Peter Cresswell, Ph.D., the newly designated Eugene Higgins Professor of Immunobiology, has spent most of his career unraveling some of the mysteries of the human immune system.

Cresswell’s research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of antigen processing, in which fragments of proteins from viruses, bacteria and other disease-causing organisms bind to the Major Histocompatibility Complex molecules on human cells during an infection. These molecules are recognized by T lymphocytes and are critical for making effective immune responses to infectious agents. His laboratory is also investigating the antiviral mechanisms of proteins inducible by Type 1 and Type 2 interferons. One such protein, viperin, mediates resistance to infection by influenza virus and human cytomegalovirus.

Cresswell, also professor of dermatology and of cell biology, has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator since 1991, when he joined the Yale faculty. The Yale researcher earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and his Ph.D. at the University of London. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University before joining the faculty at the Duke University Medical Center in 1973, where he taught until his appointment at Yale. He was a visiting scientist at the MRC Cellular Immunology Unit at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology at the University of Oxford in 1981, and was elected Newton-Abraham Professor and a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, during a second visit in 2007. Cresswell has earned numerous honors for his work, including the 1995 Rose Payne Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics and a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society in the U.K., and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Since 1994, Cresswell has been an associate editor of Immunity, and serves on the editorial boards of several other journals. He was a member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Recommendations for U.S. Army Basic Scientific Research from 1987 to 1990, and currently serves on the scientific advisory boards of the Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and the National University of Singapore’s Immunology Program.