Adaptation of Resident Memory CD8 T Lymphocytes in the Reproductive Mucosa
Our laboratory seeks to understand how T cells integrate diverse local microbial and environmental stimuli at mucosal sites to shape distinct, and dynamic immune processes in health and disease. T cells are a key component of host defense against pathogenic infection in barrier mucosal surfaces, which are common sites of microbial entry. Often these potent, anti-pathogenic inflammatory responses need to be tightly regulated to maintain barrier integrity and vital physiologic functions. The mucosal immune system in the female reproductive tract (FRT) has evolved to mount a robust anti-pathogen defense while maintaining tolerance towards an immunologically foreign fetus. Thus, the FRT provides a unique model system to study T cell adaptation to diverse environmental inputs. Our research program is aimed to develop a more complete understanding of the fundamental biology of T cells in the reproductive mucosae. Further, we seek to apply this knowledge to informing improved vaccination strategies, develop novel therapies against infection and malignancy and to advance maternal-fetal health.