Explore This Lab


T lymphocytes are part of the adaptive immune system. They are powerful players in the defense against infection and can be effective against tumors, but they are also involved in autoimmune responses, leading to diseases such as diabetes, arthritis or multiple sclerosis.

T cell responses arise from clonal expansion of a small number of naïve precursors through antigenic priming by dendritic cells in secondary lymphoid organs, such as lymph nodes and the spleen. Once these naïve T cells have differentiated to effector T cells, they migrate to the blood, from where they are recruited to peripheral tissues to combat disease.

To prevent attacks on healthy tissues, the execution of T cell effector functions is tightly linked to the recognition of cognate antigen. In addition, immune responses are regulated through diverse inhibitory and stimulatory signals that T cells encounter in peripheral tissues.

The Mempel's Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital is seeking to understand how the function of T cells is regulated through their interaction with other cells, structural tissue components and soluble mediators that they encounter in tissues. Their main approach to this end is direct dynamic in vivo visualization of immune processes at cellular and subcellular resolution in living mice, using multiphoton intravital microscopy.

Research Projects

  • Mechanisms of Cytotoxic T Cell-mediated Tumor Rejection
  • Local Regulation of T Effector Cell Function by T Regulatory Cells
  • Interplay of T Regulatory Cells and Tumor-associated Myeloid Cells
  • Early Events of Viral Spread in a Humanized Mouse Model of HIV Infection

Collaborative projects:

  • Role of IP-10 Chemokine in T Cell Migration (with Luster Lab)
  • Function of Microglia in Alzheimer’s Disease (with El Khoury Lab)
  • Self-renewal of Cancer Stem Cells (with Langenau Lab)

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Thorsten Mempel, MD, PhD

Thorsten R. Mempel, MD, PhD
Principal Investigator, Center for Immunoloy and Inflammatory Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Director, CIID, Massachusetts General Hospital
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Research Fellows:
Lukas Altenburger, PhD
Taylor Chrisikos, PhD
Mohsen Maleh Mir, PhD
Kazuhiro Taguchi, MD, PhD

Research Assistant:
Yifang (Ivana) Shui

Ross Warner

Zihan (Vicky) Jiao
Jiarui Li


Click here to view a list of publications from this investigator.