Areas of Research

Immune Defense

Immune defense is the coordinated, complicated interplay of cellular mechanisms and antibodies to fight disease-causing agents, including viruses, bacteria, and other types of infection.

A prime example of our research in immune defense is an aggressive study of the role and specificity of a key element in our adaptive immune system: how killer T cells eliminate infectious cells.

Significant progress has occurred in understanding how a vaccine based on a protein derived from a common bacterium may prompt a potent T cell defense against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This work will have substantial impact in a more general understanding of how T cells can be marshaled to fight viruses and tumors.

Investigators have identified the following scientific challenges in this area of concentration:

  • Understanding the regulation of T cell response in chronic infections
  • Understanding how to regulate and manipulate killer T cells at the molecular level
  • Discovering the role of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in immune defense
  • Methods for inducing T cells specific for cancer and for viruses

Related News and Announcements

Hidde Ploegh Joins PCMM

Image: Hidde Ploegh Joins PCMM

The Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine (PCMM) would like to welcome Dr. Hidde Ploegh who has joined the Department of Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital as of December… Read Full Article »

Modulation of Scramblase: a novel paradigm to fight chronic infection and cancer

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T lymphocytes, or T-cells, are critical sentinels that eliminate viruses and tumors. However, their strength to find and destroy their diseased targets often declines during… Read Full Article »

Keeping up with HIV mutations: Building a nimble vaccine test system

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How our neutrophils might sabotage wound healing in diabetes

Image: How our neutrophils might sabotage wound healing in diabetes

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