Christopher D.C. Allen, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Cardiovascular Research Institute
Department of Anatomy
Sandler Asthma Basic Research Center

CVRI Box 3122
555 Mission Bay Blvd S.
San Francisco, CA 94143

Tel: 415-476-5178

Dr. Allen is an Investigator of the Cardiovascular Research Institute and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy at UCSF. He completed his B.S. in Biology at MIT, and then his Ph.D. at UCSF in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program in the laboratory of Jason Cyster, with the support of a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Predoctoral Fellowship. Dr. Allen was then selected as the first Sandler-Newman Foundation UCSF Fellow in Asthma Research, giving him the opportunity to attain principal investigator status and to develop an independent research program in asthma immediately after obtaining his Ph.D. He was then recruited into a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in the Smith Cardiovascular Research Building on the UCSF Mission Bay campus and promoted to Associate Professor in 2018.

Dr. Allen’s research in the SABRE center focuses on the cellular immune response in asthma. He is using his expertise in cutting-edge two-photon microscopy to visualize interactions among cells in the lungs as well as in lymphoid organs that ‘prime’ cells for immune responses in the respiratory tract. A particular emphasis of his research is on the development and function of IgE antibodies that contribute to allergic responses. IgE has been shown to be important in human asthma, yet little is known about the events leading to IgE production after inhaling allergen. The major goals of the research are to:

  1. Develop innovative new mouse models of asthma that will be useful for studies of IgE antibody responses to inhaled allergens.
  2. Define the early events leading to allergic sensitization and IgE antibody production after inhalation of allergen.
  3. Characterize the interactions among inflammatory cells in the lung in asthma and define the features of the microenvironments in which these interactions occur.
Selected Publications:
  1. Allen C.D.C., Ansel K.M., Low C., Lesley R., Tamamura H., Fujii N. Cyster J.G. (2004). Germinal center dark and light zone organization is mediated by CXCR4 and CXCR5. Nature Immunology, 5(9), 943-952.
  2. Allen C.D.C., Okada T., Tang H.L., Cyster J.G. (2007). Imaging of germinal center selection events during affinity maturation. Science, 315(5811), 528-531.
  3. *Allen C.D.C., *Okada T., *Cyster J.G. (2007). Germinal-center organization and cellular dynamics (Review). Immunity 27(2), 190-202. *co-corresponding author. PMCID: PMC2242846.
  4. Haynes N.M., Allen C.D.C., Lesley R., Ansel K.M., Killeen N., and Cyster J.G. (2007). Role of CXCR5 and CCR7 in follicular Th cell positioning and appearance of a programmed cell death gene-1High germinal center-associated subpopulation. The Journal of Immunology, 179(8), 5099-5108.
  5. *Allen C.D.C., *Cyster J.G. (2008). Follicular dendritic cell networks of primary follicles and germinal centers: phenotype and function (Review). Seminars in Immunology 20(1), 14-25. *co-corresponding author PMCID: PMC2366796.
  6. Beltman J.B., Allen C.D.C., Cyster J.G., de Boer R.J. (2011). B cells within germinal centers migrate preferentially from dark to light zone. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(21), 8755-8760. PMCID: PMC3102384.
  7. Sullivan B.M., Liang H.E., Bando J.K., Wu D., Cheng L.E., McKerrow J.K., *Allen C.D.C., *Locksley R.M. (2011). Genetic analysis of basophil function in vivo. Nature Immunology, 12(6), 527-535. *co-corresponding author. PMCID: PMC3271435.
  8. Steiner D.F., Thomas M.F., Hu J.K., Yang Z., Babiarz J.E., Allen C.D.C., Matloubian M., Blelloch R., Ansel K.M. (2011). MicroRNA-29 Regulates T-Box Transcription Factors and Interferon-γ Production in Helper T Cells. Immunity, 35(2), 169-181. PMCID: PMC3361370.
  9. Yang Z., Sullivan B.M., Allen C.D.C. (2012). Fluorescent in vivo detection reveals that IgE+ B cells are restrained by an intrinsic cell fate predisposition. Immunity, 36(5), 857- 872.
  10. Yang Z., Robinson M.J., Allen C.D.C. (2014). Regulatory Constraints in the Generation and Differentiation of IgE-Expressing B Cells (Review). Current Opinion in Immunology, 28, 64-70. PMCID: PMC4069329.
  11. Cheng L.E., Sullivan B.M., Retana L.E., Allen C.D.C., Liang H.E., Locksley R.M. (2015). IgE-activated basophils regulate eosinophil tissue entry by modulating endothelial function. The Journal of Experimental Medicine, 212(4):513-24. PMCID: PMC2213179.
  12. Yang Z., Robinson M.J., Chen X., Smith G.A., Taunton J., Liu W., Allen C.D.C. (2016). Regulation of B cell fate by chronic activity of the IgE B cell receptor. eLife, 5:e21238. PMCID: PMC5207771.
  13. Robinson M.J., Prout M., Mearns H., Kyle R., Camberis M., Forbes-Blom E.E., Paul W.E., Allen C.D.C., Le Gros G. (2017). IL-4 Haploinsufficiency Specifically Impairs IgE Responses against Allergens in Mice. The Journal of Immunology. 198(5):1815- 1822. PMCID: PMC5886363.
  14. Yang Z., Allen C.D.C. (2018). Expression of Exogenous Genes in Murine Primary B Cells and B Cell Lines Using Retroviral Vectors. Methods in Molecular Biology. 1707:39- 49. PMID: 29388098.
  15. Yang Z., Jung J.B., Allen C.D.C. (2018) Study of IgE-Producing B Cells Using the Verigem Fluorescent Reporter Mouse. Methods in Molecular Biology. 799:247-264. PMID: 29956157.
  16. Wu C.M., Roth T.L., Baglaenko Y., Ferri D.M., Brauer P., Zuniga-Pflucker J.C., Rosbe K.W., Wither J.E., Marson A., Allen C.D.C. (2018). Genetic engineering in primary human B cells with CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoproteins. Journal of Immunological Methods. 457:33-40. PMCID: PMC6124898.
  17. Tang X.Z., Jung J.B., Allen C.D.C. (2019). A case of mistaken identity: The MAR-1 antibody to mouse FcεRIα cross-reacts with FcγRI and FcγRIV. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 143(4):1643-1646.e6 PMID: 30639345.
  18. Cyster J.G., Allen C.D.C. (2019) B Cell Responses: Cell Interaction Dynamics and Decisions (Review). Cell. 177(3):524-540. PMID: 31002794.
  19. Yang Z., Wu C.M., Targ S., Allen C.D.C. (2020) IL-21 is a broad negative regulator of IgE class switch recombination in mouse and human B cells. J Exp Med. 217(5):e20190472. PMID: 32130409.