Eline T. Luning Prak, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine

Contact Information405B Stellar-Chance Laboratories
422 Curie Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 746-5768
Fax: (215) 573-6317


Specialty Division

Laboratory Medicine, Immunobiology and Experimental Pathology

Research Expertise

Research Interests
Dr. Luning Prak works on the genetics of the antibody repertoire in autoimmunity.

Key words: antibody, V(D)J recombination, receptor editing, immunoglobulin, autoimmunity, antibody repertoire, lupus, diabetes

Description of Research
B cells produce antibodies and are important for innate and adaptive immunity. B cells that are improperly regulated can also cause or contribute to autoimmunity. Our major research interest is in defining B cell tolerance checkpoint defects in mouse models and patients with autoimmune diseases. B cells with a functional antibody can undergo further rearrangement, a process termed receptor editing. Receptor editing is a significant mechanism for central (early) B cell tolerance. Recent work from our lab demonstrates lower levels of editing in approximately 30% of patients with lupus and 30% of patients with type 1 diabetes, as well as in mouse models of these diseases. These findings suggest that a significant proportion of patients with different autoimmune diseases have defects in early B cell tolerance, and may provide insights into which patients will respond best to B cell targeted therapy.

In collaboration with our colleagues in Rheumatology, Transplant Surgery and Endocrinology, we are analyzing B cell subsets in humans with lupus, Sjogren's Syndrome and in non-human primates (NHPs) with drug-induced diabetes. We observe a direct correlation between the length of B cell depletion and improvement in disease (lower disease activity score for SLE, longer period of tolerance to allogeneic pancreatic islet transplants in the non-human primates). Of great interest in these studies are the shifts that occur in the B cell repertoire over time. A repertoire in which immature B cells dominate may be more susceptible to tolerance induction. We are currently testing this idea in patients with type 1 diabetes who are receiving pancreatic islet transplants as part of a multi-center Clinical Islet Transplantation consortium.

We also pursue a number of basic research projects involving mice. These include studying the frequency, timing and pathways of receptor editing rearrangements in immunoglobulin knock-in mice, mapping genetic causes for tolerance checkpoints and analyzing the antibody repertoire following manipulations of the B cell compartment. Rotation and thesis projects are available in basic as well as human translational immunology pertaining to B cell autoimmunity.

Rotation Projects
Please come visit the lab to discuss rotation projects in any of the areas discussed above. Projects will be tailored to the background and interests of the student.

Lab personnel:
Sara Smith, graduate student
Debora Sekiguchi, MD, PhD, research fellow
Wenzhao Meng, PhD, postdoctoral fellow
Yang Zhu Du, Ph.D., research specialist
Noah Goodman, research specialist
Emily Xue, Penn undergraduate
Yang Liu, Carnegie Mellon undergraduate

Clinical Expertise

Molecular Immunology, B cell autoimmunity

Other Expertise

Pathology Resident Education

Itmat Expertise

Dr. Prak works on the genetics of B lymphocyte repertoire in autoimmunity.

Graduate Groups

Cell and Molecular Biology


A.B. (Molecular Biology), Princeton University , 1988
M.D. University of Pennsylvania, 1996
Ph.D. (Immunology), University of Pennsylvania, 1996

Specialty Certification

Diplomate Clinical Pathology Boards, 1999
Diplomate, National Board of Medical Examiners, 1999
American Board of Pathology (Clinical Pathology), 1999

Postgraduate Training

Resident in Clinical Pathology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 1996-1999
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics , University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1998-1999

Awards and Honors

Phi Beta Kappa, Princeton University, 1988
Saul Winegrad Thesis Prize, Biomedical Graduate Studies, University of Pennsylvania, 1996
Stuart Mudd Award for Excellence in Microbiology/Immunology Research, PSOM, 1996
William Pepper Fellow in Clinical Pathology, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 1998-1999
Leonard Berwick Resident Teaching Award, PSOM, 1998
Outstanding Discussion Group Leader (awarded by Penn Medical Students for Immunology section), PSOM, 2001
The Peter C. Nowell Award for Excellence in Teaching, PSOM, 2004
Leonard Berwick Memorial Teaching Award, PSOM, 2005
Morton Klein Distinguished Speaker
Temple University School of Medicine, 2009
Lady Barbara Colyton Prize for Autoimmune Research
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 2013
The Peter C. Nowell Teaching Award, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 2014

Memberships and Professional Organizations

College of American Pathologists, 2003 - Present
American Society of Clinical Pathology, 2004 - Present
American Association of Immunologists, 2004 - Present
Arthritis Foundation, 2004 - 2008
American Association for Investigative Pathology (ASIP), 2007 - Present
Academy of Clinical Laboratory Scientists and Physicians, 2008 - Present
Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics, 2010 - Present
Arthritis Foundation, 2010 - 2013
Lupus Research Institute, 2012 - Present
Penn Institute for Immunology, 2012 - Present
German-Israel Foundation for Science, 2013 - 2013
Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program, 2013 - 2013
Arthritis Foundation, 2013 - 2013
The Dunhill Medical Trust, 2014 - Present
Adaptive Immune Receptor Repertoire (AIRR) Community, 2015 - Present
National Institutes of Health, 2016 - 2017

Web Links

Selected Publications

PROTOCOL: Computational evaluation of B-cell clone sizes in bulk populations

Rosenfeld, A.M., Chen, D.Y., Meng, W., Zhang, B., Granot, T., Farber, D.L., Hershberg, U. and E.T. Luning Prak, Frontiers in Immunology, 2018

Fatal Accelerated Rejection with a Prominent Natural Killer Cell Infiltrate in a Heart Transplant Patient with Peripartum Cardiomyopathy

Javaheri, A., Wang, A.R., Luning Prak, E.T., Lal, P., Goldberg, L.R. and M. Kamoun, Transplant Immunology, 2018

Circulating B cells in type 1 diabetics exhibit fewer maturation-associated phenotypes

Hanley, P., Sutter, J.A., Goodman, N.G., Du, Y., Sekiguchi, D.R., Meng, W., Rickels, M.R., Naji, A. and E.T. Luning Prak., Clinical Immunology 183(): 336-343, 2017, PMID:28951327

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An atlas of B cell clonal distribution in the human body

Meng, W., Zhang, B., Schwartz, GW, Rosenfeld, AM, Ren, D., Thome, J JC, Carpenter, DJ, Matsuoka, N., Lerner, H., Friedman, A.L., Granot, T., Farber, D.L., Shlomchik, M.J., Hershberg, U. and E.T. Luning Prak., Nature Biotechnology 35(9): 879-884, 2017, PMID:28829438

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ImmuneDB: A system for the analysis and exploration of high-throughput adaptive immune receptor sequencing data

Rosenfeld, A., Meng, W., Luning Prak, E.T. and U. Hershberg, Bioinformatics 33(2): 292-293, 2017, PMID:27616708

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Baseline Immunoglobulin E levels as a marker of doxorubicin- and trastuzumab-associated cardiac dysfunction

Beer, L.A., Kossenkov, A.V., Liu, Q., Luning Prak, E.T., Domchek, S., Speicher, D.W. and B. Ky, Circ Res 119(10): 1135-1144, 2016, PMID:27582370

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B cell development in chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome

Derfalvi, B., Maurer, K., McDonald, D.M., Zackai, E., Meng, W., Luning Prak, E.T. and K.E. Sullivan., Clinical Immunology 163(): 1-9, 2016

Genetic Sharing and Heritability of Pediatric Age of Onset Autoimmune Diseases

Li, Y.R., Zhao, S., Mohebnasab, M., Li, J., Bradfield, J., Steel, L., Abrams, D., Kobie, J., Mentch, F., Glessner, J., Guo, Y., Wei, Z., Cardinale, C., Bakay, M., Connoly, J., Li, D., Maggadottir, M., Thomas, K.A., Qiu, H., Chiavacci, R., Kim, C., Wang, F., Snyder, J., Flato, B., Forre, O., Denson, L., Thompson, S.D., Becker, M., Guthery, S.L., Latiano, A., Perez, E., Resnick, E., Strisciuglio, C., Staiano, A., Miele, E., Silverberg, M., Lie, B.A., Punaro, M., Russell, R., Wilson, D., Dubinsky, M.C., Monos, D.S., Annese, V., Munro, J., Wise, C., Chapel, H., Cunningham-Rundles, C., Orange, J., Behrens, E.M., Sullivan, K., Kugathasan, S., Griffiths, A., Satsangi, J., Grant, S., Sleiman, P., Finkel, T., Polychronakos, C., Baldassano, R.N., Luning Prak, E.T., Ellis, J., Li, H., Keating, B.J. and H. Hakonarson., Nature Communications 6(): 8442, 2015, PMID:26450413

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Altered BCR and TLR signals promote enhanced positive selection of autoreactive transitional B cells in Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome

Kolhatkar, N.S., Brahmandam, A., Thouvenel, C., Becker-Herman, S., Jacobs, H.M., Schwartz, M.A., Khim, S., Panigrahi, A.K., Luning Prak, E.T., Thrasher, A.J., Notarangelo, L.D., Candotti, F., Torgerson, T.R., Sanz, I.A. and D. J. Rawlings, Journal of Experimental Medicine 212(10): 1663-1677, 2015, PMID:26371186

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