Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
BS – University of Waterloo, 2008
Abnormalities in CD4 T cell differentiation and function lead to the onset of various immunological diseases such as allergy, autoimmunity and cancer. Studies in Dr. Susan Winandy’s lab have highlighted the role of Ikaros as an important transcriptional regulator of CD4 T cell development and function. My current research uses various experimental approaches to investigate how Ikaros mechanistically carries out this role. It could be through direct or indirect regulation of other factors that also mediate processes of CD4 T cell proliferation, survival, homeostasis and differentiation into other subsets. Foxo1, a member of the forkhead family of transcription factors, has been known to regulate genes involved in such processes. In addition, Foxo1-deficient T cells exhibit similar phenotypic defects as seen in Ikaros-deficient T cells. I am therefore interested in investigating whether or not Ikaros is a critical regulator of Foxo1. My studies are aimed at defining this novel Ikaros/Foxo1 axis in CD4 T cells and determining how it regulates CD4 T cell differentiation and function for purposes of carrying out an effective immune response.