John Charpentier

Immunology Program Graduate Student Candidate


A native of New England, John earned a B.S. in biochemistry, summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2016. At UMass he studied G-protein-coupled receptor signal regulation in the brains of Drosophila flies in the laboratory of Dr. Alexey Veraksa, then spent two years studying the regulation of Rho GTPases in T cells in the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Bunnell at Tufts Medical School.

John is a member of The American Association of Immunologists, The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry, and The National Association of Science Writers.

Research Interests

In the King laboratory, John studies macropinocytosis in T cells. Macropinocytosis is a non-selective mode of bulk endocytosis that has been highly conserved through evolutionary history. John and his collaborators have discovered that macropinocytic uptake of particular amino acids is required to sustain mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling in activated T cells. This discovery marks the first demonstration of a requirement for macropinocytosis in the regulation of non-cancerous mammalian cell growth. Further research in this area may suggest means by which the growth and activation of T cells may be manipulated for therapeutic benefit.


The Miller Fund Award for Innovative Immunology Research, The Herman and Dorothy Miller Fund (2019)

Rackham Conference Travel Grant, Rackham Graduate School (2019)

Trainee Abstract Award, The American Association of Immunologists (2019)

Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering (CASE) workshop invitee, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2019)

Science Communication Fellowship, University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (2018)

Rackham Merit Fellowship, Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan (2016)

Bernard Maas Fellowship, 2016, Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan (2016)


“Macropinocytosis of amino acids regulates T cell growth by promoting the sustained activation of mTORC1” Invited talk, Immunology 2019, San Diego, CA (2019)

“Macropinocytosis in activated T lymphocytes promotes sustained mTORC1 activation” Invited talk, Harnessing Immune Metabolism to Treat Cancer and Other Diseases Symposium, Ann Arbor, MI (2018)


Charpentier, J. C., Chen, D., Lapinski, P. E., Turner, J., Grigorova, I., Swanson, J. A., & King, P. D. (2020). Macropinocytosis drives T cell growth by sustaining the activation of mTORC1Nature Communications11(180), 1–9.