Courtney Andersen studies the role of estrogen receptor-alpha in ovarian cancer.
Chris Barnes investigates the structural details by which transcription factor activity regulates RNA Polymerase II during the universal process of eukaryotic gene expression.
Soma Jobaggy studies nitrated fatty acid pharmacology and the antioxidant response in hypertensive end-organ damage.
Allison Nagle studies growth factor receptor signaling in breast cancer.
Robert J. Binder, PhD
Associate Professor of Immunology
E1051 Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
200 Lothrop St., Pittsburgh, PA 15261

Phone: 412-3.83-7722

Fax: 412-383-8096


BS, University of Ghana

PhD, University of Connecticut

Postdoc, University of Conneticut

Research Areas
Pharmacology of Cell and Organ Systems
Cancer Pharmacology
Photo of Robert J. Binder, PhD

About Research

Our research interests are focused on the mechanisms of cross-priming of antigens during immune responses to cancer, viruses and autoimmunity. The pursuit of this area stems from the observations that in a good number of situations Heat Schock Proteins (HSPs) are both necessary and sufficient for cross-presentation. HSPs are adept at this because of several unique properties:

(i) HSPs chaperone peptides 

(ii) They bind to HSP-receptors (CD91) for endocytosis

(iii) They can stimulate immune cells to up-regulate costimulation

HSPs thus elicit remarkable immune responses specific for the peptides they chaperone. The laboratory is using these observations to examine new facets of antigen presentation and also to develop novel ways of immunotherapy of cancer, infectious disease and autoimmune disorders. A related area of research examines how other ligands for the HSP-receptor CD91 interact with the immune system. In the past few years we have shown that a2-macroglobulin, a CD91 ligand, though not a bonafide HSP, shares the immunogenic properties of HSPs and can elicit immune responses specific to (peptide) substrates that it chaperones. We are currently exploring the identification of naturally formed a 2M-substrate complexes and the potential of these immunogenic complexes to be used as therapeutic agents in cancer and infectious disease.  

Important Publications
Zhou YJ, Messmer MN, Binder RJ. (2014). Establishment of Tumor-Associated Immunity Requires Interaction of Heat Shock Proteins with CD91. Cancer Immunol Res. 2:217-228
Messmer MN, Pasmowitz J, Kropp LE, Watkins SC, Binder RJ. (2013). Identification of the Cellular Sentinels for Native Immunogenic Heat Shock Proteins in Vivo. J Immunol. 191:4456-4465.
Pawaria S, Kropp LE, Binder RJ. (2012). Immunotherapy of tumors with a2-macroglobulin-antigen complexes pre-formed in vivo. PLoS One. 7(11):e50365. 
Pawaria S, Binder RJ. (2011). CD91-dependent programming of T helper cell responses following Heat Shock Protein immunization. Nat. Comm. 2011;2:521.
Pawaria S, Messmer MN, Zhou YJ, and Binder RJ. (2011). A role for the heat shock protein-CD91 axis in the initiation of immune responses to tumors. Immunol Res. 50, 255-260.
Kropp LE, Garg M, and Binder RJ. (2010). Ovalbumin-derived precursor peptides are transferred sequentially from gp96 and calreticulin to MHC I in the endoplasmic reticulum. J Immunol. 184, 5619-5627.
Binder RJ, and Srivastava PK. (2005). Peptides chaperoned by heat-shock proteins are a necessary and sufficient source of antigen in the cross-priming of CD8+ T cells. Nat Immunol.6, 593-599.
Binder RJ, and Srivastava PK. (2004). Essential role of CD91 in re-presentation of gp96-chaperoned peptides. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 101, 6129-6133.
Basu S, Binder RJ, Ramalingham T, Srivastava PK. (2001). CD91 is a common receptor for heat shock proteins gp96, hsp90, hsp70 and calreticulin. Immunity 14:303-313.
Binder RJ, Han D, Srivastava PK. (2000). CD91: a receptor for heat shock protein gp96. Nat Immunol 1: 151-155.


1/10/2019 12:00 PM Pharmacology & Chemical Biology Seminar Series
Mitchell Lazar, M.D., Ph.D.

1/17/2019 12:00 PM Pharmacology & Chemical Biology Seminar Series
Mark Jay Shlomchik, MD, PhD

1/19/2019 12:00 PM Pharmacology & Chemical Biology Seminar Series
Mitchell Lazar, MD, PhD

Pharmacology and Chemical Biology Event Calendar

Program Achievements

Molecular Pharmacology Graduate Program Ranked #2 in National Research Council Rankings

Outcomes:  Time to disseration, last five graduating clasess:  4.5 years, Completion Rate: 84.8%

Ranked #12 in National of Institute of Health funding of departments of Pharmacology

Ranked in the top 15 in funding for twenty two consecutive years

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