Frederic I. Preffer, PhD

Preffer Lab

“Elucidating the immunophenotype and functional capacity of stem cells capable of developing into various tissue lineages...”


Frederic I. Preffer, PhD

Associate Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
Associate Pathologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

Massachusetts General Hospital
185 Cambridge Street
Simches Building, Room 4-226
Boston, MA 02144
Phone: 617-726-7481
Fax: 617-724-3164


The common lymphoid progenitor (CLP) responsible for the formation of T, B and NK cells is derived from a hematopoietic stem cell that is first identified in the embryonic aorto-gonad-mesonephros, a descendent of the mesoderm. The signals to initiate and regulate development are due to the control imposed by a variety of marrow stromal cells, transcription factors, and coordinated regulation by the nervous system, extracellular matrix, cytokines and adipocytes found in the bone marrow microenvironment.   The general consensus of the ontological steps leading to production of naïve B-cells is summarized as follows; the earliest identifiable committed B-cells derived from the CLP are called progenitor (Pro) B-cells. Pro B-cells arise after obligate stimulation by the transcription factor PAX-5, which engenders CD19 production.  These CD34+ CD19+ CD10+ CD38+ TdT+ expressing cells lack the pre B-cell receptor or surface immunoglobulin (Ig) and initiate VDJ heavy chain rearrangements independent of any antigenic exposure.  Pro B cells differentiate into CD34- CD19+ CD10+ CD38+ TdT- precursor (Pre) B-cells that acquire cytoplasmic and then surface mu heavy chain with a transient surrogate immunoglobulin light chain.  Next, a CD19+ CD10-CD38- immature B-cell expresses surface IgM+ and physiologic light chain.    Ultimately, CD19+ CD20+ B-cells co-expressing IgM and IgD heavy chains exit the bone marrow as transitional B-cells and home to secondary lymphoid organs as  naive B-cells. 

We are interested in the use of probability state modeling to quantify the locations of antigen modulations during the ontological development of human B-cells to determine the discrete progenitor and B-cell stages that occur during normal maturation. We will use this information to study and predict minimal residual disease in patients with B- lymphoblastic lymphoma. 

The MGH Flow Cytometry research laboratories are located on the MGH campus in Simches 3.434 and CNY-5 [2015]. These hospital core resources will entertain research collaborations from throughout the pathology laboratories and greater hospital and university. The CNY flow laboratory, overseen by Dr. R. Mylvaganam, R. Ravichandran and C. Luo, contain a FACSAria II sorter, LSR-2, Fortessa and FACSFusion sorter for BSL2+ operations.  The laboratory is slated to have a Helios Mass Cytometer in 2017.  The Simches flow and imaging laboratory contains a DiVa cell sorter and LSR-2 operated by D. Dombkowski. A  FACSFusion sorter permits BSL2+ sorting in that facility, as well. This laboratory also contains an Amnis ISX mkII imaging flow cytometer which permits bright-field and fluorescent visual analysis of immunophenotyped cells, run by S. Mordecai. The clinical flow cytometry laboratory is located on Warren 5 on the MGH campus in Boston. Two FACSCanto-IIs are available at that site.

Group Members

Ravi Mylvaganam, PhD Research Laboratory Manager
Christina Luo, Research Technician II
Hiranmayi Ravichandran, Research Technician II
Rachel Servis, Research Technician I

David Dombkowski, Senior Research Technologist
Scott Mordecai, Research Technologist


Selected Publications

Bibliography of Frederic I. Preffer via PubMed

MGH Pathology Simches and CNY Flow Cytometry Core and Flow Image Analysis

Bagwell CB, Hill BL, Wood BL, Wallace PK, Alrazzak M. Kelliher AS, Preffer FI.  Human B-cell and progenitor stages as determined by probability state modeling of multidimensional cytometry data.  Cytometry B Clin Cytom 2015; 88B:214-226.

Bagwell CB, Hunsberger BC, Herbert DJ, Munson ME, Hill BL, Bray CM and Preffer FI.  Probability state modeling theory.  Cytometry A 2015; 87A:646-660.
La Muraglia GM 2nd, O’Neil MJ, Madariaga ML, Michel SG, Mordecai KS, Allan JS, Madsen JC, Hanekamp IM, Preffer FI.  A novel approach to measuring cell-mediated lympholysis using quantitative flow and imaging cytometry.  J Immunol Methods  2015; 427: 85-93.

Kawai T, Sachs DH, Sprangers B, Spitzer TR, Saidman SL, Zorn E, Tolkoff-Rubin N, Preffer F, Crisalli K, Gao B, Wong W, Morris H, LoCascio SA, Sayre P, Shonts B, Williams WW Jr, Smith RN, Colvin RB, Sykes M, Cosimi AB.  Long-term results in recipients of combined HLA-mismatched kidney and bone marrow transplantation without maintenance immunosuppression.  Am J Transplant 2014; 14:1599-611.

Hansen P, Barry D, Restell A, Sylvia D, Magnin O, Dombkowski D, Preffer F. Physics of a rapid CD4 lymphocyte count with colloidal gold. Cytometry A 2012; 81:222-231.

Cannizzo E, Carulli G, Del Vecchio L, Ottaviano V, Bellio E, Zenari E, Azzara A, Petrini M, Preffer F. The role of CD19 and CD27 in the diagnosis of multiple myeloma by flow cytometry: a new statistical model. Am J Clin. Pathol. 2012; 137:377-386.

Preffer F, Dombkowski D. Advances in complex multiparameter flow cytometry technology: Applications in stem cell research. Cytometry B Clin Cytom 2009; 76:295-314.


Contact Us

Preffer Laboratory

Massachusetts General Hospital

185 Cambridge StreetSimches Building, Room 4-226 Boston, MA 02144
  • Phone: 617-726-7481
  • Fax: 617-724-3164


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