"A discovery is like falling in love and reaching the top of a mountain after a hard climb all in one... the revelation of a face of nature that no one has seen before and that often turns out to be more subtle and wonderful than anyone had imagined." Max F. Perutz
Our research focus: We aim to dissect the epigenetic and transcriptional mechanisms that shape T-cell lineage specification during development in the thymus as well as in the periphery upon antigen (microbial, viral) encounter. We are studying epigenetic regulators that fine-tune gene expression and define T-cell lineage fate.
Our approach: We are using genetically modified mice to interrogate the function of these molecules specifically in T-cells. Aberrant expression of these factors can impact T-cell differentiation and function and ultimately result in inflammation, autoimmunity or malignant transformation (T-cell leukemias and lymphomas).To answer our questions we are using gene-deficient mouse models, primary cell culture, multiparameter Flow Cytometry, molecular biology assays, and next-generation sequencing technologies to elucidate the regulatory information in cells of interest (transcriptome, epigenome, transcription factor occupancy).
Our goal: Understanding the differences between physiological versus pathological T-cell differentiation and immune response is fundamental in order to manipulate T-cells to design better, more efficient therapies while minimizing side effects. Thus, our research is highly translational and our ultimate goal is to combat human disease.