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Our laboratory is interested in protein-protein interactions, particularly those mediating immune recognition. We use X-ray crystallography and biochemistry to study purified proteins, and electron and confocal microscopy to examine protein complexes in cells. Some of our work focuses upon homologs and mimics of class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins, which normally function in peptide presentation to T cells. MHC homologs have similar three-dimensional structures, but different functions including immune functions (IgG transport by the neonatal Fc receptor, FcRn; evasion of the immune response by viral MHC mimics), and non-immune functions (regulation of iron or lipid metabolism by HFE and ZAG). We focus on three interrelated areas: (1) structure/function studies of homologs and mimics of MHC proteins; (2) cell biological studies of antibody receptors, for example, the MHC-related neonatal Fc receptor; and (3) designing antibodies with increased efficacy against HIV.

Earnest C. Watson Lecture, 2015
TEDxCaltech: Visualizing and Engineering
New Anti-HIV Agents, 2013

Traveling with Purpose - Volunteering in India, 2012
World AIDS Day - News Conference on KNBC-TV, 2012
LA Theatre Works interview about
Rosalind Franklin with Pamela Bjorkman, 2011


–Louise Scharf’s talk at AIDS Vaccine, 2013
–Crystals in space - interview with
graduate student Gwen Owen, 2013


HIVRAD P01 Project - Development, Structure, and Function of Broadly Neutralizing anti-HIV Antibodies



California Institute of Technology
Division of Biology and Biological Engineering
MC 114-96 | 1200 E. California Blvd.,
Pasadena, CA 91125
(626) 395-8351 phone | 626) 792-3683 fax
murphym [at] caltech dot edu