Rafael Casellas, Ph.D.

Rafael  Casellas, Ph.D.
Adjunct Investigator
Chief, Laboratory of Molecular Immunogenetics, NIAMS
Head, Lymphocyte Nuclear Biology Group

The major goal of our laboratory is to unravel the molecular mechanisms driving early development and peripheral activation of B lymphocytes. In particular, we are interested in the processes that assemble, diversify, and provide effector functions to antibody receptors, namely V(D)J recombination, somatic hypermutation, and class switching. Another major interest of our laboratory is to understand how deregulation of these reactions leads to B cell tumorigenesis. To achieve these goals, our laboratory is combining molecular biology, genome editing, mouse genetics, genomics and bioinformatic tools.

Visit Dr. Casellas' NIAMS profile for more information.

Areas of Expertise
1) genomics 2) bioinformatics 3) molecular immunology 4) B cell tumorigenesis

Contact Info

Rafael Casellas, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 10, Room 13C103-D
Bethesda, MD 20892
Ph: 301-402-7858
rafael.casellas@nih.gov

Rafael’s laboratory of Lymphocyte Nuclear Biology interests center on two related themes: elucidating the nuclear events driving B cell development, and uncovering new mechanistic details of transcriptional activation. To accomplish this, Rafael established in 2010 the NIH Mouse Regulome Project, an intramural-extramural program that seeks to understand transcriptional regulation in the mouse genome using cutting-edge techniques, including Hi-C, CRISPR-Cas9 genetic screens, cryo-EM, nanoscopy, single molecule dynamics, and genomics. As enumerated below, at each stage of the project, various intramural and  extramural laboratories participate as collaborators. Rafael’s lab is also part of the NIH 4D Nucleome Project, which explores the role of nuclear architecture in development.

Scientific Focus Areas:
Chromosome Biology, Computational Biology, Immunology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Selected Key Publications

  1. Vian L, Pękowska A, Rao SSP, Kieffer-Kwon KR, Jung S, Baranello L, Huang SC, El Khattabi L, Dose M, Pruett N, Sanborn AL, Canela A, Maman Y, Oksanen A, Resch W, Li X, Lee B, Kovalchuk AL, Tang Z, Nelson S, Di Pierro M, Cheng RR, Machol I, St Hilaire BG, Durand NC, Shamim MS, Stamenova EK, Onuchic JN, Ruan Y, Nussenzweig A, Levens D, Aiden EL, Casellas R.
    Cell. 173(5): 1165-1178.e20, 2018. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Kieffer-Kwon KR, Nimura K, Rao SSP, Xu J, Jung S, Pekowska A, Dose M, Stevens E, Mathe E, Dong P, Huang SC, Ricci MA, Baranello L, Zheng Y, Tomassoni Ardori F, Resch W, Stavreva D, Nelson S, McAndrew M, Casellas A, Finn E, Gregory C, St Hilaire BG, Johnson SM, Dubois W, Cosma MP, Batchelor E, Levens D, Phair RD, Misteli T, Tessarollo L, Hager G, Lakadamyali M, Liu Z, Floer M, Shroff H, Aiden EL, Casellas R.
    Mol Cell. 67(4): 566-578.e10, 2017. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Aiden EL, Casellas R.
    Cell. 162(4): 708-11, 2015. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Qian J, Wang Q, Dose M, Pruett N, Kieffer-Kwon KR, Resch W, Liang G, Tang Z, Mathé E, Benner C, Dubois W, Nelson S, Vian L, Oliveira TY, Jankovic M, Hakim O, Gazumyan A, Pavri R, Awasthi P, Song B, Liu G, Chen L, Zhu S, Feigenbaum L, Staudt L, Murre C, Ruan Y, Robbiani DF, Pan-Hammarström Q, Nussenzweig MC, Casellas R.
    Cell. 159(7): 1524-37, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  5. 4Kieffer-Kwon KR, Tang Z, Mathe E, Qian J, Sung MH, Li G, Resch W, Baek S, Pruett N, Grøntved L, Vian L, Nelson S, Zare H, Hakim O, Reyon D, Yamane A, Nakahashi H, Kovalchuk AL, Zou J, Joung JK, Sartorelli V, Wei CL, Ruan X, Hager GL, Ruan Y, Casellas R.
    Cell. 155(7): 1507-20, 2013. [ Journal Article ]

Rafael Casellas received his Ph.D. under Michel Nussenzweig at the Rockefeller University in 2002. His thesis explored the role of immunoglobulin gene transcription and recombination in the establishment of B cell tolerance. From 2002 to 2003 he did postdoctoral training with David Baltimore at Caltech. In December 2003, Rafael joined the NIH, where he is currently a branch chief of the laboratory of Lymphocyte Nuclear Biology.

Name Position
Kyong-Rim Kieffer Kwon Ph.D. Staff Scientist, NIAMS
Seol Kyoung Jung Ph.D. Staff Scientist, NIAMS
Solji Park D.V.M., Ph.D. Research Fellow, NIAMS
Jianliang Xu Ph.D. Research Fellow, NIAMS
Aleksandra Pekowska Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting), NIAMS
Jens Kalchschmidt Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting), NIAMS
Yongbing Zhao Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting), NIAMS
Andrea Conte Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting), NIAMS
Xiang Wang Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting), NIAMS
Supriya Vartak Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting), NIAMS
Michael Fedkenheuer Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (IRTA), NIAMS
Jenna Lieberman Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (IRTA), NIAMS