Molecular and cellular mechanisms of memory cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) induction
A memory lymphocyte population is critical for protection against pathogen challenge, and establishment of a functional memory population of Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTL) is an important goal of vaccination. The overall aim of our research is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms that result in generation of functional memory CTL after vaccination. We are focusing on the roles of inflammatory cytokines such as IL-12 and type I interferon, including their interactions with other signal pathways in CTL activation during infections and vaccination. Answers to these questions will be contributing to the development of new strategies for vaccine development.
CTL activation under special health conditions
Obesity and diabetes have become a serious health issue nationally and internationally. As CTLs live in an environment together with all other cells, the altered physiological conditions potentially influence the function of CTLs. We are interested in how CTLs are activated in these special health conditions. Knowledge from these studies will provide tools for better vaccine design and manipulation of CTLs in autoimmune situation (such as type 1 diabetes).
Interaction between nutrition and immune system
Unbalanced nutrition has been shown to affect susceptibility to diseases in both human and animals. However, the fundamental mechanisms are just starting to be uncovered. We are interested in the effects of specific nutrients, such as certain amino acids, on immunity, particularly memory CTL generation. Knowledge from this direction will help to improve vaccine efficacy through optimal nutrition.