Ian A. Wilson, DPhil, DSc, FRS, FRSE

Professor and Chair / The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute 
10550 North Torrey Pines Road, BCC206
 La Jolla, CA 92037

Ian A. Wilson is the Hansen Professor of Structural Biology and chair of the Department of Integrative Structural and Computational Biology at the Scripps Research Institute.


Professor Wilson was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London in 2000, a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2008 and a foreign associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 2016.

Training and Education

  • 2000
    DSc, Biological Sciences, Oxford University
  • 1977-1982
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Structural Biology, Harvard University
  • 1975-1977
    Fellow, Molecular Biophysics, Oxford University
  • 1976
    DPhil, Molecular Biophysics, Oxford University
  • 1971
    BSc, Biochemistry, University of Edinburgh

Research Interests

Research in the Wilson laboratory is focused on immune recognition of microbial pathogens and on structure-based design of vaccine and therapies. The lab has structurally characterized many key antigen recognition receptors in innate and adaptive immunity, including T cell receptors, MHC class I and II, over 250 antibodies and antibody complexes, CD1, TLRs, VLRs, NODs, etc. For over 35 years, professor Wilson’s team has worked in structural immunology and structural virology, particularly on structural and functional characterization of the challenging envelope glycoprotein antigens from influenza virus, HIV-1, and HCV, as well as the circumsporozoite protein (CSP) from P. falciparum.

Current focus of the Wilson laboratory is identifying the sites of vulnerability on viral pathogens (HIV-1, influenza virus and HCV) and malarial parasites (CSP) that are targeted by broadly neutralizing antibodies, why these antibodies are so effective, and how can this information be used for structure-based design of vaccines and therapies.

As PI of the Joint Center for Structural Genomics for 16 years, the lab also accumulated considerable expertise in high-throughput methods for crystallization, structure determination and analysis that’s applied to the microbial pathogen projects. In the process, they have constructed a robust high-throughput platform for biophysical characterization of antibodies and antigens by a variety of methods, including X-ray crystallography, DSC, ITC and other binding methods, and are exploiting this information for rational design and discovery of new vaccines and therapeutics.