Todd Allen

Todd Allen, PhD

Principal Investigator

Core Member

Ragon Institute of Mass General, MIT, and Harvard

Professor of Medicine

Harvard Medical School


Massachusetts General Hospital



400 TS 764

T Cell Immunotherapy, HIV Evolution and Transmission

Research Overview

The Allen Lab builds on its long-standing interest in T cell responses to HIV to explore novel approaches to engineering human immune cells to more effectively target and eliminate the HIV reservoir. We are also utilizing novel gene-editing approaches to block the transmission of HIV and curtail infection.

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 HIV. 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 was promoted to Professor of Medicine in 2014. He is also an Associate Member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Selected Publications

Innate Immune Reconstitution in Humanized Bone Marrow-Liver-Thymus (HuBLT) Mice Governs Adaptive Cellular Immune Function and Responses to HIV-1 Infection.

Garcia-Beltran WF, Claiborne DT, Maldini CR, Phelps M, Vrbanac V, Karpel ME, Krupp KL, Power KA, Boutwell CL, Balazs AB, Tager AM, Altfeld M, Allen TM.

Front Immunol. 2021 May 26;12:667393. Download PDF PubMed

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.

Nat Med. 2020 Nov;26(11):1776-1787. Download PDF PubMed

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 Pathog. 2020 May 11;16(5):e1008577 Download PDF PubMed

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, Allen TM.

Sci Transl Med. 2012 Jul 18;4(143):143ra98. Download PDF PubMed

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 Pathog. 2012;8(3):e1002529. Download PDF PubMed

CD8 epitope escape and reversion in acute HCV infection.

Timm J, Lauer GM, Kavanagh DG, Sheridan I, Kim AY, Lucas M, Pillay T, Ouchi K, Reyor LL, Schulze zur Wiesch J, Gandhi RT, Chung RT, Bhardwaj N, Klenerman P, Walker BD, Allen TM.

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

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

Altfeld M*, Allen TM*, Yu XG, Johnston MN, Agrawal D, Korber BT, Montefiori DC, O'Connor DH, Davis BT, Lee PK, Maier EL, Harlow J, Goulder PJ, Brander C, Rosenberg ES, Walker BD.

Nature. 2002 Nov 28;420(6914):434-9. Download PDF PubMed

Acute phase cytotoxic T lymphocyte escape is a hallmark of simian immunodeficiency virus infection.

O'Connor DH*, Allen TM*, Vogel TU, Jing P, DeSouza IP, Dodds E, Dunphy EJ, Melsaether C, Mothé B, Yamamoto H, Horton H, Wilson N, Hughes AL, Watkins DI.

Nat Med. 2002 May;8(5):493-9. Download PDF PubMed

Lab Team

Christian Boutwell

Senior Research Scientist

Wesley Hudson

Research Technician I

Swarali Kulkarni

Postdoctoral Fellow

Hsiaohsuan Kuo

Postdoctoral Fellow

Emily Marte

Veterinary Technologist

Karen Power

Senior Lab Manager

Noor Radde

Graduate Student

Tatum Sass

Graduate Student

Amanda Simkhovich

Research Technician I

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