Ad-hoc: Signals that control innate immune mechanisms in Type 2 immunity

Friday 22 September 2017, 1.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Lauren Webb, Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

The complexity of helminth macroparasites is reflected in the intricate network of host cell types that participate in the Type 2 immune response needed to battle these organisms. In this context, adaptive T helper 2 cells have been the focus of research for years, but recent work has demonstrated that the innate immune system plays an essential role in orchestrating adaptive Type 2 mechanisms and in instigating anti-helminth responses directly. Some innate immune cells that promote Type 2 immunity are relatively abundant, such as macrophages and eosinophils. However, we now appreciate that more rare cell types make significant contributions to these responses. These cells are found at low frequency but they are specialized to their roles. My work focuses on dissecting the signals that control the function of rare innate immune cells, informing our understanding of how these cells facilitate anti-helminth responses. To this end, I have focused my research on the signals that potentiate the function of dendritic cells - the directors of the adaptive response, and basophils, an innate effector of Type 2 immunity. This work has identified novel signaling pathways that had not previously been linked to the function of these cells in Type 2 immunity and has helped to further elucidate how these cells contribute to the inflammatory milieu during helminth infection. With a greater understanding of the signals that control Type 2 immune mechanisms, our hope to harness Type 2 immunity for therapeutic use comes a step closer.   

The host for this seminar is James Hewitson 

Location: Q/014