David Kranz received his PhD in 1982 from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and conducted postdoctoral work at MIT for five years, examining the molecular basis of T-cell recognition and function. He joined the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Illinois in 1987, where his research program has focused on immunology. Specifically, he has been interested in the structure, function, and engineering of T-cell receptors.
His lab has also been involved for many years on the discovery of immunotherapeutic approaches to cancer. Kranz has taught over a thousand undergraduate students in his general immunology course, and he has been funded continuously by NIH and various other federal and private organizations. Kranz is an inventor on 16 issued U.S. patents and many international patents. In the past 15 years, he co-founded two of the most successful start-up companies originating from work at the University of Illinois: BioDisplay and ImmuVen. BioDisplay was acquired by Abbott Laboratories in 2002 and ImmuVen was acquired by AbbVie in 2014. He served in various executive and scientific roles at both companies and on their Board of Directors.