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Philip M. Murphy, M.D.
Building 10, Room 11N111
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892-1886
Phone: 301-496-8616
Fax: 301-402-4369

Laboratory of  Molecular Immunology 

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Philip M. Murphy, M.D.

Photo of Philip M. Murphy

Chief, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology
Chief, Molecular Signaling Section, LMI

Major Areas of Research

  • Host defense and inflammation
  • G protein-coupled chemoattractant receptors
  • Genetic risk factors in infectious and immune-mediated diseases

Program Description

This laboratory studies G protein-coupled receptors of the immune system. These include a large family of chemokine receptors and a smaller group of classical chemoattractant receptors, which together differentially regulate specific leukocyte trafficking in support of innate and adaptive immune responses.

The goal of the lab is to delineate the precise mechanisms by which the receptors relay chemotactic signals to cells and to identify their exact physiologic roles both in immunoregulation and in immunologically mediated disease. The approaches used are to isolate specific chemoattractant receptors by molecular cloning, to examine their signal transduction properties both in model cell systems and in primary cells, and to study their biology in mouse models and, where possible, in patients through direct clinical research.

Further, the lab has a program in human immunogenomics in which genetic polymorphisms discovered in candidate chemoattractant or chemoattractant receptor genes are checked for effects on biochemical function and for associations with specific diseases. Major discoveries include the following:

  • Identification of the first CXC, CC, and CX3C chemokine receptor subtypes, as well as numerous other members of the chemokine receptor family, and characterization of their ligand and leukocyte specificities
  • Characterization of the f-Met-Leu-Phe receptor (FPR) family
  • Identification of CCR5 and demonstration that CCR5 is a major HIV receptor in vivo by analysis of the defective genetic variant CCR5Δ32
  • Characterization of the first viral mimics of chemokine receptors
  • Discovery of novel genetic risk factors in atherosclerosis, HIV/AIDS, West Nile virus infection, and kidney transplant rejection
  • Characterization of G6PC3 deficiency, a novel immunodeficiency syndrome characterized by severe congenital neutropenia and recurrent bacterial infections

There are projects ongoing in the lab extending each of these observations.


Dr. Murphy obtained an A.B. from Princeton University in 1975 and an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1981. He trained in internal medicine at New York University from 1981 to 1985, serving as chief resident from 1984 to 1985, and in infectious diseases at NIAID from 1985 to 1988.

He began his research career as a medical staff fellow in the Bacterial Diseases Section of the NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Investigation in 1986 and was promoted to senior investigator with tenure in the Laboratory of Host Defenses (LHD) in 1992. In 1998, he was promoted to the Senior Biomedical Research Service and named chief of the LHD Molecular Signaling Section.

In 2003, Dr. Murphy’s research group was reorganized as part of the new Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, where he served first as acting chief from 2003 to 2006 and then as chief from 2006 to the present. Dr. Murphy’s research interests include immunoregulation by chemokines and related chemoattractants.


NIH Merit Award (1992); NIH Director's Award (1994, 1996); NIH Senior Biomedical Research Service (1998); American Society for Clinical Investigation (1992); Association of American Physicians (1997); the Henry Kunkel Society (2006); NIAID Merit Award (2009); NIAID Mentor of the Year Award (2010)


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Society for Clinical Investigation
  • American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Association of American Physicians
  • American Association of Immunologists
  • Society for Leukocyte Biology
  • The Henry Kunkel Society

Editorial Boards

  • Cellular Immunology
  • Journal of Leukocyte Biology
  • Viral Immunology
  • inScight
  • Journal of Innate Immunity
  • UCSD-Nature Molecule Pages
  • Faculty of 1000

Research Group

Jenny Dworzak
Ji-Liang Gao
Zhanzhuo Li
Joy Liu
Ana Marino
David McDermott
Erich Schneider
Aurelie Tomczak
Daniel Velez
Joe Wan
Don Weaver
Sunny Yung

Selected Publications

Wan W, Lim JK, Lionakis MS, Rivollier A, McDermott DH, Kelsall BL, Farber JM, Murphy PM. Genetic deletion of chemokine receptor Ccr6 decreases atherogenesis in ApoE-deficient mice. Circ Res. 2011 Aug 5;109(4):374-81.

Yung SC, Parenti D, Murphy PM. Host chemokines bind to Staphylococcus aureus and stimulate protein A release. J Biol Chem. 2011 Feb 18;286(7):5069-77.

Lim JK, Obara CJ, Rivollier A, Pletnev AG, Kelsall BL, Murphy PM. Chemokine receptor CCR2 is critical for monocyte accumulation and survival in West Nile virus encephalitis. J Immunol. 2011 Jan 1;186(1):471-8.

Lionakis MS, Lim JK, Lee CC, Murphy PM. Organ-specific innate immune responses in a mouse model of invasive candidiasis. J Innate Immun. 2011;3(2):180-99.

McDermott DH, De Ravin SS, Jun HS, Liu Q, Priel DA, Noel P, Takemoto CM, Ojode T, Paul SM, Dunsmore KP, Hilligoss D, Marquesen M, Ulrick J, Kuhns DB, Chou JY, Malech HL, Murphy PM. Severe congenital neutropenia resulting from G6PC3 deficiency with increased neutrophil CXCR4 expression and myelokathexis. Blood. 2010 Oct 14;116(15):2793-802.

Barlic J, Zhu W, Murphy PM. Atherogenic lipids induce high-density lipoprotein uptake and cholesterol efflux in human macrophages by up-regulating transmembrane chemokine CXCL16 without engaging CXCL16-dependent cell adhesion. J Immunol. 2009 Jun 15;182(12):7928-36.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication list.

Last Updated March 26, 2013