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Gamma Delta (γδ) T Cells

We are broadly interested in how gamma delta T cells recognize antigens and how this recognition process regulates their activity in various tissues in which they reside.

We are currently focused on gamma delta T cells that recognize lipids in the context of CD1 molecules (Vdelta1 T cells) and those that respond to the presence of small pyrophosphate containing molecules called phosphoantigens. The latter population is of particular interest as there does not appear to be involvement of MHC antigen presentation. If this is so, this population potentially represents the only T cell population that does not require MHC molecules for detection of antigen.

MR1 Restricted T Cells

We are interested in the T cell population that is restricted to recognizing antigens in the context of the MR1 (MHC-Related protein 1) molecule. MR1, like other MHC-like proteins, has a structure well suited for presentation of antigens, although MR1’s specific structure has evolved to present small, metabolite-like molecules unlike the lipids or peptides that are presented by CD1 molecules and classical MHCs, respectively.

Our main questions for this area of research are:

  • What is the spectrum of antigens that can be presented by MR1 to T cells?
  • Do these come from endogenous sources or are they of microbial origin, as originally defined for this protein?
  • For the T cells that recognize MR1, how does antigen dictate T cell reactivity?
  • Do these T cells function for microbial detection or are they also involved in host homeostasis?
  • Do they have a role in cancer surveillance, potentially through detection of metabolic dysregulation?

Other Nonclassical MHCs

  • We are interested in understanding the antigen recognition requirements of T cells that respond to the human CD1 molecule CD1c. CD1c is known to present microbial lipids (i.e MPM and PM from M. tuberculosis), hence understanding the reactivity of these cells to these antigens has potential for vaccination applications.

    CD1c Restricted Alpha Beta (αβ) T Cells
  • There are many “orphan” MHC or MHC-like molecules in the human genome, many of which have as yet unknown function. We are interested in studying these molecules structurally and functionally to understand their role in host homeostasis, disease and reproduction.

    Nonclassical MHC Antigen Presentation


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
929 E. 57th Street 
Chicago, IL 60637 


Lab Phone: 773-834-0660
Office Phone: 773-834-9816
Department Fax: 773-702-0439