AhR Regulation of the Mature Immune System
Infectious diseases remain a major cause of illness and death. Conventional thinking is that fighting infection is a race between a pathogen's ability to evade host defenses and multiply, and the host's ability to destroy it. Research by our group challenges this paradigm with a novel concept: environmental factors play a fundamental role in the ultimate outcome of an infection.
The public health implications of these observations are profound, especially for at-risk populations. One of our central projects is to understand how an environment-sensing, ligand-activated transcription factor, called the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR), modulates the magnitude and nature of the host's protective response to infection. We use a variety of molecular, immunological, genetic tools, as well as multidimensional flow cytometry and computational approaches to interrogate the cell-type specific manner by which the AHR regulates the innate and adaptive immune system.
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