he immune system is a defense mechanism that has evolved in vertebrates to protect them from invading pathogens and cancer. The study of the immune system in the context of host - parasite interactions has been the focus of my studies. Generation of an effective immune response involves two major cell types: lymphocytes and antigen presenting cells. Lymphocytes confer the attributes of specificity, diversity, memory, self/nonself recognition to the immune system. Lymphocytes can be divided into two cell types: B cells which are responsible for antibody production and T cells which elaborate cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that regulate the intensity and duration of the immune response by exerting a variety of effects on lymphocytes and other immune cells. This complex network of cells and cell products have numerous mechanisms yet to be characterized.
I am currently involved in the production of monoclonal antibodies to various proteins of interest in the research of the Biology faculty. Using the chicken model, my recent research has focused on the identification and characterization of various cytokines which potentiate the innate immune responses of poultry that effectively prevent organ invasion by Salmonella. Previous studies have involved the use of a mouse tumor model to evaluate various cytokine treatments for tumor reduction. The goal was to reduce cytokine toxicity which is seen with large doses while effectively reducing tumor growth.
I have also studied the human T cell response to Schistosoma mansoni, an intestinal parasite, by utilizing human T cell clones.