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“My dad taught me about the forces of nature and instilled in me an intense curiosity which eventually led to my career in science. ”
Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D.
President and Chief Scientific Officer
Division of Developmental Immunology

cell-bullet1.jpg“My dad always wanted to be a weather forecaster.  He was fascinated by atmospheric changes and studied books on meteorology.  As a boy, he taught me a lot about the forces of nature and instilled in me intense curiosity and a sense of wonder that I think eventually led to my career in science.” – Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D.

Dr. Kronenberg started at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology in 1997 as Head of the Division Developmental Immunology. In 2003, he was selected to become the Institute's President and now serves as President and Chief Scientific Officer. Dr. Kronenberg received his B.S. in biochemistry from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1983. From 1986 to 1997, Dr. Kronenberg he served on the faculty of the School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Mitchell Kronenberg, 
Ph.D.Dr. Kronenberg's research focuses on natural killer T cells (NKT) and their responses to pathogenic bacteria.  His laboratory also studies the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases.  He is the author of more than 250 publications and is an Institute for Scientific Information “Highly Cited Scientist”. 

In 2000, Dr. Kronenberg was named a Roy and Robert Kroc Distinguished Visiting Professor of Immunology and Medicine by the University of California, Davis. In 2002, he was a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Visiting Professor at Harvard University.

research focus

cell-bullet2.jpg Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., and his team study T cells - white blood cells responsible for recognizing and responding to foreign invaders, such as microbes. The laboratory focuses on a subset of T cells, that recognize glycolipids, or combinations of sugar and fat. Their research seeks to investigate how these T cells, called natural killer T cells (NKT), survive, grow, and regulate other immune cell types.

NKT cells apparently regulate a variety of immune responses, including the response to tumors and certain infectious agents. They also assist in the prevention of autoimmune diseases, such as diabetes (an immune attack on the pancreas) and multiple sclerosis (an immune attack on the nerves). The NKT cells respond rapidly and help other cells become activated. A glycolipid that activates these cells is currently in clinical trials in Australia, Japan, and Europe for treatment of metastatic cancer and hepatitis C virus infection.

A second area of research is the development of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and an immune-mediated disease of the intestine, which include Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. The uncontrolled response of white blood cells in the intestine leads to chronic inflammation. Using experimental models they developed, Dr. Kronenberg and his team are identifying molecules responsible for causing this poorly regulated immune response in the digestive tract.

selected publications


IL-27 Receptor Limits Atherosclerosis in Ldlr-/- Mice. Crc Res. 2012

HVEM signalling at mucosal barriers provides host defence against pathogenic bacteria. Nature. 2012

Intestinal Microbes Affect Phenotypes and Functions of Invariant Natural Killer T cells in Mice. Gastroenterology. 2012

Neutrophilic granulocytes modulate invariant NKT cell function in mice and humans.
J Immunol.

Interplay between carbohydrate and lipid in recognition of glycolipid antigens by natural killer T cells. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2012

Making memory at birth: understanding the differentiation of natural killer T cells.
Curr Opin Immunol.

Glycolipids that elicit IFN-γ-biased responses from natural killer T cells. Chem Biol. 2011

Unique interplay between sugar and lipid in determining the antigenic potency of bacterial antigens for NKT cells. PLoS Biol. 2011

Mucosal memory CD8⁺ T cells are selected in the periphery by an MHC class I molecule.
Nat Immunol. 2011

Cooling the fires of inflammation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S.A. 2011

Invariant natural killer T cells recognize glycolipids from pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria.
Nat Immunol. 2011

Invariant NKT cells are required for airway inflammation induced by environmental antigens.
J Exp Med.

Fibrocyte-like cells recruited to the spleen support innate and adaptive immune responses to acute injury or infection. J Mol Med. 2011

Hepatic Stellate Cells Function as Regulatory Bystanders. J Immunol. 2011

Diverse endogenous antigens for mouse NKT cells: self-antigens that are not glycosphingolipids. J Immunol. 2011

Regulation of inflammation, autoimmunity, and infection immunity by HVEM-BTLA signaling.
J Leukoc Biol. 2011

The Vα14 invariant natural killer T cell TCR forces microbial glycolipids and CD1d into a conserved binding mode. J Exp Med. 2010

Antigen-specific cytotoxicity by invariant NKT cells in vivo is CD95/CD178-dependent and is correlated with antigenic potency. J Immunol. 2010

Regulatory T-cell stability and plasticity in mucosal and systemic immune systems. Mucosal Immunol. 2010

Co-receptor choice by V alpha14i NKT cells is driven by Th-POK expression rather than avoidance of CD8-mediated negative selection. J Exp Med. 2010

Regulatory B cells prevent and reverse allergic airway inflammation via FoxP3-positive T regulatory cells in a murine model. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010

The role of invariant NKT cells at the interface of innate and adaptive immunity. Semin Immunol. 2010

Loss of T cell and B cell quiescence precedes the onset of microbial flora-dependent wasting disease and intestinal inflammation in Gimap5-deficient mice. J Immunol. 2010

A CD1d-dependent antagonist inhibits the activation of invariant NKT cells and prevents development of allergen-induced airway hyperreactivity. J Immunol. 2010

Commensal microbiota and CD8+ T cells shape the formation of invariant NKT cells.
J Immunol. 2010

Lipid binding orientation within CD1d affects recognition of Borrelia burgorferi antigens by NKT cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S.A. 2010

Mechanisms for glycolipid antigen-driven cytokine polarization by Valpha14i NKT cells.
J Immunol.

Carbohydrate Moieties as Vaccine Candidates: meeting summary. Vaccine. 2010

T cell intrinsic heterodimeric complexes between HVEM and BTLA determine receptivity to the surrounding microenvironment. J. Immunol. 2009

Transcriptional regulator Id2 controls survival of hepatic NKT cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S.A. 2009 

Interleukin 10 acts on regulatory T cells to maintain expression of the transcription factor Foxp3 and suppressive function in mice with colitis. Nat Immunol. 2009 

The roles of 3' and 4' hydroxy groups in alpha-galactosylceramide stimulation of invariant natural killer T cells. ChemMedChem. 2009 

View all publications
The link above may include papers by scientists with the same or similar name.

staff list
upcoming seminars
    "Zinc-induced Polymerization of Receptor at the Plasma Membrane: A New Form of Regulated Signal Transduction?"
    Wednesday 05/18/16: 12:00 PM
    "Exploring the Roles of Type-2 Cytokine-producing Mucosal Mast Cells in Allergic Disorder"
    Wednesday 06/01/16: 12:00 PM
  • Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) Highly Cited Scientist, 2007
  • Joseph S. Ingraham lecture (endowed biannual lecture), Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, 2007
  • Keynote speaker, 4th Workshop on NKT cells and CD1-mediated antigen presentation, Tuscany, Italy, 2006
  • Keynote speaker, 17th Northern Immunologic Mountain Society (NIMS) Meeting, Bolton, VT, 2006
  • NIH NIAID Merit (R37) Award, 2006
  • Distinguished Guest Speaker, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, 2004
  • Keynote Speaker, 28th Annual La Jolla Immunology Conference, 2002
  • Burroughs Wellcome Fund Visiting Professor in Basic Biomedical Sciences (Harvard University), 2002
  • Keynote Speaker, IgV Meeting, Mount Buffalo, Victoria, Australia, 2001
  • Roy and Robert Kroc Distinguished Professor in Medicine and Immunology, UC Davis, 2000
  • R.F. and E.A. Dwyer Award for Excellence of the Jonsson Cancer Center ($2500
     prize), 1993.
  • NIH Postdoctoral Training Grant Fellowship
  • NIH Predoctoral Training Grant Fellowship
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