Doctor Bernard Malissen pioneered the use of gene transfer approaches to dissect the function of Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules. He also succeeded reconstructing a full T cell antigen receptor (TCR) complex and demonstrated that the present-day signaling subunits associated with antigen receptors stem from a common primordial building block. He provided the first evidence for chromosomal inversion during TCR gene rearrangements.
His team was also the first to elucidate the atomic structure of an alloreactive TCR in complex with its peptide-MHC ligand, providing a molecular explanation for the basis of transplant rejection and TCR binding-degeneracy. His recent interests extend to dendritic cells and macrophages, leading him to disentangle their functional complexity primarily in the skin. To make sense of the complexity of the signal transduction networks involved in T cell activation, he recently used “omic” approaches to provide a systems level picture of the TCR signal transduction network and of its tuning by costimulatory and coinhibitory receptors.
Bernard Malissen published 400 scientific papers, (h-factor of 94) and ranked for the last 5 years among the most highly cited researchers in Immunology.