Throughout my career, I have been interested in elucidating the genetic basis for the functional diversity of the immune system, both in the context of susceptibility to autoimmunity and infectious diseases. I originally worked on the mouse but have moved predominantly into human genetics over the past decade. My research laboratory uses next-generation sequencing to perform high throughput genomic analyses of large patient populations. I recently transitioned from the position of Chairman of the Department of Immunology to become the Scientific Director of the Clinical NGS Laboratory and Genomics Core at UT Southwestern Medical Center. My mission in this new position is to support the development of clinical assays to implement precision medicine strategies in patient care and to support the development of genomics as a technology in clinical research. This has resulted in the expansion of my research interests to include the analysis of a variety of complex biological systems, including cancer, autoimmunity, immunity to infectious diseases, and immune system signaling. We developed the Clinical NGS Laboratory in association with the Departments of Pathology and Bioinformatics and validated an NGS-based targeted sequencing assay of 1425 cancer genes for use in patient care in 2017. This assay is currently being used by a variety of oncologists and we are now involved in several clinical research projects in cancer. We are also in the process of developing and validating additional assays for patient care, including transcriptomic analysis of the tumor microenvironment, characterization of the immunologic responses of patients receiving immunotherapy (with Drs. D. Gerber, Q. Li, and S. Khan), and genomic analysis of systemic lupus erythematosus patients (with Drs. P. Raj, D. Karp, Q. Li, and N. van Oers).


Graduate School
University of Hawaii at Manoa (1976), Microbiology

Research Interest

  • Genetic variability in the immune system
  • Molecular genetics of susceptibility to autoimmune diseases
  • Precision Medicine


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Transancestral mapping and genetic load in systemic lupus erythematosus.
Langefeld CD, Ainsworth HC, Cunninghame Graham DS, Kelly JA, Comeau ME, Marion MC, Howard TD, Ramos PS, Croker JA, Morris DL, Sandling JK, Almlöf JC, Acevedo-Vásquez EM, Alarcón GS, Babini AM, Baca V, Bengtsson AA, Berbotto GA, Bijl M, Brown EE, Brunner HI, Cardiel MH, Catoggio L, Cervera R, Cucho-Venegas JM, Dahlqvist SR, D'Alfonso S, Da Silva BM, de la Rúa Figueroa I, Doria A, Edberg JC, Endreffy E, Esquivel-Valerio JA, Fortin PR, Freedman BI, Frostegård J, García MA, de la Torre IG, Gilkeson GS, Gladman DD, Gunnarsson I, Guthridge JM, Huggins JL, James JA, Kallenberg CGM, Kamen DL, Karp DR, Kaufman KM, Kottyan LC, Kovács L, Laustrup H, Lauwerys BR, Li QZ, Maradiaga-Ceceña MA, Martín J, McCune JM, McWilliams DR, Merrill JT, Miranda P, Moctezuma JF, Nath SK, Niewold TB, Orozco L, Ortego-Centeno N, Petri M, Pineau CA, Pons-Estel BA, Pope J, Raj P, Ramsey-Goldman R, Reveille JD, Russell LP, Sabio JM, Aguilar-Salinas CA, Scherbarth HR, Scorza R, Seldin MF, Sjöwall C, Svenungsson E, Thompson SD, Toloza SMA, Truedsson L, Tusié-Luna T, Vasconcelos C, Vilá LM, Wallace DJ, Weisman MH, Wither JE, Bhangale T, Oksenberg JR, Rioux JD, Gregersen PK, Syvänen AC, Rönnblom L, Criswell LA, Jacob CO, Sivils KL, Tsao BP, Schanberg LE, Behrens TW, Silverman ED, Alarcón-Riquelme ME, Kimberly RP, Harley JB, Wakeland EK, Graham RR, Gaffney PM, Vyse TJ Nat Commun 2017 07 8 16021
Regulation of B cell tolerance by the lupus susceptibility gene Ly108
Kumar, K.R., Li, L., Yan, M, Bhaskarabhatla, M., Mobley, A.B., Nguyen, C., Mooney, J.M., Schatzle, J.D., Wakeland, E.K, and Mohan, C. Science 2006 312 1665-1669
Epistatic modifiers of autoimmunity in a murine model of lupus nephritis.
Morel L, Tian XH, Croker BP, Wakeland EK Immunity 1999 Aug 11 2 131-9

Honors & Awards

  • Randy Fisher Award for Outstanding Basic Science Research in Lupus
    This Award is given to one investigator studying systemic lupus erythematosus by the Lupus in the 21st Century organization (2018)
  • Pillars in Immunology publication : "Polygenic control of susceptibility to murine systemic lupus erythematosus"
    The American Association of Immunology selects publications that have provided seminal discoveries in the field of immunology and republishes them in the Journal of Immunology (2015)
  • NIH Merit Award
    This ten NIH grant is awarded to investigators for outstanding productivity and discovery (2004-2014)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Association of Immunologists
  • American Society for Microbiology
  • American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Genetics Society of America
  • Mammalian Genome Society