skip to primary navigationskip to content

Professor Jim Kaufman

Professor Jim Kaufman

Jim Kaufman is accepting applications for PhD students.

Research Interests

I am interested in the evolution of immunity, focusing on the chicken MHC.

Among our discoveries are the

1. existence of single dominantly-expressed chicken class I and class II molecules which determine the immune response to pathogens and vaccines,

2. importance of co-evolution between polymorphic genes that lead to the expression of a single class I molecule, and

3. presence of lectin-like (NK) receptor and CD1 genes suggesting they were present in the primordial MHC.

I continue to explore the

1. roles of chicken MHC molecules in resistance to pathogens and response to vaccines,

2. roles of polymorphism and co-evolution for MHC genes involved in antigen presentation, and

3. ramifications of our findings for the evolutionary history of the MHC.

My long-term plans include whole genome studies in chickens, development of chickens as a system with a smooth transition between field and laboratory for study of natural pathogens in a natural host, and work on other vertebrates.


comparative immunology ; natural killer cells ; CTL ; chicken ; antigen presentation ; NK ; genetics ; helper T cells ; T cell receptor (TCR) ; vaccines ; avian ; antigen processing ; cytotoxic T cells (CTL) ; T cells ; complement ; expression level ; MHC ; animal models ; gamma delta T cells ; natural killer receptors ; peptides ; protein structure/folding


Key Publications

Salomonsen, J., Chattaway, J. A., Chan, A. C. Y., Parker, A., Huguet, S., Marston, D. A. Rogers, S. L., Wu, Z., Smith, A. L., Staines, K.,  Butter, C., Riegert, P., Vainio, O., Nielsen, L., Kaspers, B., Griffin, D. K., Yang, F., Zoorob, R., Guillemot, F., Auffray, C., Beck, S., Skjødt, K and Kaufman, J. (2014) Sequence of a Complete Chicken BG Haplotype Shows Dynamic Expansion and Contraction of Two Gene Lineages with Particular Expression Patterns. PLoS Genetics 10: e1004417.

Siddle HV, Kaufman J. Immunology of naturally transmissible tumours.  Immunology 2014 Sept

Kaufman J. Antigen processing and presentation: Evolution from a bird's eye view Mol Immunol. 2013 Sep;55(2):159-61.

Siddle HV, Kreiss A, Tovar C, Yuen CK, Cheng Y, Belov K, Swift K, Pearse AM, Hamede R, Jones ME, Skjødt K, Woods GM, Kaufman J. Reversible epigenetic down-regulation of MHC molecules by devil facial tumour disease illustrates immune escape by a contagious cancer. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Mar 26;110(13):5103-8.

Zhang J, Chen Y, Qi J, Gao F, Liu Y, Liu J, Zhou X, Kaufman J, Xia C, Gao GF. Narrow Groove and Restricted Anchors of MHC Class I Molecule BF2*0401 Plus Peptide Transporter Restriction Can Explain Disease Susceptibility of B4 Chickens. J Immunol. 2012 Oct 5. [Epub ahead of print]

Walker BA, Hunt LG, Sowa AK, Skjødt K, Göbel TW, Lehner PJ, Kaufman J. The dominantly expressed class I molecule of the chicken MHC is explained by coevolution with the polymorphic peptide transporter (TAP) genes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 May 17;108(20):8396-401.

Wu, Z., Rothwell, L., Young, J. R., Kaufman, J., Butter, C. and Kaiser, P. Generation and characterisation of chicken bone marrow-derived dendritic cells. Immunology 2010 129: 133-145.

Koch, M., Camp, S., Collen, T., Avila, D., Salomonsen, J., Wallny, H.-J., van Hateren, A., Hunt, L. G., Jacob, J. P., Johnston, F., Marston, D. A., Shaw, I., Dunbar, P. R., Cerundolo, V. E., Jones, E. Y. and Kaufman, J. Structures of an MHC class I molecule from B21 chickens illustrate promiscuous peptide binding. Immunity 2007 27: 885-899.

Wallny, H.-J., Avila, D., Hunt, L. G., Powell, T. J., Riegert, P., Salomonsen, J., Skjødt, K., Vainio, O., Vilbois, F., Wiles, M. V., and Kaufman, J.  Peptide motifs of the single dominantly-expressed class I molecule can explain the striking MHC-determined response to Rous sarcoma virus in chickens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2006 103: 1434-1439.

Salomonsen, J., Sorenson, M. R., Marston, D. A., Rogers, S. A., Collen, T., van Hateren, A., Smith, A. L, Beal, R. K., Skjødt, K. and Kaufman, J. From the cover: Two CD1 genes map to the chicken MHC, indicating that CD1 genes are ancient and likely to have been present in the primordial MHC. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2005 102: 8668-8673.