Summary

Rafael Casellas received a Ph.D. in Molecular Immunology from the Rockefeller University in 2002, where he worked in the laboratory of Michel Nussenzweig. From 2002 to 2003, he did postdoctoral training with David Baltimore at the California Institute of Technology. In December 2003, Dr. Casellas moved to the NIAMS where he is currently a senior investigator and head of the Laboratory of Lymphocyte Nuclear Biology. Dr. Casellas is also serving as an adjunct investigator at the Center for Cancer Research, NCI, and as head of the NIH Regulome Project.

Research Statement

Our main goal is to unravel the nuclear events that drive peripheral activation of B lymphocytes. From genome-wide changes in epigenetics, chromatin architecture, and transcriptional activation, to recombination and hypermutation of antibody genes. Another major interest is to understand how deregulation of these mechanisms leads to B cell tumorigenesis. To achieve these goals, our team combines a wide range of cutting-edge technologies, including genome editing, nanoscopy, in situ Hi-C, cryo-EM, and bioinformatic tools.

Scientific Publications

Nanobodies from camelid mice and llamas neutralize SARS-CoV-2 variants.

Xu J, Xu K, Jung S, Conte A, Lieberman J, Muecksch F, Lorenzi JCC, Park S, Schmidt F, Wang Z, Huang Y, Luo Y, Nair MS, Wang P, Schulz JE, Tessarollo L, Bylund T, Chuang GY, Olia AS, Stephens T, Teng IT, Tsybovsky Y, Zhou T, Munster V, Ho DD, Hatziioannou T, Bieniasz PD, Nussenzweig MC, Kwong PD, Casellas R
Nature.
2021 Jul;
595(7866).
doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03676-z
PMID: 34098567

mRNA vaccine-elicited antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and circulating variants.

Wang Z, Schmidt F, Weisblum Y, Muecksch F, Barnes CO, Finkin S, Schaefer-Babajew D, Cipolla M, Gaebler C, Lieberman JA, Oliveira TY, Yang Z, Abernathy ME, Huey-Tubman KE, Hurley A, Turroja M, West KA, Gordon K, Millard KG, Ramos V, Da Silva J, Xu J, Colbert RA, Patel R, Dizon J, Unson-O'Brien C, Shimeliovich I, Gazumyan A, Caskey M, Bjorkman PJ, Casellas R, Hatziioannou T, Bieniasz PD, Nussenzweig MC
Nature.
2021 Apr;
592(7855).
doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03324-6
PMID: 33567448

Interactome maps of mouse gene regulatory domains reveal basic principles of transcriptional regulation.

Kieffer-Kwon KR, Tang Z, Mathe E, Qian J, Sung MH, Li G, Resch W, Baek S, Pruett N, Grøntved L, Vian L, Nelson S, Zare H, Hakim O, Reyon D, Yamane A, Nakahashi H, Kovalchuk AL, Zou J, Joung JK, Sartorelli V, Wei CL, Ruan X, Hager GL, Ruan Y, Casellas R
Cell.
2013 Dec 19;
155(7).
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.11.039
PMID: 24360274

The Energetics and Physiological Impact of Cohesin Extrusion.

Vian L, Pękowska A, Rao SSP, Kieffer-Kwon KR, Jung S, Baranello L, Huang SC, El Khattabi L, Dose M, Pruett N, Sanborn AL, Canela A, Maman Y, Oksanen A, Resch W, Li X, Lee B, Kovalchuk AL, Tang Z, Nelson S, Di Pierro M, Cheng RR, Machol I, St Hilaire BG, Durand NC, Shamim MS, Stamenova EK, Onuchic JN, Ruan Y, Nussenzweig A, Levens D, Aiden EL, Casellas R
Cell.
2018 Sep 20;
175(1).
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.09.002
PMID: 30241609

CTCF orchestrates long-range cohesin-driven V(D)J recombinational scanning.

Ba Z, Lou J, Ye AY, Dai HQ, Dring EW, Lin SG, Jain S, Kyritsis N, Kieffer-Kwon KR, Casellas R, Alt FW
Nature.
2020 Oct;
586(7828).
doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2578-0
PMID: 32717742

B cell super-enhancers and regulatory clusters recruit AID tumorigenic activity.

Qian J, Wang Q, Dose M, Pruett N, Kieffer-Kwon KR, Resch W, Liang G, Tang Z, Mathé E, Benner C, Dubois W, Nelson S, Vian L, Oliveira TY, Jankovic M, Hakim O, Gazumyan A, Pavri R, Awasthi P, Song B, Liu G, Chen L, Zhu S, Feigenbaum L, Staudt L, Murre C, Ruan Y, Robbiani DF, Pan-Hammarström Q, Nussenzweig MC, Casellas R
Cell.
2014 Dec 18;
159(7).
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.013
PMID: 25483777

A Pliable Mediator Acts as a Functional Rather Than an Architectural Bridge between Promoters and Enhancers.

El Khattabi L, Zhao H, Kalchschmidt J, Young N, Jung S, Van Blerkom P, Kieffer-Kwon P, Kieffer-Kwon KR, Park S, Wang X, Krebs J, Tripathi S, Sakabe N, Sobreira DR, Huang SC, Rao SSP, Pruett N, Chauss D, Sadler E, Lopez A, Nóbrega MA, Aiden EL, Asturias FJ, Casellas R
Cell.
2019 Aug 22;
178(5).
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.07.011
PMID: 31402173

Somatic Rearrangement in B Cells: It's (Mostly) Nuclear Physics.

Aiden EL, Casellas R
Cell.
2015 Aug 13;
162(4).
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.07.034
PMID: 26276627
Last Updated: July 2022