochemical, genetic and cellular techniques to study γδ T cells response to human diseases. As a member of UCBA and Women in STEM she encourages and is being encouraged to pursue a career in science. Outside the lab you can find her running and biking on the Lakefront Trail. If you mention that you play chess, she will likely challenge you with a game.

Ryan Duncombe


Ryan is interested in the biophysical mechanisms of antigen recognition by regulatory T cells. He is most curious about how the structural characteristics of their recognition determine their function in different biological contexts. In his free time, Ryan enjoys playing baseball, reading a good book, and spending time in the great outdoors.

Chris Boughter


Chris aims to elucidate the details of the dynamics of conformational changes of proteins involved in Vγ9Vδ2 T cell activation. He will primarily use biophysical techniques like atomic force microscopy and molecular dynamics simulations. When he's not in the lab, Chris likes to be out watching or playing football, basketball, and hockey.

Zuzanna Kotkowska

University of Warsaw

Zuzanna is interested in immunology, specifically dendritic cells and the impact of immunosuppressive drugs on their function, with a focus on the Th1- and Th2-type immune response generated after dendritic cell-T cell interaction. She likes dogs a lot and was looking for a lab with the largest numer of mascots (lab pets) and is happy that it came true! We even have a dog, Xena, here!

Zuzanna is a second year MSc student participating in the Visiting Research Graduate Traineeship Program (VRGTP) for Polish students in the biological sciences.


Lab Manager and Technicians

Wiola Nawrocka

Lab Technician

Viola is a scientist with a high avidity for biochemistry and molecular biology. She is currently focused on elucidating molecular details of recognition of antigen presenting MHC molecules by Treg TCRs. Viola uses most of her vital energy teaching lab members extraneous phrases in polish, mastering GRE vocabulary, and actively trying not to sing while pipetting.

Ady Steinbach

Lab Technician

Ady is interested in biochemistry and structural biology, especially in the context of human health. When she is not in lab, she enjoys hiking, knitting, beer, and dogspotting.


Mary Coomes

Mary is studying biology and visual art as an undergraduate and is interested in the complex (and beautiful) structures of proteins that dictate their role in the body's immune system. Outside of lab, she enjoys wood working, music making, and swimming in the lake.

Natalie Gray

Natalie studies the activation of Vγ9Vδ2 T cells, with a focus on the interaction between phosphoantigens and BTN3A1 membrane receptors. At UChicago she plans to major in both Biochemistry and Chemistry. Outside of lab and coursework she enjoys singing, hiking, and getting really excited about other people’s dogs.

Natalie is a Beckman Scholar. 

Sam Dubensky

Sam is a Biological Sciences major studying the role of antigen recognition in the recruitment and activation of T regulatory cells. Outside of lab you may find him reading scifi, listening to psychedelic rock LPs, brewing tea, or cooking.





Captain Jack





Lab Alumni

Kajal Chourdhary, PhD (2007-2008)
Aparna Palakodeti, PhD (2009-2011)
Jacinto Lopez-Sagaseta, PhD (2009-2014)
Andrew Sandstrom, PhD (2014)
Adrienne Luoma, PhD (2014-2016)

Graduate Students:
Louise Scharf, PhD (2010), PostDoc in Bjorkman Lab,  Caltech
Caitlyn Yeykal, PhD (2012), Global Project Management at   Merck
Greg Tietjen, PhD (2013), Postdoc in Saltzman lab, Yale
Andrew Sandstrom, PhD (2014), Postdoc in Vance Lab, UC  Berkeley
Adrienne Luoma, PhD (2014), Postdoc in Wucherpfennig  lab, Harvard
James Crooks, PhD (2015), Senior Software Engineer,  Litmus Health

Masters Students:
Filip Golebiowski (2007), pursuing PhD at University of  Krakow, Poland
Agata Oruba (2008), pursuing PhD at Max Plank Institute,   Frankfurt Germany
Wioletta Nawrocka (2015), applying for graduate school

Victor Liu (2012-2014), pursuing Medical degree at  University of Texas Houston
Carissa Lim (2013-2015)
Joel Siegel (2012-2013)
Irvin Ho (2011-2012)
Jenifer Kung (2010-2012), pursuing PhD at UCSF
Lakshmi Sundaresan (2010-2012)
Allison Kazen (2006-2010), Undergraduate Honors
Steve Mudroch (2009-2010)
Allison Roberts (2006-2008), Undergraduate Honors,  pursuing PhD in Barton Lab at UC Berkely
Wesley Jun (2006-2007), pursuing PhD in Lengyel Lab, U  of C

Undergraduate Research Visiting Summer Students:
Hoa B Nguyen (Summer 2006)
John Haughner (Summer 2007)
Valentina Dimitrova (Summer 2008)
Heather Lavezzi (Summer 2008)
Sneha Shah (Summer 2009)
Leah Sibener (Summer 2010)

University of Chicago Post-Baccalaureate Research  Education Program (PREP)
Gabrielle McRae (2011)
Natassia Buckridge (2015) 

Lab Managers:
Leslie Bembinster
Chelsea Parks


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
929 E. 57th Street 
Chicago, IL 60637 


Lab Phone: 773-834-0660
Office Phone: 773-834-9816
Department Fax: 773-702-0439