Photo of Adam J. Adler, Ph.D.

Adam J. Adler, Ph.D.

Professor of Immunology
Director, Graduate Program in Immunology
Academic Office Location:
UConn Health
263 Farmington Avenue
Farmington, CT 06030
Phone: 860-679-7992
Fax: 860-679-8130

Immunology Graduate Program

B.Sc.McGill UniversityPhysiology
M.A.Columbia UniversityMolecular Biology and Biochemistry
M.Phil.Columbia UniversityMolecular Biology and Biochemistry
Ph.D.Columbia UniversityMolecular Biology and Biochemistry

Post-Graduate Training
PostdoctoralJohns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of OncologyPostdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Dr. Drew Pardoll

Name of Award/HonorAwarding Organization
Oncology Fellows Day AwardJohns Hopkins School of Medicine
Postdoctoral FellowshipAmerican Cancer Society
American Foundation for Urologic Disease ScholarUrology Care Foundation
Summer Student FellowshipMedical Research Council of Canada
Name & DescriptionCategoryRoleTypeScopeStart YearEnd Year
NIH ZRG1 F09-A (08) L Fellowship: Oncological SciencesOtherMemberExternalNational20122012
Search Committee for the Flow Cytometry Core Facility DirectorAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20112011
Education CouncilEducation CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20112013
Search Committee for the MD/PhD Program DirectorAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20112011
Faculty Search Committee for Connecticut Children’s Medical CenterAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20112011
NIH ZRG IMM-C 02 M and IMM-N (03) MOtherMemberExternalNational20112011
PhD admissions committeeAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20112011
Grant Writing Workshop organized by the Office of Research and Sponsored ProgramsWorkshop/ConferenceParticipantUConn HealthUniversity2011
Search Committee for the Department of Immunology ChairAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20102011
Search Committee for the Associate Dean of the Graduate SchoolAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20102010
Immunology Graduate ProgramAdvisory CommitteeDirectorUConn HealthUniversity20102013
PO1 “Autoimmunity” (ZAI1-PTM-1-M3)OtherMemberExternalNational20102010
PO1 “Regulatory T cells in Autoimmune and Inflammatory Diseases” (ZAI1-SV-I-M1)OtherMemberExternalNational20102010
“Director's Opportunity 5 Themes Immunology” (ZRG1 IMM-E (55) R), NIHOtherMemberExternalNational20102010
Immunology Panel for Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP), CDMRPAdvisory CommitteeAd Hoc MemberExternalNational20102010
Site Visit Review Team of NCI Cancer and Inflammation Program, NIHAdvisory CommitteeMemberExternalNational20102010
Flow Cytometry Core Facility Advisory CommitteeAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity2009
Viral Vector Core Facility Advisory CommitteeAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20072010
Immunology Graduate ProgramAdvisory CommitteeDirectorUConn HealthUniversity20072010
Graduate Program CommitteeAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20072013
Prostate Cancer Research Program Study Section, Department of DefenseStudy SectionAd Hoc MemberExternalNational20072008
Italian Association for Cancer ResearchAdvisory CommitteePreferred Grant ReviewerExternalInternational2007
ZRG1 TTT-G “Immunology of Tolerance” Study Section, NIHStudy SectionAd Hoc MemberExternalNational20062006
Special Emphasis Panel PO1 “T Cell Tolerance” (ZAI1-PA-I-M3), NIHStudy SectionChairExternalNational20062006
Transplantation, Tolerance, and Tumor Immunology (TTT) Study Section, NIHStudy SectionMemberExternalNational20062010
The Journal of ImmunologyEditorial BoardAssociate EditorExternalNational20062010
Health Center Research Advisory CommitteeAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity2005
Transplantation, Tolerance and Tumor Immunology (TTT) Study Section, NIHStudy SectionAd Hoc MemberExternalNational20052005
PhD admissions committeeAdvisory CommitteeMemberUConn HealthUniversity20052006
Current Immunology ReviewsEditorial BoardMemberExternalNational2004
Cancer Research UKStudy SectionAd Hoc Grant Reviewer ExternalInternational20032003
Special Emphasis Allergy and Immunology Study Section, NIHStudy SectionAd Hoc Grant Reviewer ExternalNational20032003
Experimental Immunology Study Section, NIHStudy SectionAd Hoc Grant Reviewer ExternalNational20032004
Department of Veterans Affairs’ Medical Research ServiceStudy SectionAd Hoc Grant Reviewer ExternalNational20012002
Cancer ImmunityEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal Reviewer ExternalNational
Cancer ResearchEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal ReviewerExternalNational
Cell Stress & ChaperonesEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal ReviewerExternalNational
Current Immunology ReviewsEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal Reviewer ExternalNational
CytokineEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal ReviewerExternalNational
European Journal of ImmunologyEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal Reviewer ExternalInternational
ImmunologyEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal ReviewerExternalNational
Immunology LettersEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal Reviewer ExternalNational
International ImmunologyEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal ReviewerExternalInternational
Journal of Leukocyte BiologyEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal ReviewerExternalNational
Medicinal Research ReviewsEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal ReviewerExternalNational
PLoS ONEEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal ReviewerExternalNational
The Journal of Experimental MedicineEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal ReviewerExternalNational
The Journal of ImmunologyEditorial BoardAd Hoc Journal ReviewerExternalNational
Health Center Research Advisory Committee (HCRAC)Advisory Committeemember, and member of emergency grant subcommitteeUConn HealthUniversity
Research CouncilAdvisory CommitteememberUConn HealthUniversity
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)Research CommitteememberUConn HealthUniversity
Graduate Program Committee (GPC)Education CommitteememberUConn HealthUniversity
Flow Cytometry Core Advisory CommitteeAdvisory CommitteememberUConn HealthUniversity
Biomedical Sciences Curriculum CommitteeEducation CommitteememberUConn HealthUniversity

Research InterestsT lymphocytes have the potential to eliminate tumors. Although tumor vaccines have been able to activate tumor-specific T cells and achieve modest clinical efficacy in treating human cancer patients, they are generally not curative because tumors possess immunosuppressive properties that confer resistance to immune-destruction. For instance, because tumors are not foreign and tumor antigens thus represent a form of self-antigen, T cell tolerance mechanisms that evolved to prevent autoimmunity have the undesirable effect of dampening tumor immunity.We have developed transgenic mouse models to study how T cell tolerance is established to self-antigens expressed on both healthy tissues as well as on prostate tumors, and how these tolerogenic processes can be reversed to enhance tumor immunity. In collaboration with Dr. Anthony Vella (Department of Immunology, UCHC) we have been studying how agonist antibodies to the costimulatory molecules CD134 (OX-40) and CD137 (4-1BB) reverse this tolerogenic process to program CD4 and CD8 T cells to differentiate into effector T cells with anti-tumor potential. We are currently working on the following projects:CD134 plus CD137 dual costimulation programs CD4 T cells to differentiate into cytotoxic killers. CD4 T cells normally help other immune cells such as B cells and CD8 T cells to function optimally. We unexpectedly found that CD134 plus CD137 dual costimulation programs CD4 T cells to develop cytotoxic capacity (a function classically associated with CD8+ CTL). Further, these cytotoxic CD4 T cells can directly target tumors, suggesting that dual costimulation therapy may be effective in preventing the outgrowth of CD8+ CTL-resistant tumors (a common problem associated with T cell-based cancer therapies). We are currently analyzing the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which dual costimulation programs this “non-classical” but therapeutically useful CD4 T cell differentiation pathway.Helping CD8 T cells to attack tumors. We have found that distinct CD4 helper-elicited cytokines work both cooperatively and antagonistically to program distinct facets of CD8 T cell responsiveness and effector function. Current efforts are aimed towards furthering our mechanistic understanding of these helper pathways, and how they can be harnessed to augment tumor immunity.

Accepting Lab Rotation Students: Summer 2022, Fall 2022, and Spring 2023

1. Examine how the IL-2 signaling pathway and the T-box transcription factor Eomesodermin cooperate to program epigenetic remodeling and transcription of genes encoding cytotoxic molecules in dual-costimulated CD4 T cells.2. Analyze the functional properties of regulatory T cells (Tregs) that have been induced to express cytotoxic molecules.3. Examine how CD4 helper-elicited cytokines act cooperatively to induce cytotoxic molecules but antagonistically to regulate IL-2 receptor expression in CD8 T cells.4. Assess the therapeutic potential of dual-costimulated CD4 and CD8 T cells in various tumor models.

Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • Mechanisms of Tumor-Associated T-Cell Tolerance
    Adler AJ Tumor-Induced Immune Suppression 2008 Jan;7-27