T cell development, regulation, and plasticity,
and their role in generating protective immunity (in early life).
On this website, you can find news & updates about my current research projects (incl. talks, publications, etc.), the translation of these findings to the public, and how I engage in improving my skill set and those of others. In addition, you can find all my prior research projects, publications, conference talks, positions, and more.
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The current concept of a relatively homogeneous and quiescent naïve T cell population is in desperate need of revision (ref.), as recent insights have shown great diversity in both phenotype and function within the naïve T cell compartment. This new understanding has a major impact on current thinking and experimentation, including but not limited to homeostasis, reconstitution, immunotherapy, and aging, in the field of naïve T cell immunology.
How this heterogeneity of naive T cells contributes to providing protective immunity towards infection, autoreactivity, and malignancy is unknown. In the cases of infection and autoimmune disease, the generation of (auto-) antibodies by B cells is of great importance. How T cell-dependent B cell activation is altered and how it can be utilized as therapeutic targets in the light of new-found naive T cell heterogeneity is to be determined.
My research addresses conceptual and mechanistic immunological questions in (early life) T cell immunology with a strong translational aspect, utilizing murine models and studying human health and disease. More details about my research can be found here.
Current research projects:
- How, where, and when do B cells lose tolerance and acquire different self-reactivities (epitope spreading)?
- Does the Germinal Center (GC) response differ between the different initiators?
- How does successful immune therapy with a microbiome-derived peptide alter the T cell landscape in rheumatoid arthritis patients?
- How is naive T cell development, regulation, and plasticity altered in health, aging and chronic inflammation?
Utilizing state of the art techniques:
Confocal microscopy, multi-photon intravital microscopy, single-cell RNA sequencing (10X), Flow Cytometry, and Cell sorting, with (customized) functional assays, among others.
Confocal image of a whole murine spleen that highlights the Germinal Center (blue, GL7) within a follicle characterized by marginal zone macrophages (green, CD169), extra-follicular located plasma cells (white, CD138).
10X zoom, stitched image (~100 tiles)
2-photon microscopy image of 1 section through a lymph node.
Left: a portion of cells in the Germinal Center got a different color at the start of the experiment. Colors are by endogenous fluorescence via Confetti reporter
Right: 2 germinal centers (red & green) seen at a later time-point (~several days-weeks). Similar color means ‘clonal expansion’ of those cells.