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David A. Hafler, M.D. PDF Print E-mail

ImageDavid A. Hafler, M.D.
Jack, Sadie, and David Breakstone Professor of Neurology
Head, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology
Center for Neurologic Diseases
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115
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Tel: (617) 525-5330
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Dr. Hafler is the Jack, Sadie and David Breakstone Professor of Neurology (Neuroscience) at the Harvard Medical School and a Physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He graduated magna cum laude in 1974 from Emory University with combined B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in biochemistry, and the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1978. He then completed his internship in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins followed by a neurology residency at Cornell Medical Center-New York Hospital in New York. Dr. Hafler received training in immunology at the Rockefeller University then at Harvard where he joined the faculty in 1984. He is one of the Executive Directors of the Program in Immunology at Harvard Medical School and is on the faculty of the Harvard-MIT Health Science and Technology program where he has been actively involved in the training of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Dr. Hafler has been elected to membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation, The American Neurological Association, the Alpha Omega Society, and was a Harvey Weaver Scholar of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He is currently a member of the editorial boards for Journal of Clinical Investigation and the Journal of Experimental Medicine, and is co-founder of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies.

Dr. Hafler heads the Division of Molecular Immunology in the Center for Neurologic Diseases, Harvard Medical School. He is a clinical scientist with a research interest in understanding the mechanism of autoimmunity with a particular interest in inflammatory central nervous system diseases, with over 270 publications in the field of autoimmunity and immunology. After a sabbatical period at the Human Genome Center of the Whitehead Institute, MIT, Dr. Hafler was appointed as an Associated Member of the Broad Institute where he is heading an initiative to solve the genetic basis of multiple sclerosis. He recently received the 1st National Multiple Sclerosis five year Collaborative Center Award with Dr. Eric Lander of the Broad Institute for tackling the MS genetic effort. Hafler leads the NIH Autoimmunity Prevention Center Grant at Harvard, and is a Jacob Javits Merit Award Recipient from the NIH.

The Division of Molecular Immunology focuses on the understanding of human autoimmune diseases with the theme that investigation of naturally occurring human diseases give insight into the basic processes of T cell regulation, in addition to providing fundamental understanding and development of new therapies for human diseases. The laboratory has defined immunodominant epitopes of autoantigens, and has developed new technologies to measure both functionality and frequency of autoreactive T cells. More recently, Dr. Hafler has focused on broadly characterizing the molecular pathogenesis of the disease, both at the DNA, mRNA, and proteomic level. Dr. Hafler is a founding member of the International MS Genetic Consortium, a group recently formed to define the genetic causes of MS including scientists from University of Cambridge and University of California, San Francisco.