Ciriaco A. Piccirillo
ACCEPTING PhD STUDENTS AND POSTDOC FELLOWS
- Canada Research Chair in Regulatory Lymphocytes of the Immune System
- Member of the Center for the Study of Host Resistance
Immunoregulation of autoimmune and infectious diseases. My research program as Canada Research Chair in Regulatory lymphocytes of the Immune System focuses on the immune regulation of autoimmune and infectious diseases mediated by naturally-occurring CD4+ regulatory T cells (nTreg), a unique population of cells with potent immunosuppressive functions in vitro an in vivo. nTreg cells constitute 1-10% of total CD4+ T cells from thymus, peripheral blood and lymphoid tissues in mice and humans. Functional abrogation of these cells in the host results in the onset of multi-organ-specific autoimmune diseases, and increases immunity to tumors, grafts, and various pathogens. Thus, nTreg cells play a central role in dampening peripheral immune responses, and contribute to the establishment of tolerance by an as-of-yet undefined mechanism.
My laboratory makes use of cutting-edge experimental strategies to characterize the relative contribution of nTreg cells as a determining factor in establishing resistance or susceptibility to autoimmune and infectious diseases. We try to characterize the functional dynamics of nTreg cell activity in human autoimmune diseases (type 1 diabetes) as well as in animal models of autoimmunity (type 1 diabetes), tumors (spontaneous breast cancer), infections (malaria), and mucosal immunity (inflammatory bowel disease). My research program makes use of standard and state-of-the-art molecular, proteomic, biochemical, cellular and imaging approaches to characterize the behavior of nTreg cells in health and disease.