Todd Allen

Todd Allen, PhD

Principal Investigator

Core Member

Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard

Professor of Medicine

Harvard Medical School

Associate in Immunology

Massachusetts General Hospital



400 TS 764

T Cell Immunotherapy, HIV Evolution and Transmission

Research Overview

The Allen Lab explores novel approaches to engineering human immune cells to more effectively target and eliminate HIV and utilizes new gene-editing tools to block the transmission of HIV.

The Allen Lab focuses on translating recent successes in CRISPR gene editing and CAR T cell immunotherapies towards developing a functional cure for HIV. Our work leverages an innovative human stem cell–engrafted mouse model capable of supporting robust HIV infection and developing human immune responses to sHIV. We are also using this model to decipher the host and viral factors influencing the mucosal transmission of HIV.

Recognition and Media

Dr. Allen is a recipient of the prestigious MGH Scholars Award. He has also been named as a Thomas Reuters Highly Cited Researcher in 2015 and 2016, ranking among the top 1% of researchers in Microbiology.


Dr. Todd Allen received his Ph.D. in Cellular & Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin before joining the Ragon Institute in 2001. He received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. He is also an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Selected Publications

Tat-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes select for SIV escape variants during resolution of primary viraemia

Allen, T.M., O’Connor, D.H., Mothé, B.R., Vogel, T.U., Liebl, M.E., Jing, P., Dzuris, J.L., Emerson, C., Kunstman, K.J., Wang, X., Desrosiers, R.C., Altman, J.D., Wolinsky, S.M., Sette, A., and Watkins, D.I.

Nature 2000 407(6802):386-390

Acute Phase CTL Escape is a Hallmark of SIV Infection

O’Connor, D.H.*, Allen, T.M.*, Vogel, T.U., Jing, P., DeSouza, I., Dunphy, E., Melsaether, C., Dodds, E., Mothe, B., Horton, H., and Watkins, D.I.

Nature Medicine 2002 8(5) 493-499

HIV-1 superinfection despite broad CD8+ T cell responses containing replication of the primary virus

Altfeld, M.*, Allen, T.M.*, Yu, X.G., Johnston, M.N., Agrawal, D., Korber, B.T., Montefiori, D.C., O’Connor, D.H., Davis, B.T., Lee, P.K., Maier, E.L., Harlow, J., Goulder, P.J.R., Brander, C., Rosenberg, E.S., and Walker, B.D.

Nature 2002 420(6914):434-9

CD8 epitope escape and reversion in acute HCV infection

Timm, J., Lauer, G.M., Kavanagh, D.G., Sheridan, I., Kim, A.Y., Lucas, M., Pillay, T., Ouchi, K., Reyor, L.L., Zur Wiesch, J.S., Gandhi, R.T., Chung, R.T., Bhardwaj, N., Klenerman, P., Walker, B.D., Allen, T.M.

J. Exp. Med. 2004 Dec 20;200(12):1593-604

Whole Genome Deep Sequencing of HIV-1 Reveals the Impact of Early Minor Variants Upon Immune Recognition During Acute Infection

Henn MR, Boutwell CL, Charlebois P, Lennon NJ, Power KA, Macalalad AR, Berlin AM, Malboeuf CM, Ryan EM, Gnerre S, Zody MC, Erlich RL, Green LM, Berical A, Wang Y, Casali M, Streeck H, Bloom AK, Dudek T, Tully D, Newman R, Axten KL, Gladden AD, Battis L, Kemper M, Zeng Q, Shea TP, Gujja S, Zedlack C, Gasser O, Brander C, Hess C, Günthard HF, Brumme ZL, Brumme CJ, Bazner S, Rychert J, Tinsley JP, Mayer KH, Rosenberg E, Pereyra F, Levin JZ, Young SK, Jessen H, Altfeld M, Birren BW, Walker BD, Allen TM.

PLoS Pathogens 2012 8(3):e1002529

Rapid Evolution of HIV-1 to Functional CD8+ T-Cell Responses in Humanized BLT Mice

Dudek TE, No DC, Seung E, Vrbanac VD, Fadda L, Bhoumik P, Boutwell CL, Power KA, Gladden AD, Battis L, Mellors EF, Tivey TR, Gao X, Altfeld M, Luster AD, Tager AM, and Allen TM.

Science Translational Medicine. 2012 Jul 18;4(143):143ra98

Gp41-targeted antibodies restore infectivity of a fusion-deficient HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein

Joshi VR, Newman RM, Pack ML, Power KA, Munro JB, Okawa K, Madani N, Sodroski JG, Schmidt AG, Allen TM.

PLoS Pathogens. 2020 May 11;16(5). PMID: 32392227

Dual CD4-based CAR T Cells with Distinct Costimulatory Domains Mitigate HIV Pathogenesis In Vivo

Maldini CR, Claiborne DT, Okawa K, Chen T, Dopkin DL, Shan X, Power KA, Trifonova RT, Krupp K, Phelps M, Vrbanac VD, Tanno S, Bateson T, Leslie GJ, Hoxie JA, Boutwell CL, Riley JL, Allen TM.

Nature Medicine. 2020 Aug 31

Lab Team

Tim Bateson

Veterinary Technician

Christian Boutwell

Senior Research Scientist

Daniel Claiborne

Postdoctoral Fellow

Youdiil Ophinni

Postdoctoral Fellow

Karen Power

Senior Lab Manager

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