Emory University School of Medicine
During pathogenic challenge immune cells dramatically reprogram their expressed genes and differentiate into cell types that clear infections and provide long lasting protection from future encounters. I study the epigenetic and genetic processes that regulate the molecular programming of immune cells and provide mechanisms to maintain new cell fates. I use a combination of traditional genetics, molecular and cellular biology, and sophisticated next-gen sequencing assays to study the dynamic epigenetic processes that regulate immune system function. Currently, my projects use mouse models to understand how B cells differentiate into antibody secreting plasma cells following both T cell independent and dependent stimuli. These mouse projects are coupled to human autoimmunity studies aiming to identify epigenetic factors that contribute to autoimmune diseases, such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). Overall my goal is to identify biomarkers of normal and diseased immune cell differentiation for vaccine and therapeutic purposes.
Epigenetic and Genetic controls of the Functional Immune System