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Paula Kavathas, PhD

Professor of Laboratory Medicine, of Immunobiology and of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Vice Chair of Diversity, Immunobiology; Institutional Leader, CIRTL Network

Contact Information

Paula Kavathas, PhD

Lab Location

Mailing Address

  • PO Box 208035

    333 Cedar Street

    New Haven, CT 06520-8035

    United States



Dr. Kavathas graduated with a B.A. in American Institutions, from the University of Wisconsin, writing her thesis on the role of Science in America in the 1960s. She obtained her Ph.D. in Genetics from the Department of Genetics, with Dr. Robert DeMars performing a genetic analysis of the MHC region. As a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University with Dr. Leonard Herzenberg she developed a novel approach for cloning genes for cell surface proteins using the fluorescence activated cell sorter (FACS) and cloned the gene for the human CD8 protein.

At Yale she continued her studies on CD8ab, a cell surface protein that functions as a co-receptor with the T Cell receptor on CD8 killer T cells. Her lab characterized the expression and functional differences of four isoforms of the human CD8b protein that exist in humans and great apes but not mice. They are differentially expressed in naive T cells, activated T cells, and memory T cells and they show differences in signal transduction and modification by ubiquitination. More recently she is studying how to enhance killing of human lung cancer tumors that have lost expression of HLA class I and are no longer killed by CD8 T killer cells.

Education & Training

  • PhD
    University of Wisconsin-Madison (1980)
  • BA
    University of Wisconsin-Madison (1972)

Departments & Organizations