Our immune system collaborates with environment- and diet-dependent commensals to establish and maintain homeostasis, and to defend against pathogenic threats (e.g., viruses, bacteria, fungi). We are interested in understanding the nature and impact of these interactions on host tissues, as well as potential avenues to modulate them for therapeutic or prophylactic ends.
Illustrative questions and areas of study include:
- How do microbial composition and byproducts influence cellular differentiation and phenotypic diversity within the gut?
- How do pathogens (e.g. HIV and TB) impact target cell phenotypes and overall tissue function in the context of acute and systemic infection?
- To what degree can therapeutic intervention (e.g. cART for HIV-1) re-establish homeostatic setpoint (i.e. composition and function)?
We have several projects and collaborations (local and international) actively exploring these and related questions in vaccine design that have both inspired, and take advantage of, some of our unique tools to profile thousands of single cells from limited clinical samples anywhere in the world, and develop clinically relevant hypotheses.