Christoph Thomas Ellebrecht, MD

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Assistant Professor of Dermatology
Department: Dermatology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Department of Dermatology
421 Curie Boulevard
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 2158982633
Medizinische Hochschule Lübeck, University Lübeck, Germany , 2011.
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Description of Clinical Expertise

As a board-certified dermatologist and physician-scientist, my expertise encompasses a wide range of skin-related medical conditions, with a particular emphasis on autoimmune blistering diseases such as pemphigus, bullous pemphigoid, and mucous membrane pemphigoid. My comprehensive understanding of the pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management of these disorders has positioned me as an expert in the field of dermatology and immunology.

As an academic dermatologist, my role extends beyond research to encompass clinical care, education, and mentoring. I have been dedicated to providing compassionate, evidence-based care to patients suffering from autoimmune blistering diseases, tailoring treatments to their individual needs and circumstances. I have also been actively involved in teaching and mentoring medical students, residents, and fellows, sharing my knowledge and experience in the field of dermatology and inspiring the next generation of physician-scientists.

Description of Research Expertise

Throughout my scientific career, I have been dedicated to understanding immune cells in relation to autoimmunity and utilizing them for precision cellular immunotherapies. My recently founded lab focuses on exploring how and when specialized human immune cells, used for treating patients or residing in specific organs, commit to long-lasting or short-term cell fates. I am especially intrigued by T lymphocytes and their memory abilities, which allow them to respond faster and more effectively when re-exposed to a pathogen.

While immune memory is an abstract concept, its cellular basis lies in the formation of specialized memory T lymphocytes. The processes by which human T cells become memory T cells at the cellular and molecular levels are not yet understood. However, in mice, memory T cells are generated through asymmetric partitioning after T cell activation. During this process, the T cell closer to the antigen-presenting cell becomes a short-lived effector cell, while the T cell further away becomes a long-lived memory T cell. These events, occurring within a limited time window between T cell activation and first cell division, present a fascinating area of study and manipulation. This proposal's main scientific goal is to shed light on this process in specialized human T cells used to treat cancer (CAR) or autoimmune disease (CAAR).

As a research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, I studied the antibody response and analyzed the connections between antibody isotypes and subclasses in the autoimmune skin disorder pemphigus vulgaris. Moreover, I investigated broadly neutralizing antibodies to HIV in the context of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered T cells. I also developed chimeric autoantibody receptors (CAARs), inspired by the successful CAR T cell approach, which enables specific targeting of autoreactive B cells based on their B cell receptor autoreactivity. Currently being tested in first-in-human clinical trials, CAAR therapy represents the first precision cellular immunotherapy for human autoimmune disease.
Consequently, my comprehensive experience in human T cell engineering and translational studies of human autoimmunity is well-aligned with the research goals and methodologies of my laboratory, showcasing my expertise as a translational immunologist.

Selected Publications

Oh S, Mao X, Manfredo-Vieira S, Lee J, Patel D, Choi EJ, Alvarado A, Cottman-Thomas E, Maseda D, Tsao PY, Ellebrecht CT, Khella SL, Richman DP, O'Connor KC, Herzberg U, Binder GK, Milone MC, Basu S, Payne AS.: Precision targeting of autoantigen-specific B cells in muscle-specific tyrosine kinase myasthenia gravis with chimeric autoantibody receptor T cells. Nat Biotechnol. 2023.

Christoph T. Ellebrecht, Casey Lee, Roderick O'Connor, Aimee S. Payne: Asymmetric cell division for fate induction of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Volume 142, Issue 8, Supplement, 2022. 2022.

Christoph T Ellebrecht, Casey Lee, Roderick O'Connor, Aimee S. Payne: Asymmetric cell division for fate induction of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells Annual Conference of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy 2022.

Ellebrecht CT, Maseda D, Payne AS. : Pemphigus and Pemphigoid: From Disease Mechanisms to Druggable Pathways. J Invest Dermatol. 2022.

Wat M, Mollanazar NK, Ellebrecht CT, Forrestel A, Elenitsas R, Chu EY. : Lichen-planus-pemphigoides-like reaction to PD-1 checkpoint blockade. J Cutan Pathol. 2022.

Ellebrecht, C.T.: Engineering chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells for treatment of γδ T cell lymphomas Society for Investigative Dermatology Annual Meeting 2021: 2021.

Ellebrecht, C.T.: Engineering chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells for treatment of γδ T cell lymphomas University of Pennsylvania Center for Cellular Immunotherapy Research Day 2021.

Niebuhr M, Belde J, Fähnrich A, Serge A, Irla M, Ellebrecht CT, Hammers CM, Bieber K, Westermann J, Kalies K. : Receptor repertoires of murine follicular T helper cells reveal a high clonal overlap in separate lymph nodes in autoimmunity. Elife. 2021 Aug 17;10. doi: 10.7554/eLife.70053. 2021.

Godse R, Mcgettigan S, Schuchter LM, Ellebrecht CT, Chu EY. : Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome in the setting of combined anti-PD1/anti-CTLA4 therapy. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2021.

Gelfand JM, Armstrong AW, Bell S, Anesi GL, Blauvelt A, Calabrese C, Dommasch ED, Feldman SR, Gladman D, Kircik L, Lebwohl M, Lo Re V 3rd, Martin G, Merola JF, Scher JU, Schwartzman S, Treat JR, Van Voorhees AS, Ellebrecht CT, Fenner J, Ocon A, Syed MN, Weinstein EJ, Gondo G, Heydon S, Koons S, Ritchlin CT. : National Psoriasis Foundation COVID-19 Task Force guidance for management of psoriatic disease during the pandemic: Version 2-Advances in psoriatic disease management, COVID-19 vaccines, and COVID-19 treatments. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021.

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Last updated: 08/04/2023
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