Research Summary

My laboratory investigates the influence of the microenvironment on innate-adaptive immune interactions. Antigen presenting cells (APCs) such as dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages play a key role in shaping the development of a subsequent adaptive immune response. While previously thought to only be immunogenic in nature, it has recently been shown that regulatory APCs play an important role in health and disease. Previous work in my lab has demonstrated that estriol, an estrogen of pregnancy, generates DCs with regulatory capabilities. My lab currently explores the generation, phenotype and function of these DCs and contrast these regulatory DCs to other regulatory and immunogenic DCs. Understanding the mechanisms which drive the development of regulatory and immunogenic DCs has potential implications in the development of preventatives (e.g. vaccines) and therapeutics in a wide array of infectious and inflammatory diseases.