Paula B Kavathas PhD

Professor of Laboratory Medicine, of Immunobiology and of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Associate Chair for Research; Director, Science Education Outreach Program; Chair, Women's Faculty Forum

Biographical Info

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 stayed on to obtain her Ph.D. in Genetics from the Department of Genetics, founded in 1921 as the first Genetics Department in the country. At Wisconsin she worked with Dr. Robert DeMars and discovered the HLA-DP gene and used x-rays to develop a set of deletion-mutant cell lines for genetic analysis of the HLA region. She then went on to 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), developed in Dr. Herzenberg's lab. Transferring human DNA into mouse L cells, she used the FACS to isolate rare varients expressing the human cell surface protein CD8 and went on to clone the gene from the varients.

At Yale she continued her studies on CD8 and recently has focused on the functional relevance of four isoforms of the 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. The lab also has identified a novel adaptor protein interaction with CD8 and is studying its functional relevance. Dr. Kavathas is the Chair of the Women Faculty Forum at Yale and former Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women of the American Association of Immunologists. She regularly serves on review panels for the National Institutes of Health and was a former Chair of the Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation Study Section. Dr. Kavathas is the founder and Director of the Science Education Outreach Program is Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Laboratory Medicine.

Education & Training

University of Wisconsin-Madison (1972)
University of Wisconsin-Madison (1980)

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