Lynn B. Dustin, Ph.D.
The Rockefeller University
Dr. Dustin is an Associate Professor at The Rockefeller University. Her research focuses on how hepatitis C virus (HCV) interacts with the immune system and with antiviral drugs. She is specifically interested in extrahepatic manifestations of HCV infection involving B cells. Mixed cryoglobulinemia is one such sequela, in which some HCV infected patients develop abnormal antibodies that can cause blood vessel and organ damage. The B cells that produce these antibodies may also become cancerous, and a strong association between HCV infection and B cell lymphoma has been noted in some regions. Dr. Dustin's laboratory is investigating the pathogenesis of both mixed cryoglobulinemia and B cell lymphoma, specifically by analyzing the phenotype, antigen specificity, and molecular characteristics of the abnormally activated B cells. Her group is also investigating the causes of this abnormal activation, as well as working to resolve the controversy over whether HCV can replicate efficiently in lymphoid or myeloid cells. HCV adapts quickly to pressure from the immune system and from antiviral drugs. Studies are ongoing to determine how HCV adapts to specific challenges and how the adapted virus functions in the presence and absence of those challenges. These studies are expected to yield important new information for the design of antiviral therapies.
Dr. Dustin earned her B.A. degree, summa cum laude and with Distinction, in Biology from Boston University. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her Ph.D. in Immunology from Harvard University, where she was a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow. Dr. Dustin completed her postdoctoral training in immunology and signal transduction at Washington University in St. Louis, under the supervision of Dennis Loh and Matthew Thomas. She was a faculty member at St. Louis University School of Medicine before joining The Rockefeller University in 2001.