Dr. Clark received a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He did postdoctoral research at University College London with Dr. N. A. Mitchison. In addition to his departmental appointment, he is Professor of Immunology and Adjunct Professor of Medicine (Rheumatology). Dr. Clark has served on several editorial boards of immunology journals and on NIH study sections.
A major focus of the Clark lab is to investigate innate signaling pathways and the programming of dendrtic cell (DC) subsets and B cells by pathogens or pathogenic products and novel methods for targeting antigens into the immune system to program humoral immune responses. Based on investigations of how humoral immunity is programmed, the lab has developed and assessed a novel therapeutic vaccine for inducing protective immunity through targeting viral antigens (Ags) to the CD180 receptor, through targeting for example West Nile virus (WNV) E protein or hepatitis B virus (HBV) antigens. CD180-based vaccines and other Ag targeting-based vaccines are being developed for testing in humans. Dr. Clark helped co-found two successful public biotechnology companies, Genetic Systems Corp (1981), which developed a diagnostic for HIV-1, and Trubion Pharmaceuticals (2001), which developed single chain antibody-based drugs to human CD20 and CD37. He is currently helping to start a third biotech company.
The Clark lab has been involved in charactering signaling pathways mainly in B cells for decades, and most recently has focused on defining the role and regulation of the cytokine, B cell activating factor (BAFF). Major current goals include defining how BAFF is regulated using BAFF-RFP reporter mice and BAFF-floxed mice the lab has developed.
Dr. Clark's laboratory also investigates receptors regulating dendritic cells (DCs), that not only are key 'sentinels' of the immune system, but also coordinate and bridge innate and adaptive immune responses. They respond to infectious agents through different families of ligands and receptors such as the Toll-like receptor (TLR) and C-type lectin receptor (CLR) families. Dr. Clark's group is currently testing how C-type lectins on DCs function to capture and present intact antigens to the immune system and how they transmit pathogen-specific information about how best to respond to a pathogen.