Brian A. Cobb, PhD

Department of Pathology
School of Medicine
Director, Immunology Training Program

Dr. Brian Cobb graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma in 1995. The next five years were spent at Washington University, St. Louis, where he received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry studying the macromolecular interactions of the lens protein alpha crystallin with the plasma membrane. His three years as a postdoctoral fellow was spent as a dual appointment in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics and the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School (2001-04) working with Dennis Kasper on the innate and adaptive immune responses to commensal bacteria-derived capsular polysaccharides. He continued at Harvard for another year as an Instructor before coming to Case School of Medicine in 2005 where he is a Professor in the Department of Pathology, and Director of the Immunology Training Program.

Research Information

Research Projects

The Cobb lab is broadly focused on immune regulation and the role that carbohydrates (microbial and host) play in related mechanisms. As such, we work at the interface of glycobiology and immunology.

The lab can be roughly broken into two areas of research:

  1. Polysaccharide antigens and the T cell-dependent impact of these commensal flora-derived molecules on the susceptibility to develop immune-mediate diseases, such as asthma and multiple sclerosis.
  2. The regulation of host glycosylation and the impact these glycans have upon immune regulatory pathways, with a specific interest in antibody (IgG) regulation.

View the Cobb Laboratory


View All Publications

  • Jones, M.B., Alvarez, C.A., Johnson, J.L., Zhou, J.Y., Morris, N., Cobb, B.A. (2019) “CD45Rb-low effector T cells require IL-4 to induce IL-10 in FoxP3 Tregs and to protect mice from inflammation”, PLoS One 14(5): e0216893. [Pubmed]
  • Oswald, D.M., Sim, E.S., Baker, C., Farhan, O., Debanne, S.M., Morris, N.J., Rodriguez, B.G., Jones, M.B., Cobb, B.A. (2019) “Plasma glycomics predict cardiovascular disease in patients with ART-controlled HIV invections”, FASEB Journal 33(2), pp. 1852-1859. [Pubmed]
  • Zhou, J.Y., Oswald, D.M., Oliva, K.D., Kreisman, L.S.C., Cobb, B.A. (2018) “The Glycoscience of Immunity”, Trends in Immunology 39(7), pp. 523-535. [Pubmed]
  • Johnson, J.L., Jones, M.B., Cobb, B.A. (2018) "Polysaccharide-experienced effector T cells induce IL-10 in FoxP3+ regulatory T cells to prevent pulmonary inflammation”, Glycobiology 28(1), pp. 50-58. [Pubmed]
  • Jones, M.B., Oswald, D.M., Joshi, S., Whiteheart, S.W., Orlando, R., Cobb, B.A. (2016) “B cell-Independent Sialylation of IgG”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(26), pp. 7207-7212. [Pubmed]
  • Johnson, J.L., Jones, M.B., Cobb, B.A. (2014) "Polysaccharide A from the capsule of Bacteroides fragilis induces clonal CD4+ T cell expansion", Journal of Biological Chemistry 290(8), pp. 5007-5014. [Pubmed]
  • Johnson, J.L., Jones, M.B., Cobb, B.A. (2014) "Bacterial capsular polysaccharide prevents the onset of asthma through T cell activation", Glycobiology 25(4), pp. 368-375. [Pubmed]
  • Ryan, S.O., Abbott, D.W., Cobb, B.A. (2014) "Myeloid glycosylation defects lead to a spontaneous common variable immunodeficiency-like condition with associated hemolytic anemia and antilymphocyte autoimmunity", Journal of Immunology 192(12), pp. 5561-5570. [Pubmed]
  • Ryan, S.O., Leal Jr., S.M., Abbott, D.W., Pearlman, E., Cobb, B.A. (2014) "Mgat2 ablation in the myeloid lineage leads to defective glycoantigen T cell responses", Glycobiology 24(3), pp. 262-271. [Pubmed]
  • Ryan, S.O., Johnson, J.L., Cobb, B.A. (2013) "Neutrophils Confer T cell Resistance to Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cell-Mediated Suppression to Promote Chronic Inflammation", Journal of Immunology 190(10), pp. 5037-5047. [Pubmed]
  • Johnson, J.L., Jones, M.B., Ryan, S.O., Cobb, B.A. (2013) "The Regulatory Power of Glycans and their Binding Partners in Immunity", Trends in Immunology 34(6), pp. 290-308. [Pubmed]
  • Ryan, S.O. and Cobb, B.A. (2012) "Roles for Major Histocompatibility Complex Glycosylation in Immune Function", Seminars in Immunopathology special volume on Glycosylation and Immunity 34(3), pp. 425-441. [Pubmed]
  • Kreisman, L.S.C. and Cobb, B.A. (2012) "Infection, Inflammation, and Host Carbohydrates: A Glyco-Evasion Hypothesis",Glycobiology 22(8), pp. 1019-1030. [Pubmed]
  • Lewis, C.J. and Cobb, B.A. (2011) "Adaptive Immune Defects Against Glycoantigens in Chronic Granulomatous Disease via Dysregulated Nitric Oxide Production", European Journal of Immunology 41(9), pp. 2562-2572. [Pubmed]
  • Ryan, S.O., Bonomo, J.A., Zhao, F., Cobb, B.A. (2011) "MHCII Glycosylation Modulates Bacteroides fragilis Carbohydrate Antigen Presentation", Journal of Experimental Medicine 208(5), pp. 1041-1053. [Pubmed]
  • Kreisman, L.S.C. and Cobb, B.A. (2011) "Glycoantigens Induce Human Peripheral Tr1 Cell Differentiation with Gut-homing Specialization", Journal of Biological Chemistry 286(11), pp. 8810-8818. [Pubmed]
  • Cobb, B.A., Kasper, D.L. (2008) "Characteristics of carbohydrate antigen binding to the presentation protein HLA-DR",Glycobiology 18(9), pp. 707-718. [Pubmed]
  • Wang, Q., McLoughlin, R.M., Cobb, B.A., Charrel-Dennis, M., Zaleski, K.J., Golenbock, D., Tzianabos, A.O., Kasper, D.L. (2006) "A bacterial carbohydrate links innate and adaptive responses through Toll-like receptor 2", Journal of Experimental Medicine 203(13), pp. 2853-2863. [Pubmed]
  • Cobb, B.A., Wang, Q., Tzianabos, A.O., Kasper, D.L. (2004) "Polysaccharide Processing and Presentation by the MHCII Pathway", Cell 117(5), pp. 677-87.  [Pubmed]

Third-Party News and Views

  • (2011) "The curious case of nitric oxide and CGD", In this issue. European Journal of Immunology 41(9), pp. 2465-2466. [Link]
  • Watts C. (2004) "Class II MHC: Sweetening the Peptide-Only Diet?", Cell 117(5), pp. 558-9.  [Pubmed]
  • Honey K. (2004) "Presenting a Newly Charged Antigen", Nature Reviews Immunology 4, pg. 489. [Link]
  • Hurtley SM. (2004) "Immunology: Sweet Presentation", Science 304, pg. 1719. [Link]
  • Dempsey LA. (2004) "Processed Sugar", Nature Immunology 5(7), pg. 693. [Link]


Doctor of Philosophy
Washington University, St. Louis
Area of Study
Bachelor of Science
University of Oklahoma
Area of Study

Residencies, Internships and Fellowships

Harvard Medical School
Area of Study