Why do some people stay healthy most of their life whereas others develop chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis or cancer? Why and how do we react differently to infections and other environmental factors? How may the answers to such questions benefit the patients?
The long-term goal of our research is to provide some answers to these questions. We are particularly interested how T cell responses to environmental challenges are regulated.
T cells need to distinguish between foreign and self-antigens. Antigen-experienced T cells differ from naïve T cells, by responding more quickly than naïve T cells. How does intracellular signaling differ in naïve versus experienced T cells?
Many genes that control T cell activity exist in different variants in the population. What is the significance of these differences in determining how T cells react?
The answers to these questions will help better understand why some of us are more predisposed than others to develop autoimmune diseases or cancer. Such insight is needed for development of improved or new ways to prevent and treat such diseases.