MAC – E.E. Just Lectureship 2011

Biographical Sketch – Jerry C. Guyden, 2011

Guyden is a professor in the Department of Biology at the City College of New York (CCNY). He is also the Director of CCNY’s Center for the Study of the Cellular and Molecular Basis of Development, which is supported by the Research Centers in Minority Institutions program of the National Institutes of Health.

Guyden’s research interests center on the function of thymic nurse cells (TNCs), which interact with developing T cells and enclose them in intracytoplasmic vacuoles. His laboratory was the first to report the isolation of TNC lines able to internalize and release viable T cells in vitro. They have also shown that TNCs exclusively bind and internalize the αβTCR+CD4+CD8+ subset of T cells. Most recently, the Guyden lab has shown that TNCs participate in MHC restriction, the process that removes autoreactive T cells. If allowed to mature, such cells would cause autoimmune diseases like lupus. There is a direct correlation between reduced numbers of TNCs and the development of autoimmune disease. Lupus affects African American women at a rate that is three times that of Caucasian women.

The Center for the Study of the Cellular and Molecular Basis of Development has exposed a large number of underrepresented minority students to cutting-edge molecular biology research at CCNY. Guyden states, “Our training methods have been successful and require the development of teams of people from several different cultures and ethnic backgrounds to work together toward accomplishing a scientific goal. Individuals working together day to day find common ground, and establish life-long relationships that will influence the cultural make up of the next generation of scientists. We will continue to address the issue of preparing the next generation of scientists in the United States, which should include a significant increase of individuals from all ethnic and racial backgrounds.” Dr. Guyden has trained 71 students. Fifty are from underrepresented communities; 38 have gone on to receive a PhD, MD, or both; three have earned a masters degree.

Guyden teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses. He received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1979.

About the Author:

Ashanti Edwards is ASCB's Director of Professional Development.