Dr. Theofilopoulos received his medical degree from the University of Athens, where he also completed his internship and residency in internal medicine. He then came to the Southwestern Medical School in Dallas as a postdoctoral fellow in Rheumatology under Professor Morris Ziff. In 1972, he moved to The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, where he was trained in immunopathology under the tutelage of the Institute's director and founder, the preeminent pathologist Dr. Frank Dixon. In 1983 he was promoted to Professor, and is currently Professor and Chairman of the Department of Immunology and Microbial Science.
Dr. Theofilopoulos' research career centers on defining the molecular and genetic basis of autoimmune diseases, particularly systemic autoimmunity. Following early contributions to the characterization of immune complexes and development of assays for their detection, he embarked on detailed characterization of the humoral, cellular and histological characteristics of several spontaneous mouse lupus strains. His work in this area is widely recognized as the basis on which these models became the primary experimental vehicle for the study of this disease.
Recently, he and his colleagues addressed molecular aspects of lupus and made several important contributions with regard to autoantibody and T cell receptor genes. In the last few years, he and his associates have focused on identification of the basic genetic defects of systemic autoimmunity using both forward and reverse genetic approaches. This work has defined the multiple loci contributing to clinical manifestations of this disease, and identified the predisposing, suppressing and effector genes.
His current work focuses on the definition of the pathogenic role of Toll-like receptors and of the pleiotropic type 1 and type2 inferferons. Findings in these areas are likely to elucidate disease pathogenesis and lead to the development of novel therapeutics.
Dr. Theofilopoulos is a member of several scientific societies, has received several honorary doctoral degrees, and is a corresponding member o the Academy of Athens and an editor of a major text on autoimmune diseases (Molecular Pathology of Autoimmune Diseases) as well as Editor of the ongoing "Current Directions in Autoimmunity" series. He has published approximately 300 original papers and book chapters in this area, and has trained a number of fellows who now hold Professorships here and abroad.