We are actively engaged in defining the signals that enable effector T cells to ‘find’ areas of infection and damage within inflamed tissues. We utilize intravital multiphoton microscopy and optogenetic tools to visualize and manipulate effector CD4+ T cells in situ. These approaches have revealed extrinsic control of effector CD4+ T cell movement; with roles for chemokines in regulating accumulation and activation at inflamed sites, and roles for T cell integrins in promoting interactions with the extracellular matrix for guided movement. Intrinsic programming of effector CD4+ T cell subsets sets distinct thresholds for sensitivity to these extrinsic cues. By identifying key parameters for T cell effector activity in the inflamed dermis we aim to inform new inflammation-specific therapies.
Title: Professor, Chair
Department: Microbiology & Immunology