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Donald C. Shreffler was the seventy-first president of the American Association of Immunologists, serving from 1987 to 1988. An immunogeneticist, Shreffler conducted pioneering studies into the structure and function of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). From 1975 until his premature death in 1994, Shreffler was a faculty member in the Department of Genetics at Washington University in St. Louis, serving as chair of the department from 1975 to 1984.
Shreffler earned his Ph.D. in genetics at the California Institute of Technology in 1962, conducting studies on the mouse serum substance (Ss) protein under Ray Owen (AAI ’55). He continued his studies on the mouse Ss protein as a research associate in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan Medical School for the next three years. From 1965 to 1975, Shreffler rose from assistant professor to professor of genetics at Michigan. In 1975, administrators at Washington University offered him the opportunity to help build a genetics department. Shreffler accepted the invitation and was appointed professor and chairman of the new department. He completed his tenure as chairman in 1984 but continued to research and teach as a professor of genetics at Washington University until August 8, 1994, when he suffered a fatal heart attack.
Vice President: 1986–1987
The Journal of Immunology
Section Editor: 1972–1973
Editorial Board: 1983–1985
Nominating Committee: 1976–1977
Financial Planning Committee: 1982–1985
Publications Committee: 1985–1986
AAI Representative to FASEB Board: 1986–1989
"Seventy Five Years of Immunology: The View from the MHC," Delivered May 3, 1988
The Journal of Immunology 141, no. 6 (1988): 1791–98.