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Department of Medicine
University of Minnesota, 1989, M.D.
Immunologic Tolerance, autoimmunity, mucosal immunopathology.
Basic Immunology texts teach that the central and peripheral tolerance mechanisms ensure that self-reactive T cells are purged from the T cell repertoire. However, it is clear that this view is overly simplistic. Interactions of T cells with self-ligands are critical for their peripheral homeostasis and reactivity toward foreign antigens. Furthermore, suppressor T cells, e.g., CD25+CD4 T cells, appear to defy negative selection and be specific for self-antigens. In addition, the very notion of “self” is somewhat difficult to define if one considers continuous exposure of the immune system to enteric and skin flora. We are probing these questions in the laboratory by dissecting the behavior of T cell directly in vivo. The dominant themes in the laboratory include:
Although most of our work deals with systems involving model nominal antigens, we are very interested in autoimmunity. We are actively studying models of inflammatory bowel disease and have recently developed a novel murine model of atopic dermatitis.