D endritic cells are the sentinels of the immune system. They patrol our tissues looking for signs of microbial infection and injury. As soon as they sense either, they gather up a sampling of the proteins in that locality and move to the nearest lymph nodes. Here they interact with and help to activate the few antigen-specific T cells which can help with the challenge they just detected in the tissue. This transfer of information now sets in motion the full force of the adaptive immune response. In this regard – as a sort of bridge between the innate and adaptive systems of immunity – they have to carry as much information as possible from the tissue sites to the T cell. Understanding the molecular signals that encode such information and the way in which T cells decode it, is an active interest in our lab.


The first project in this area is a longstanding collaboration with Dr. Kaveh Abdi (NIAID, NIH) examining the biology of the p40 subunit of the Dendritic cell cytokine IL-12.