Primary Faculty

Mark Lang, PhD

Mark Lang, PhD

Professor, Presbyterian Health Foundation Presidential Professor


Ph.D.: 1998, The University of Dundee, Scotland, U.K.

Awards and Honors:

Presbyterian Health Foundation Presidential Professorship
Member, NIH Vaccines against Microbial Diseases (VMD) Study Section
Member, American Association of Immunologists Program Committee


Dartmouth College and Medical School

Research Interests:

NKT cells and regulation of humoral immune responses


Immunology for Graduate College, College of Medicine, and Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Contact Information:

Office: BMSB 1019


Research Interests:

Boosting humoral immunity to toxins by activation of CD1d-restricted NKT cells
Vaccines that stimulate long-term humoral (antibody-mediated) immunity against bacterial toxins provide long-term protection against disease. Diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, and many other diseases are now relatively rare. Despite the enormous positive impact of antibody-inducing vaccines on public health, we still do not have effective vaccines for all pathogen-derived toxins. For example, pathogens that secrete toxins such as Bacillus anthracis and Clostridium difficile pose significant dangers to human health.


To address the challenges inherent in developing vaccines against such pathogens and their toxins, it is important to improve our understanding of the induction and maintenance of humoral immunity at a mechanistic level. We have discovered that activation of invariant Natural Killer-like T cells (NKT) greatly enhances primary and recall responses to bacterial antigens in vivo. Importantly, NKT cells are restricted by MHC class I-related CD1d molecules presenting glycolipid antigens. Since CD1d is non-polymorphic, a vaccine containing CD1d-binding glycolipid antigens that appropriately activates NKT cells might be effective for all individuals.


Further study by our group over the past 5 years has revealed that direct interaction between B cells expressing CD1d/glycolipid complexes on the cell surface and the T cell antigen receptor is essential for these effects. We have also demonstrated that NKT cells have several effects on the induction and maintenance of B cell memory and long-lived plasma cells, two essential elements of persistent humoral immunity.


We are currently focused on understanding the detailed mechanisms by which CD1d-expressing B cells stimulate distinct functional sub-sets of NKT cells to enhance humoral responses to bacterial toxins. These approaches will provide the necessary insights for the development of novel vaccines that activate NKT cells.

Current Lab Personnel:

Souwelimatou Amadou Amani, Graduate Student
Gillian Lang MPH, Research Associate
Binu Shrestha Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow 

Selected Publications: