The defining feature of the immune system is its ability to distinguish self from non-self, a function mediated by antigen-specific T cells. T cell receptors can only recognize antigens derived from pathogens or transformed cells if these antigens combine with Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) molecules.
A critical component of the immune system is tight regulation; ensuring appropriate termination of immune responses following pathogen clearance and avoiding the inappropriate activation of immune responses to self tissues resulting in autoimmunity.
Infectious Disease & Vaccine Design
Novel viral vaccines and antivirals studies are centered on clinical studies to evaluate experimental measures to control viral diseases, particularly influenza. We also study T cell regulations in the environment of the lung tissue and airways to understand T cell immunity against respiratory viruses.
Leukocyte Homing & Migration
Cell migration is central to many biological and pathological processes, including embryogenesis, tissue repair and regeneration as well as cancer and the inflammatory response. Unlike cells within solid tissues, circulating leukocytes relocate during the course of immune reactions and dynamically adhere and de-adhere to cells of the vasculature and to other immune cells, as well as to components of the extracellular matrix.
T Cell Differentiation, Effector Function, & Memory
Focus on immune regulation by T cell subsets and their cytokine productions, and on the generation of immunological memory which is essential for protection against subsequent infections.