University of Minnesota
MICaB Graduate Program
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Current Students

Lucy Sjaastad

Thesis Advisor:

Year entered: 2017

Degrees received:
B.A., University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN, 2013


Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are critical for maintaining immune homeostasis and preventing autoimmunity.  One function of these cells is to quell the pathogen-directed immune response following clearance of an infectious pathogen in order to prevent unnecessary tissue damage.  The specificity of the Tregs that mediate suppression in this context is unknown.  Type I interferon and interferon stimulated genes are produced in response to infection and function to directly inhibit pathogen activity and recruit a local adaptive immune response.  It has been shown previously that tissue stem cells have intrinsic expression of many ISGs to protect them from virus infection.  We hypothesize that certain thymus-derived Tregs possess TCR specificity for ISGs that enable them to respond to and subdue the effector response to pathogen infection.  Additionally, we propose that this Treg population would be of critical importance to protecting and preserving tissue stem cells with basal ISG expression.