Graduate Students and Post Doctoral Fellows in the the Vezys lab study CD8 and CD4 T cell responses in autoimmunity and chronic infections. Specifically, the laboratory is examining how persistent interaction with cognate antigen impacts T cell selection, differentiation and survival. They observe and manipulate the dynamics of T cell responses specific for chronic viral infections or host derived self-proteins using MHC tetramers, adoptive transfer of transgenic T cells and fluorescence flow cytometry. They are currently interested in understanding what maintains the population of memory T cells specific for persistent pathogens, such as polyoma and lymphocytic choriomeningitis viruses. In addition, the lab is interested in elucidating how tolerance is induced and maintained to intestinal protein, as breakdown of this can lead to diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. By understanding these processes, we can learn how to manipulate the immune system for eradication of persistent infections, as well as interfering with the development and progression of autoimmunity.
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Emily Thompson, Ph.D