Researches body’s immune defenses
John Lambris is a Professor of Research Medicine in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He conducts research on the complement system, an ancient human body’s immune defenses. His laboratory focuses on the research of the system’s functions and the reasons why certain pathogens escape the immune system, aiming at developing new forms of treatment.
John Lambris was born in Rodavgi, a village in the outskirts of Arta. His father owned a butcher’s shop and John used to work in the family’s shop and in the fields since his early age. His parents motivated him to get a higher education. He studied Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Patras.
Currently, he applies ideas and methods embodied in engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry, biomedicine, and other fields to study the structure and functions of the complement system.
His laboratory contributed in the development of complement-based anti-inflammatory therapeutics through the discovery of the first small-size complement inhibitor, termed Compstatin. Compstatin is an inhibitor decreasing complement activation, which forms part of inate immunity. It is a system of proteins which protect the organism against invading pathogens, like viruses and bacteria. Compstatin is currently being tested in clinical trials for the treatment of macular degeneration, inflammatory diseases and cancer.
Dr. Lambris has also contributed in the field of evolutionary immunology by identifying multiple complement genes in fish and the mechanism by which they expand immune recognition and develop a versatile innate immune system to compensate for their weak adaptive immune repertoire.
He is the founder and Executive Director of Aegean Conferences, an independent, nonprofit, educational organization and of Amyndas Pharmaceuticals.
He has received more than $50 million research funding from various institutions and agencies including the National Institute of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), American Cancer Society, European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and the National Research Foundation of Greece.