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John R. Klein, PhD

 John R. Klein, PhD
  • Title: Professor
  • Office: BBS-5301
  • Phone: 713-486-4369 (office), 713-502-5937 (cell)
  • Email:
  • Administrative Area(s): Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences
  • Education:

    PhD, Infectious Disease Immunology | Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Viral Immunology | The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Cellular Immunology | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Cancer Research, Boston, MA
    Research Associate, Cellular and Molecular Immunology | Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, CA

Dr. Klein is a tenured professor of immunology in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences. He is the recipient of numerous research awards, including The Dean’s Excellence Award in the Scholarship of Discovery at UTHealth School of Dentistry, and a Research Award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. He has served on study sections for the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, and the National Science Foundation. He is a member of the editorial board of Scientific Reports, Developmental and Comparative Immunology, and Critical Immunology Reviews, and served as an associate editor for the Journal of Immunology. He has been an ad-hoc reviewer for more than 40 scientific journals, including for Nature, Science, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Klein’s research was continually funded for 26 years by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases of the NIH. He is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed publications.

Dr. Klein’s laboratory has two major areas of research. The first focuses on understanding basic immunobiological properties that regulate mammalian T cell responses in both healthy and diseased conditions, particularly as they relate to mucosal sites in the intestine and the oral cavity. The goal of these studies is to understand factors that activate the immune response in normal homeostatic settings in response to infection or cancer, as well as to define how chronic inflammation is perpetuated and how it can be curtailed, with particular emphasis on diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.

A second area of research in Dr. Klein’s laboratory is aimed at understanding the bilateral nature, function, and integration of the immune system and the endocrine system. This work has been instrumental in defining how the endocrine system regulates the immune response on the one hand, and reciprocally how the immune system contributes to systemic host metabolic activity. Dr. Klein’s laboratory identified the first alternatively-spliced form of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and demonstrated that it is produced almost exclusively by cells of the immune system. Evidence from other laboratories has now link the expression of the TSHβ splice variant to the development of autoimmune thyroiditis, thus identifying a potential causative relationship between immune system TSH and chronic thyroid inflammation in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease.

Selected Publications:

  1. Montufar-Solis, D., Williams, A., Vigneswaran, N., and Klein, J.R.: Involvement of Ly6C, 4-1BB, and KLRG1 in the activation of lamina propria lymphocytes in small intestine of sanroque mice. Biochem Biophys Res Comm 483:590-595. 2017.
  2. Montufar-Solis, D., and Klein, J.R.: Splenic leukocytes traffic to the thyroid and produce a novel TSH? isoform during acute Listeria monocytogenes infection in mice. Plos One 10.1371 Jan 15 2016.
  3. Klein, J.R.: Biological impact of the TSH? splice variant in health and disease. Front Immunol 5:1-5. 2014.
  4. Montufar-Solis, D. Vigneswaran, N., Nakra, N., Schaefer, J.S., and Klein, J.R.: Hematopoietic not systemic impairment of Roquin accounts for intestinal inflammation in Roquin-deficient mice. Sci Rep 4:4920. 2014.
  5. Vincent, B.H., Montufar-Solis, D., Teng, B.B., Amendt, B., Schaefer, J., Klein J.R.: A novel TSH? splice variant produced by bone marrow cells that is upregulated in the thyroid following systemic virus infection. Genes Immun 10:18-26. 2009.
  6. Wang, J., Whetsell, M. and Klein, J.R.: Local hormone networks and intestinal T cell homeostasis. Science 275:1937-1939. 1997.
  7. Wang, J. and Klein, J.R.: Thymus-neuroendocrine interactions in extrathymic T cell development. Science 265:1860-1862. 1994.