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Research at Mass General
Principal Investigator, Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Lymphocyte recirculation is a dynamic and tightly regulated process necessary for delivery of effective immune responses. While many memory T cells circulate through blood, a subset of memory T cells persists long-term within peripheral tissues. Localization of T cells within peripheral tissues, such as skin, provides rapid defense against invading pathogens. However, in some settings the local persistence of T cells may contribute to local, recurring autoimmune diseases.
We are currently using mouse models of infection (herpes simplex virus) and autoimmunity (vitiligo) to study the interstitial migration, differentiation, persistence and response of memory T cells within the skin. We anticipate that these studies will define the contributions of cellular receptors and environmental factors to tissue-resident memory T cell differentiation and response. Defining the mechanisms that control the accumulation and response of T cells within peripheral tissues may inform vaccine development, as well as identify novel targets to eliminate pathogenic T cells from peripheral tissues for treatment of autoimmune diseases.
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