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Erin J. Adams, PhD

Principal Investigator
Joseph Regenstein Professor 
PhD 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.

Charlie Dulberger

PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
University of Chicago  

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.

Kristof Nolan

PhD in Molecular Genetics, and Biochemistry,
University of Cincinnati   

Kristof is working on understanding how unique NK cell receptors function to recognize unique ligands and MHC-related molecules during homeostasis and in various disease-state pathologies such as cancer. He is working to understand these interactions through biochemical, structural, and cellular-based approaches. When Kristof is not in lab, he enjoys practicing Brazilian jiujitsu, playing piano, and spending time with his wife and dog.



Graduate Students

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, learning piano, reading, 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.

Philipp Ross

Genetics, Genomics, & Systems Biology

In collaboration with the Lynch Lab, Philipp is interested in the role of MHC molecules in resolving the immunological paradox of pregnancy in humans and non-human primates. When not in lab, he’s likely volunteering at the Museum of Science and Industry, staying fit, having a beer, and/or playing guitar (all at the same time).

Cole Ladd

Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics

Cole is interested in the mechanism of antigen presentation by the MHC-like molecule MR1 and the structural features governing antigen discrimination by MR1-restricted TCRs. In her free time, you can find her attending musicals, singing, and reading.


Lab Manager

Sophie Krahnke

Sophie is a biochemist with a strong interest in protein structural biology. She is currently focusing on the structure of certain natural killer cell receptors and their interactions with various ligands. Outside of the lab, Sophie enjoys singing and performing, running, scouring cooking blogs for new recipes to make, and attempting to watch every British mystery TV show ever produced.




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

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

Graduate Students:
Charlie Dulburger, PhD (2017), Postdoc in Adams Lab, University of Chicago
James Crooks, PhD (2015), Senior Software Engineer, Litmus Health
Adrienne Luoma, PhD (2014), Postdoc in Wucherpfennig lab, Harvard
Andrew Sandstrom, PhD (2014), Postdoc in Vance Lab, UC Berkeley
Greg Tietjen, PhD (2013), Assistant Professor, Surgery: Transplant & Immunology, Yale
Caitlyn Yeykal, PhD (2012), Global Project Management at Merck
Louise Scharf, PhD (2010), PostDoc in Bjorkman Lab, Caltech

Masters Students:
Zuzanna Kotkowska (2017)
Wioletta Nawrocka (2015), pursuing PhD at University of Chicago
Agata Oruba (2008), pursuing PhD at Max Plank Institute, Frankfurt Germany
Filip Golebiowski (2007), pursuing PhD at University of Krakow, Poland

Mary Coomes (2015-2017)
Ady Steinbach (2014-2017), pursuing PhD at UCSF
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, University of Chicago

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

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

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