- Institute Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Professor of Chemical Engineering, Physics and Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Founding Director of (IMES) Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Founding Steering Committee Member of Ragon Institute of MIT, MGH, and Harvard University
Arup K. Chakraborty is one of 12 Institute Professors at MIT, the highest rank awarded to a MIT faculty member. He served as the founding Director of MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, and he is a founding member of the Ragon Institute of MIT, MGH, and Harvard. For over two decades, Chakraborty’s work has largely focused on bringing together approaches from immunology, physics, and engineering. His interests span T cell signaling, T cell development and repertoire, and a mechanistic understanding of virus evolution, antibody responses, and vaccine design. Since 2016, Chakraborty has also been interested in the role of phase separation in gene regulation. Chakraborty is one of only 25 individuals who are members of all three branches of the US National Academies – National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, and National Academy of Engineering. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and has received many other honors including the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, the E. O. Lawrence Medal, and the Colburn, Professional Progress, and Prausnitz Institute Lectureship from the AIChE. Chakraborty has received 6 teaching awards for his classroom teaching, and 24 of his former lab members are now faculty members at universities around the world. He is a co-author of the recent book “Viruses, Pandemics, & Immunity”. Chakraborty served on the US defense Science board, and is a member of the Board of Governors of the Wellcome Trust.
For two decades, Chakraborty’s lab has focused on understanding the mechanistic underpinnings of the adaptive immune response to pathogens, and then to harness this knowledge to help design better vaccines and therapies. Current interests in immunology can be divided into three broad categories: understanding the network of biochemical interactions that enable T cells to translate engagement of membrane receptors to cognate ligands in to functional responses, how T cell development results in T cells that are specific for unknown and emerging pathogens, and the human immune response to HIV and influenza. The goal of the last effort is to guide the rational design of vaccines and therapies against highly mutable infectious disease-causing agents. Another recent focus is the role of phase separation in eukaryotic gene regulation. In particular, how these droplets form at specific genomic loci, and how their functions are regulated by non-equilibrium processes in cells. Chakraborty’s work represents a crossroad of the physical and life sciences. A hallmark of Chakraborty’s research is the close synergy and collaboration between his lab’s theoretical and computational studies (rooted in statistical physics) and investigations led by experimental and clinical biologists.
A full list of Professor Chakraborty’s publications can be found on his website.