The mammalian immune system is designed to combat infection while maintaining self-tolerance and limiting immune mediated pathology. In order to accomplish these tasks, the cells and tissues of the immune system are precisely organized to ensure the proper development, activation and function of diverse lymphocyte populations. Tissue and microenvironment selective lymphocyte homing is the basis for this organization, which in turn is mediated by lymphocyte expression of specific patterns of surface adhesion and chemoattractant receptors.
We are interested in further exploring this intricate relationship between lymphocyte function and localization, using models of transplantation and autoimmunity to assess the functional properties of various homing receptor-defined lymphocyte populations, and to determine how each of these contributes to the function and regulation of immune responses in specific tissues. In addition, we seek to understand the signals and transcriptional networks that control lymphocyte expression of different homing receptors. This work promises to yield new insights into lymphocyte biology and function, and holds great potential for the therapeutic manipulation of lymphocyte responses in the context of chronic infection, autoimmunity and transplantation.