Kevin O'Connor, PhD
Research & Publications
Dr. Kevin C. O’Connor is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Immunobiology at Yale School of Medicine. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Tufts Medical School. He took his post-doctoral training in Immunology at Harvard Medical School where he also spent several years on the faculty as an Assistant Professor. His investigative interests are in human translational immunology and neurology. He and his group are specifically interested in defining the mechanisms by which B cells, and the antibodies they produce, affect tissue damage in autoimmunity. To this end they are engaged in understanding how particular B cell subsets initiate and sustain autoimmunity. He and his team were among the first to characterize tertiary lymphoid tissue and the adaptive immune response in germ cell tumors and meningiomas. They also described the molecular characteristics of B cells and plasma cells that populate the muscle tissue of patients with myositis. They refined the role of Epstein-Barr virus in the multiple sclerosis (MS) brain and have further defined the role of humoral immunity in children with MS. Recently, he and his team identified a network of B cells and autoantibodies that populate the MS central nervous system. His current research focus includes further defining the immunopathology of myasthenia gravis (MG). He and his team demonstrated that B cell depletion therapy has sustained efficacy in MG. They were the first to show that MG-derived AChR antigen specific T cells belong to the pro-inflammatory Th17 subset. They also determined that MG subjects harbor defects in B cell tolerance checkpoints that correlate with abnormalities in the naïve B cells repertoire. They most recently identified the autoantibody-producing cells in MuSK MG. Their current focus is on further defining the mechanisms of autoantibody production in MG with the aim of improving therapeutic approaches.
Education & Training
- PhDTufts University (1999)
- BSUniversity of Massachusetts at Amherst (1988)