Andrew McShan

Andrew McShan

Assistant Professor

The questions that keep us up at night are: How does the immune system present and recognize antigens to combat disease? What are the molecular features involved in stimulating robust and specific immune responses? How can we exploit distinct features of immune recognition to develop new treatments for disease? Our research centers on answering these important questions. We focus on the CD1 family of major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC-I) related proteins, which present both self and foreign lipids to αβ, γδ, and natural killer T cells. Examples of CD1 complexes involved in the adaptive and innate immune response to human disease include those associated with lipids derived from cancerous cells (Leukemia, Carcinoma, Lymphoma, Melanoma), wasp/bee venom including yellowjackets of the genus Vespula who represent Georgia Tech's mascot Buzz (Hymenoptera venom allergy), bacterial pathogens (Mycobacterium tuberculosis - Tuberculosis, Borrelia burgdorferi - Lyme Disease, Pseudomonas aeruginosa - Pneumonia), viral pathogens (HSV-1 - Herpes, HBV - Hepatitis B), marine sponges, and self cells in autoimmune disease (Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Lysosomal Storage Disease). Recent studies have shown that CD1 can also associate with and present a much broader range of antigens, such as skin oils that lack a discernible hydrophilic head group, lipopeptides, and non-lipid small molecules. Unlike peptide antigen presentation by high polymorphic human MHC-I complexes for which therapeutics must be tailored to a patients genetic background, the non-polymorphic nature of CD1 means that lipid/CD1 molecules are attractive candidates for donor-unrestricted (i.e. universal and patient-haplotype independent) vaccines and immunotherapy treatments. Progress in the development of lipid/CD1 mediated therapies has been hindered by an incomplete understanding in several important features of the CD1 antigen processing and presentation pathway as well as a lack of structural information for clinically relevant lipid/CD1 complexes. We aim to address these knowledge gaps with our research.


Office Location:
MoSE G022


School of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Research Focus Areas:
  • Chemical Biology

  • IRI Connection: