Charles Janeway

Charles Alderson Janeway, Jr. (1943–2003) was a noted immunologist who helped create the modern field of innate immunity.[1] A member of the National Academy of Sciences, he held a faculty position at Yale University's Medical School and was an HHMI Investigator.

Charles Janeway
BornFebruary 5, 1943
DiedApril 12, 2003
Alma mater
Known forStudies of Innate immunity
Spouse(s)H. Kim Bottomly, Ph.D.
Scientific career

Early lifeEdit

Born in Boston on February 5, 1943, to Charles A. and Elizabeth B. Janeway, Janeway was raised in Weston, Mass. He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, N.H., and Harvard College, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1963 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. His interest in medicine was inspired by his parents: his father Charles Alderson Janeway was physician-in-chief at Boston Children's Hospital from 1946 to 1974, and his mother was a social worker at the Boston Lying-In Hospital.

By earning his medical degree from Harvard Medical School in 1969, Janeway joined a long family line of prominent physicians. In addition to his father, his grandfather, Theodore C. Janeway, was the first full-time professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and his great-grandfather, Edward G. Janeway, was the New York City Health Commissioner.


Janeway trained in basic-science research with Hugh McDevitt at Harvard, John Humphrey at the National Institute for Medical Research in England, and with Robin Coombs at Cambridge University in England. He completed an internal medicine internship at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston.[2] Following five years of immunology research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., under William E. Paul, and two years at Uppsala University in Sweden under Hans Wigzell, he joined the Yale faculty in 1977. In 1983 he was promoted to Professor of Pathology and in 1988 he became one of the founding members of the newly created Section of Immunobiology at Yale University School of Medicine.

Janeway was one of the leading immunologists of his generation whose ideas formed many of the concepts that are the basis of immunology today. He made major contributions to our understanding of T lymphocyte biology. He pioneered the modern studies of innate immunity, which is the first line of defense against infections.[3]

Janeway predicted in 1989 that activation of the adaptive immune response is controlled by the more ancient innate immune system. He proposed a general theory of innate immune recognition (pattern recognition theory) and suggested the principles of innate control of adaptive immunity.[4] These predictions have been confirmed in subsequent years and now form the conceptual framework for the current understanding of the innate immune system and the links between innate and adaptive immunity.[5]

Janeway made fundamental contributions to many other areas of immunology, including co-discovery of bacterial superantigens.[6] Together with Alexander Rudensky, Janeway also characterized how self antigens associate with MHC class II molecules.[7]

Janeway is particularly well known as the lead author of Immunobiology, a standard textbook on immunology, which has been renamed Janeway's Immunobiology for the recently published 8th edition in memory of its late lead author. He also published more than 300 scientific papers.

Janeway also served on the board of directors of several research institutes, including the Trudeau Institute, and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. He was president of the American Association of Immunologists from 1997 to 1998.

Janeway was married to H. Kim Bottomly, Ph.D., and had three daughters: Katherine A. Janeway, M.D., Hannah H. Janeway, M.D., and Megan G. Janeway, M.D. He died on April 12 2003 in his home in New Haven.[1]



  • Janeway, et al. Immunobiology. 7th ed. ISBN 0-8153-4101-6. (5th ed.)
  1. ^ a b O'Connor, Anahad (2003-04-27). "Dr. Charles Janeway Jr., 60, Expert on Immune System, Dies". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  2. ^ Janeway, Charles A. (2002). "A Trip Through my Life With an Immunological Theme". Annual Review of Immunology. 20 (1): 1–28. doi:10.1146/annurev.immunol.20.080801.102422. ISSN 0732-0582.
  3. ^ Medzhitov, R. (2013-11-01). "Pattern Recognition Theory and the Launch of Modern Innate Immunity". The Journal of Immunology. 191 (9): 4473–4474. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1302427. ISSN 0022-1767. PMID 24141853.
  4. ^ Janeway Jr, CA (1989). "Approaching the asymptote? Evolution and revolution in immunology". Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology. 54 (1): 1–13. doi:10.1101/sqb.1989.054.01.003. PMID 2700931.
  5. ^ Medzhitov, Ruslan (2009). "Approaching the Asymptote: 20 Years Later". Immunity. 30 (6): 766–775. doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2009.06.004. PMID 19538928.
  6. ^ Janeway Jr., Charles; et al. (1988). "An external stimulus that mimics Mls locus responses". J Immunogenetics. 15 (1–3): 161–168. doi:10.1111/j.1744-313X.1988.tb00418.x.
  7. ^ Rudensky, Alexander; Preston-Hurlburt P; Hong SC; Barlow A; Janeway CA Jr (1991). "Sequence analysis of peptides bound to MHC class II molecules". Nature. 353 (6345): 622–627. Bibcode:1991Natur.353..622R. doi:10.1038/353622a0. PMID 1656276.
  8. ^ "Past Recipients". The American Association of Immunologists. Retrieved 19 September 2018.