Immunodominance in CD4 T Cell Responses
Our research seeks to understand the elements in vivo that dictate the selective specificities in CD4 T cells during protective immune responses, the competitive events that shape selective recognition of foreign and pathogenic organisms in vivo. We seek to identify links between the specificity and function of CD4 T cells. A major interest in our laboratory is the role of CD4 T cells in immunity to influenza infection and vaccination, using both animal models and human studies. We have developed the technology to comprehensively evaluate the antigen specificity and the magnitude of the CD4 T cell responses using completely unbiased methodology and have most recently focused on the role and specificity of CD4 T cells in promoting neutralizing antibody responses to influenza infection and vaccination both in human subjects and animal models.
To address these research topics, our lab utilizes many sophisticated tools and approaches, such as novel, recombinant fluorescent reporter viruses, multiparameter flow cytometry, imaging, gene expression and multiple animal models of influenza infection and vaccination. To complement the mechanistic studies we are performing in animal models, we are also assessing cellular responses from human samples. To this end, insights gained from our studies from human vaccine trials aim to dissect correlates of immune protection and reveal possible links between antigen specificity and effector function of CD4 T cells. Because our work is highly interdisciplinary, we currently have exciting intra and inter-center collaborations with virologists and infectious disease specialists, providing a wide range of expertise and clinically relevant, research-focused training opportunities.