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Research interests

Our goal is to better understand the fundamental processes that interfere with and regulate the regeneration of naive CD4+ T cells in human lymphocytopenia to improve their recovery and increase the effectiveness of immunotherapy. Our researchers use their clinical expertise to develop mouse models that recreate human conditions.

Our unit has two main research projects: the biology and therapy of cell depletion and the immunobiology and immunotherapy of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD).

Biology and therapy of cell depletion

The specific objectives of Project 1 are as follows:

  1. Identify how a high level of IL-7 observed in lymphocytopenia can impair the ability of antigen-presenting cells (APC) to support the HPE of CD4-naive cells.
  2. Identify the differential requirements of HPE of non-regulatory CD4+CD25- T cells versus regulatory CD4+CD25+ T cells, with an emphasis on the role of IL-7 from APC in these two populations.
  3. Identify how IL-7 therapy can lead to the expansion of naive CD4 T cells.

Immunobiology and immunotherapy of graft-versus-host disease

The translation-to-clinic aspect of our work focuses on transplant patients. The specific goals of Project 2 are therefore to understand the immunobiology of allogeneic transplants and the effect of GVHD on lymphocyte regeneration and homeostasis:

  1. Identify how GVHD affects the ability of IL-7Rα+ DCs to support CD4 HPE.
  2. Improve immune reconstitution during GVHD.

Our goal is to help develop IL-7 as a more effective immune system stimulant compared to IL-2 and to find a role for this cytokine in cancer immunotherapy in both lymphopenic hosts and hosts with normal T-cell levels.