Jonathan Wilson Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D.

Cellular Biology Section

Established in 1993

NIH Main Campus, Bethesda, MD

Jonathan Wilson Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D.

Chief, Cellular Biology Section

Contact: For contact information, search the NIH Enterprise Directory.

Jonathan Wilson Yewdell, M.D., Ph.D.

Major Areas of Research

  • Generation of MHC class I peptide ligands from defective ribosomal products (DRiPs) and other endogenous antigens
  • Cell biology of specialized and non-canonical protein translation
  • Defining mechanisms of influenza and corona virus evolution and antigenic variation in viral glycoproteins
  • Understanding immunodominance in B-cell and antibody responses to influenza A virus
  • Identifying and characterizing novel viral proteins

Program Description

Viruses pose a constant danger to living organisms. An astounding variety of viruses are recognized as human pathogens. The roster lengthens as humans come into more intimate contact with animal reservoirs harboring novel viruses and new technologies reveal human viruses that previously escaped detection.

The vertebrate immune system evolved in response to the threat posed by viruses. The importance of the immune system in protecting against lethal viral infections becomes obvious in innate or acquired immunodeficiencies, where depression of one or more elements of the system results in death from a typically “self-limited” viral infection, or in the success of vaccines in preventing dangerous viral infections. The immune system (like every biological system) is not perfect, and overzealous anti-viral responses frequently contribute to viral diseases.

The mission of the Cellular Biology Section is to extend basic understanding of the interaction between the host and viruses and to use viruses as tools to better understand cell biology.



M.D., Ph.D., 1981, University of Pennsylvania

A.B., 1975, Princeton University

Dr. Yewdell received an A.B. in biochemistry magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1975, working with Dr. Arnold Levine for his undergraduate thesis on immune recognition of virus-transformed cells. He received an M.D. and a Ph.D. in immunology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1981, working with Dr. Walter Gerhard on using monoclonal antibodies to understand influenza A virus hemagglutinin antigenicity and function. As a postdoctoral fellow, he worked with Sir David Lane at the Imperial College in London, studying the newly discovered p53 protein. From 1983 to 1987, he was an assistant professor at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. In 1987, Dr. Yewdell joined the Laboratory of Viral Diseases and in 1993 was appointed to lead its Cellular Biology Section.

Selected Publications

Ruiz Cuevas MV, Hardy MP, Hollý J, Bonneil É, Durette C, Courcelles M, Lanoix J, Côté C, Staudt LM, Lemieux S, Thibault P, Perreault C, Yewdell JW. Most non-canonical proteins uniquely populate the proteome or immunopeptidome. Cell Rep. 2021 Mar 9;34(10):108815.

Dersh D, Phelan JD, Gumina ME, Wang B, Arbuckle JH, Holly J, Kishton RJ, Markowitz TE, Seedhom MO, Fridlyand N, Wright GW, Huang DW, Ceribelli M, Thomas CJ, Lack JB, Restifo NP, Kristie TM, Staudt LM, Yewdell JW. Genome-wide Screens Identify Lineage- and Tumor-Specific Genes Modulating MHC-I- and MHC-II-Restricted Immunosurveillance of Human Lymphomas. Immunity. 2021 Jan 12;54(1):116-131.e10.

Angeletti D, Kosik I, Santos JJS, Yewdell WT, Boudreau CM, Mallajosyula VVA, Mankowski MC, Chambers M, Prabhakaran M, Hickman HD, McDermott AB, Alter G, Chaudhuri J, Yewdell JW. Outflanking immunodominance to target subdominant broadly neutralizing epitopes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Jul 2;116(27):13474-13479.

Wei J, Kishton RJ, Angel M, Conn CS, Dalla-Venezia N, Marcel V, Vincent A, Catez F, Ferré S, Ayadi L, Marchand V, Dersh D, Gibbs JS, Ivanov IP, Fridlyand N, Couté Y, Diaz JJ, Qian SB, Staudt LM, Restifo NP, Yewdell JW. Ribosomal Proteins Regulate MHC Class I Peptide Generation for Immunosurveillance. Mol Cell. 2019 Mar 21;73(6):1162-1173.e5.

Kosik I, Angeletti D, Gibbs JS, Angel M, Takeda K, Kosikova M, Nair V, Hickman HD, Xie H, Brooke CB, Yewdell JW. Neuraminidase inhibition contributes to influenza A virus neutralization by anti-hemagglutinin stem antibodies. J Exp Med. 2019 Feb 4;216(2):304-316.

Angeletti D, Gibbs JS, Angel M, Kosik I, Hickman HD, Frank GM, Das SR, Wheatley AK, Prabhakaran M, Leggat DJ, McDermott AB, Yewdell JW. Defining B cell immunodominance to viruses. Nat Immunol. 2017 Apr;18(4):456-463.

Visit PubMed for a listing of all publications.

Research Group

Lab Members

Postbaccalaureate Fellows

  • Neetij Krishnan, B.A.
  • Nicholas Usher, B.Sc.

Visiting Fellows

  • Nathan Fridlyand, Ph.D.
  • Jaroslav Holly, Ph.D.
  • Tiansheng Li, Ph.D.
  •  Alberto López-Muñoz, Ph.D.
  • Jefferson Santos, Ph.D.
  • Zhe Hu, Ph.D.

Research Fellows

  • Devin Dersh, Ph.D.
  • Ivan Kosik, Ph.D.

Research Staff

  • James Gibbs, Ph.D. – Biologist
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