Eric Sebzda

Eric Sebzda

Associate Professor


Eric Sebzda

Position Title

Associate Professor


 Eric Sebzda, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology. He joined the faculty at Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2018. Dr. Sebzda received a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1998, did postdoctoral research at Cancer Research UK (London, UK from 1998-2002) and at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA from 2002-2006), prior to establishing an independent research laboratory at Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN from 2007-2017). In addition to studying various aspects of Immunology over the past several decades, Dr. Sebzda has never lost a game of Risk to any of his siblings. Fact.


 PhD from the University of Toronto, Department of Medical Biophysics (1998)


Accepting new MS students in 2020/21?: Yes
Accepting new PhD students in 2020/21?: Yes 

Laboratory Web Site

Office Location

7269 Scott Hall


 A primary focus of the Sebzda laboratory is discovering new ways to manipulate adaptive immune responses to improve disease outcome in humans.

Research Focus

           The adaptive immune system (i.e. T cells, B cells, and NK cells) eliminates cancer-forming cells and invading pathogens. If this system is too aggressive, a variety of autoimmune disorders can occur, including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, colitis and Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. On the other hand, acquired or genetic defects that imping on immunity can be devastating, as evidenced by AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) and SCID (severe combined immune deficiency) patients. Moreover, tumors co-opt regulatory components of the immune system to avoid detection and become malignant. Therefore, a balance must be achieved to allow for pathogen and tumor clearance while remaining tolerant towards self.
          A primary focus of the Sebzda laboratory is discovering new ways to manipulate adaptive immune responses to improve disease outcome in humans. To do this, we utilize a variety of mouse models to identify “bottlenecks” in the immune system that can be targeted with drugs to augment (pathogen and tumor clearance) or diminish (autoimmunity) adaptive immunity. Importantly, we have verified that these systems are shared by humans and thus are a valid therapeutic target.


  • Sudheer K. Pabbisetty, Whitney Rabacal, Emmanuel J. Volanakis, Vrajesh V. Parekh, Danyvid Olivares-Villagomez, Delphine Cendron, Kelli L. Boyd, Luc Van Kaer, and Eric Sebzda. 2016. Peripheral tolerance can be modified by altering KLF2-regulated Treg migration. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 113:E4662-E4670.
  • Whitney Rabacal, Sudheer K. Pabbisetty, Kristen L. Hoek, Delphine Cendron, Yin Guo, Damian Maseda, and Eric Sebzda. 2016. Transcription factor KLF2 regulates homeostatic NK cell proliferation and survival. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 113:5370-5375.
  • Sudheer K. Pabbisetty, Whitney Rabacal, Damian Maseda, Delphine Cendron, Patrick L. Collins, Kristen L. Hoek, Vrajesh V. Parekh, Thomas M. Aune, and Eric Sebzda. 2014. KLF2 is a rate-limiting transcription factor that can be targeted to enhance regulatory T-cell production. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 111:9579-9584.
  • Kristen L. Hoek, Vrajesh V. Parekh, Laura E. Gordy, Sebastian Joyce, James W. Thomas, Luc Van Kaer, and Eric Sebzda. 2010. Follicular B cell trafficking within the spleen actively restricts humoral immune responses. Immunity. 33:1-12.
  • Eric Sebzda*, Zhiying Zou, John S. Lee, Tao Wang, and Mark L. Kahn. 2008. Transcription factor Klf2 regulates the migration of naïve T cells by restricting chemokine receptor expression patterns. Nature Immunology. 9, 292-300. *Corresponding author
  • Eric Sebzda, Chris Hibbard, Farhad Abtahian, Natalie Bezman, Gina Clemens, Shawn Sweeney, Jonathan S. Maltzman, Lan Cheng, Diane Zhou, Martin Turner, Victor Tybulewicz, Gary A. Koretzky, and Mark L. Kahn. 2006. Syk and Slp-76 mutant mice reveal a cell autonomous hematopoietic cell contribution to vascular development. Developmental Cell. 11, 349-361.
  • Eric Sebzda, Madelon Bracke, Tamara Tuggell, Nancy Hogg, and Doreen A. Cantrell. 2002. Rap1A is not a stop signal for T cells but a switch for integrin activation. Nature Immunology. 3, 251-258.
  • Eric Sebzda, Mabel Choi, Wai Ping Fung-Leung, Tak W. Mak, and Pamela S. Ohashi. 1997. Peptide-induced positive selection of TCR transgenic thymocytes in a coreceptor independent manner. Immunity. 6, 643-653.
  • Eric Sebzda, Thomas M. Kundig, Cole T. Thomson, Kay Aoki, Shi-Yen Mak, John Mayer, Tom M. Zamborelli, Stanley Nathenson, and Pamela S. Ohashi. 1996. Mature T cell reactivity altered by a peptide agonist that induces positive selection. J.Exp.Med. 183, 1093-1104.
  • Eric Sebzda, Valerie A. Wallace, John Mayer, Rae S.M. Yeung, Tak W. Mak, and Pamela S. Ohashi. 1994. Positive and negative thymocyte selection induced by different concentrations of a single peptide. Science. 263, 1615-1618.

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