Date: May 23, 2015 Time: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm Location: Bakst Auditorium Program
A number of researchers at BU/BMC are interested in how the immune system establishes control of pathogens. Work centers on vaccine development, adjuvant activity and the maturation of protective immunoglobulin responses.
Inappropriate generation and defective control of autoreactive lymphocyte responses underlie many autoimmune diseases. Current research aims to understand the basic cellular mechanisms leading to autoimmune destruction of target tissues and to develop therapeutic strategies to restore proper regulation of the immune response. Autoimmune diseases being studied include type 1 diabetes, uveitis, lupus and scleroderma.
Immune Architecture & Function
The efficiency of the immune system is largely due to the exquisite anatomical specialization of reticular and vascular elements. How these components are maintained and organized is being studied both as a component of the basic immune response and as a tool to help guide analysis of other pathological settings such as scleroderma. Research is interwoven with questions in viral infection, organ specific autoimmunity and vaccine delivery.
Immunometabolism includes two major branches: fuel utilization in an immune response, and the immune system as a major source of chronic inflammation in obesity and autoimmune-associated atherosclerosis. Studies on circulating and tissue-associated immune system cells in humans and mice coupled with analysis of energy sources of immune cells from diseased individuals are absolutely critical to leverage our understanding of these two overlapping branches into effective immunomodulation in specific clinical settings.
After prolonged exposure to stimulatory signals (i.e. antigens, inflammatory cytokines) many immune cell subsets, including T, NK, and iNKT cells, lose the capacity to exert some or all effector functions upon re-stimulation. This phenomenon has negative consequences for protection against viruses and cancer, but may be exploitable to treat autoimmune diseases. With the ultimate goal of effectively manipulating immune exhaustion in the clinical setting, research at BU/BMC seeks to elucidate the complexity and stages of immune exhaustion using blood cells and tissue samples from patients with either oral cancer or type 1 diabetes.