Kenneth L. Rock

Lecture Title: Discovery of a novel & unique human DAMP receptor, its ligand, and role in inflammation

Dr. Rock is Chairman of the Department of Pathology at UMass Chan Medical School and leads a basic science immunology research lab. His research is focused in two areas. One area is the elucidation of how cell death and danger signals influence immune responses. These processes underlie the development of innate and adaptive immune responses to injured cells and also pathogenic irritant particles. These responses cause sterile inflammation that underlie the pathogenesis of a number of diseases, such as gout and atherosclerosis. In this area, his has established the molecular identity of endogenous danger signals and their receptors, and a key common pathway, involving IL-1 and inflammasomes, through which many structurally distinct stimuli cause sterile inflammation. The second focus area is on antigen presentation. His laboratory has established many of the key underlying mechanisms in antigen presentation including the role of the various proteasomes (constitutive, immuno and thymo forms), cytosolic aminopeptidases, and ERAP1 in MHC class I presentation, the cellular and cell biological basis of cross presentation, and the underlying mechanisms of antigen presentation in T-B cell interactions. He has been an ISI highly cited researcher and has an overall H-index of 80. His top primary paper in antigen presentation cited >3200 times; and top primary paper in sterile inflammation cited >3700 times.