History of Immunobiology at Yale

Dr. Richard Flavell

optional caption

The Department of Immunobiology was established in the summer of 1988 with the appointment of Dr. Richard A. Flavell as its founding Chairman. It was one of the first University Departments in the country devoted specifically to the study of the immune system. Prior to Dr. Flavell's arrival, Immunology research at Yale was housed for many years within the Department of Microbiology, and subsequently in the Department of Pathology where it was organized as the Division of Immunology headed by the late Dr. Richard K. Gershon. Dr. Gershon, whose research focused on regulation of the immune response, developed a sizable division within the Department of Pathology between 1977 and 1983. A key component in this growth was the establishment of a formal program of training in immunology at the pre- and post-doctoral levels. A second important stimulus was the strong support received by several members of the Section from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Eventually, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute constructed new and unified facilities for the Division of Immunology within the Medical School. At the time of Dr. Gershon's untimely death, a committee was appointed that recommended the establishment of an autonomous Department of Immunobiology. This was in large part due to the efforts of the late Charles A. Janeway Jr., who played an instrumental role in the establishment of the Department of Immunobiology.

The present-day Department of Immunobiology consists of 13 primary faculty and 8 secondary faculty members. The department retains strong support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute with four HHMI-funded investigators, and occupies the newly built Anylan Center (TAC) with most of its primary and secondary faculty located in contiguous laboratories on the 5th and 6th floors. Additional faculty are located in adjacent and nearby buildings. The Department of Immunobiology is tightly integrated with other departments working on arthritis and autoimmunity, asthma and lung diseases, diabetes and bone diseases, infectious diseases and vascular biology. A style of highly collaborative and interactive research and training, established during the tenure of Dr. Gershon and fostered by Charlie Janeway Jr., remains the central culture of the department