Kate L. Jeffrey, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Immune Therapeutic Discovery, Moderna
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School (on leave)
John Lawrence MGH Research Scholar



  • ICIS member since 2015
  • Oral presentation selected from abstract, San Francisco 2016
  • Oral presentation selected from abstract, Kanazawa 2017 (declined due to pregnancy)
  • Oral presentation selected from abstract, Seattle/online 2020
  • Poster presentations from lab members: Seattle, Kanazawa, Boston, San Francisco, Hawaii

The Jeffrey lab is particularly motivated by understanding our innate immune system and by improving therapies for inflammation and complex immune disorders. Our research focuses on understanding the intersection of chromatin accessibility, epigenetics, non-coding RNAs and transcriptional control in immune cells and how dysregulation of these events can lead to immunological disease. By characterizing immune regulators of transcription and chromatin in parallel with human genetic variants associated with immunopathology, we have uncovered a range of novel mechanisms regulating innate immune function. We found a novel immune-restricted phosphatase essential for macrophage function and pathology in arthritis. We discovered the first bromodomain inhibitor of epigenetic reader proteins that successfully shut off inflammatory transcriptional programs in macrophages and in vivo that are now in clinical trials. We found essential and unique roles for non-coding RNA binding proteins in mammalian antiviral defense and more recently established divergent innate responses to commensal viruses in the intestine of IBD patients. We also characterized a completely novel immune-restricted epigenetic reader protein, SP140 and found that its loss-of-function in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) drives inflammation through, uncontrolled topoisomerase activity, loss of macrophage identity and alteration in the microbiome. In addition to my laboratory responsibilities, I have actively engaged the Harvard Medical School community as faculty member of Harvard Immunology and Harvard Virology, as a member and director of the seminar series for the Center for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (CSIBD) and teach multiple courses in epigenetics and immunology and delivered a TEDx talk. I have transitioned to industry to translate some of this fundamental biology to the clinic.

Publications can be found here: