Shane Crotty, PhD

Professor / La Jolla Institute for Immunology

La Jolla Institute for Immunology, Vaccine Discovery 9420 Athena Circle, La Jolla, CA 92037

Shane Crotty is a tenured full Professor at LJI, and an adjunct Professor in the UCSD Dept. of Medicine, Infectious Diseases Division.


Shane Crotty received the American Association of Immunologists (AAI)-BD Biosciences Investigator Award, for outstanding early-career research contributions to the field of Immunology, in 2012.

He was recently named a 2016 and 2017 Thompson Reuters ISI Highly Cited Researcher, ostensibly a tabulation of the most influential 125 immunologists in the world during the period 2004-2014 and 2005-2015.

Training and Education

  • 2003
    Postdoctoral, Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine (Emory Vaccine Center, Rafi Ahmed Lab)
  • 2001
    PhD, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of California San Francisco (UCSF)
  • 1996
    BS, Writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • 1996
    BS, Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Research and interests

After training with Rafi Ahmed, Crotty established his lab at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. The long-term goal of the Crotty lab is to understand the development of long-term humoral immunity and harness that knowledge for rational human vaccine design. After working on an AIDS vaccine for several years in graduate school, Crotty came to the decision that we knew insufficient immunology for scientifically-based vaccine development.

His focus since that point has been on taking the steps necessary to build the fundamental knowledge of immunology needed for future rational vaccine design. There are 28 licensed human vaccines, and based on long-term protective antibody responses, 26 of them almost certainly work. Therefore, while other protective mechanisms are also of value, the Crotty lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms regulating the immunological basis of long-term high-quality antibody responses, as well as CD4+ T cells that are essential for these processes.

The Crotty lab works on many aspects of Tfh biology, ranging from the molecular and cellular biology of Tfh cells all the way to the roles of Tfh cells in human diseases and human licensed or candidate vaccines, all with the goal of developing a better science of protective immunity. It has helped in establishing that follicular helper T cells (Tfh) are a distinct type of differentiated CD4+ T cell uniquely specialized in B cell help, controlled by the transcription factor Bcl6 (Science 2009).

Furthermore, Tfh cells are critically controlled by SAP (Sh2d1a) in both mice and humans (Nature 2003, Immunity 2012), and Tfh differentiation is a multistage, multifactorial process (Immunity 2011, JEM 2012, Immunity 2013, Nature Medicine 2014, J Immunology 2014a, J Immunology 2014b, Immunity 2014a, Immunity 2014b, Nature Immunology 2014, Nature Reviews Immunology 2015, J. Immunology Cutting Edge 2015, JEM 2015).

Through this work, Crotty became an internationally recognized leader in the field of Tfh cell biology. His review of Tfh cell in Annual Review of Immunology 2011 became the most cited review in the literature on Tfh cells (1500 citations, Google Scholar, Oct 2017).