|Institution||College of Medicine|
|Department||Microbiology and Immunology|
|Address||500 University Drive Hershey PA 17033|
Professor Microbiology and Immunology
GRADUATE PROGRAM AFFILIATIONS:
Microbiology and Immunology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Integrative Biosciences
Ph.D., University of Dundee, Scotland, UK, 1996
Postdoctoral Training, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, MD, 1996-2001
Antigen Presentation In Induction of an Anti-Viral CD8+ T Cell Response
CD8+ T cells are a major component of the cellular response to viral infection. These cells generally recognize peptides derived from viral proteins in complex with host MHC Class I molecules. The major focus of my laboratory is to elucidate the mechanism by which these peptides are generated in a natural viral infection. Knowledge of the pathways of presentation of these peptides will allow the rational design anti-viral and anti-tumor vaccines allowing generation of CD8+ T cells responses via more natural, and therefore more efficient, pathways.
To this end we are investigating which cells must present antigen in vivo for efficient activation of CD8+ T cells. The localization and timing of peptide presentation, as well as the properties of the antigen-presenting cell are all areas under current investigation in a number of viral systems. Other questions include whether these cells must be infected for efficient generation of peptides recognized by CD8+ T cells, and how the requirements differ between the same antigens encoded in different viruses.
The Effects of Psychological Stress Upon Antigen Presentation and Dendritic Cell Function
In a collaboration with Drs Emmy Truckenmiller and Robert Bonneau we investigate the effects of stress hormones, such as corticosterone (cortisol), upon both antigen presentation and dendritic cell (DC) phenotype and function in vitro and in vivo. Stress is immunosuppressive and the CD8+ T cell response to viral infection is dramatically reduced in stressed individuals. DC are cells that are likely vital for the induction of CD8+ T cell responses, so information about their phenotype under stressed conditions, as well as the efficiency of antigen presentation, will provide significant information for the treatment of many pathologies that are worsened with stress.
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