T cells play a critical role in the immune system, fighting both infections and cancers. When a T cell first recognizes a pathogen, it is stimulated to multiply, and its daughter cells differentiate into specialized cell types. These differentiated cells include effector cells that fight the current infection and memory cells that defend against future reinfection. The ability to generate both of these responses is critical for a healthy immune system.
Differentiation outcomes are not uniform, but rather can differ in cell number and the balance of specialized cell types that differentiate. We are interested in the factors that influence differentiation outcomes, including the initial encounter with a pathogen and the interactions that T cells have with other cells and their environment as they move within lymphoid and non-lymphoid organs. A better understanding of these factors can ultimately inform the design of therapeutics that aim to achieve specific types of T cell responses, including vaccines and cancer immunotherapeutics.
Our work combines experimental models of infection with single-cell genomics and computational biology to investigate how pathogens and the immunological environment shape T cell responses.
We always welcome informal enquiries about opportunities within the lab.