Alexander Hoffmann
Biochemistry: signaling, transcription, computational network; stress and immune responses, apoptosis, proliferation

Contact Information
Adjunct Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Office: Natural Sciences Bldg
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1994 Ph.D., Rockefeller University
1988 B.A., Cambridge University
Awards and Academic Honors
Hellman Faculty Fellow
Ellison Medical Foundation New Scholar in Aging
postdoctoral associate, Caltech
Gordon Ross Medical Foundation postdoctoral fellowship
Jane Coffin Child postdoctoral fellowship
postdoctoral associate, MIT
Arnold and Mabel Beckman graduate fellowship
Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation Graduate Fellowship
Research Interests
Mammalian cells respond to the environmental stresses and pathogens, and to inter-cellular signals in order to protect the organism, and coordinate an immune response. Each signal activates the expression of a specific set of genes, utilizing signaling pathways in the cell.

Our interest focuses on the IºB/NF-ºB signaling network, which transmits signals that regulate inflammation, immunity, and environmental stress responses. In many human diseases (e.g. cancer, immunodeficiencies, and arthritis) this pathway is deregulated. Multiple IºB and NF-ºB proteins form protein families and mediate stimulus-specific signal transduction through overlapping but distinct functions. The goal of our research program is to elucidate signal transduction mechanisms within the IºB/NF-ºB pathway and the specificity of its components as they relate to the stimulus-specific, gene-specific, and cell type-specific responses underlying diverse physiological functions.

In our research we combine genetics (knockout mice and cell lines, and retroviral transgenic approaches to perturb signaling), immunology and cancer cell biology (characterize phenotypes of mutant mice), biochemistry (track signaling intermediates and identify novel signal transducers), molecular biology (construct mutants, genome wide expression studies) to develop a computational model of IºB/NF-ºB signaling that allows in silico exploration of cell signaling. Computational simulations lead to predictions about natural responses and disease processes - these are then tested experimentally. We hope not only to contribute generalizable insights into cellular signaling, but also to provide leads for therapeutic strategies for a number of human diseases.

Primary Research Area
Interdisciplinary interests
Cellular Biochemistry
Computational and Theoretical

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Selected Publications