Photo of Dr. Terry Means

Terry Means, PhD

The Means Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital combines molecular biology, cellular biology, and genetics to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms of inflammation and host defense.


Principal Investigator, Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital

Associate Immunologist, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Research Affiliate, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

The overall goal of Dr. Means’ laboratory is to understand the role of pathogen-sensing by the innate immune system. Research to date has focused on the role that Toll-like Receptors (TLRs) and Scavenger receptors play in the innate immune response to a myriad of microbial pathogens. We have previously shown that macrophages and dendritic cells express unique gene expression signatures, including distinct cytokine and chemokine expression, in response to different danger signals. We are using knockout mice and RNAi to dissect the regulation of these pathways and how they induce protective immunity to infections.

Another research focus in the lab is the study of TLR7/TLR9-mediated immune system activation in system lupus erythematosus. We have found that RNA/DNA containing immune complexes found in the serum of active human lupus patients activates immune cells. We are currently studying the innate sensors and pathways that regulate SLE immune complex recognition and what role they play in the pathogenesis of lupus and other autoimmune diseases.

Group Members

Principal Investigator:

  • Terry Means, PhD

Posdoctoral Fellows:

  • Taotao Lao, PhD
  • Zaida Ramirez-Ortiz, PhD


  • Rachel Kim




Research Projects


  • Innate sensing of danger signals
  • Mechanisms of Anti-Fungal Immunity Mediated by Scavenger Receptors and Toll-like Receptors
  • Identification of genes that mediate the cellular response to SLE autoantibody:nucleic acid immune complexes
  • Therapeutic Targeting of Toll-like Receptors in Autoimmune Inflammatory Diseases
  • Lupus serum signaling through Toll-like Receptors 7 and 9




Contact Us

Means Laboratory

CNY 149-8

149 13th Street Charlestown, MA 02129
  • Near Public Transit
  • Accessible
  • Phone: 617-726-6497
  • Fax: 617-726-5651
  • Email Us

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