September 28, 2015
co-sponsored with the Immunobiology Graduate Program
“Tissue Resident Memory CD8 T Cells: Location and Function”
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Dr. David Masopust is an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He received his B.A in Biology and Spanish from Middlebury College in 1995, and his Ph.D in Immunology from the University of Connecticut Health Center in 2002. Dr. Masopust was recognized by many renowned organizations for research early in his career, receiving the Beckman Foundation Young Investigators Award, American Society of Microbiology ICAAC Young Investigator Award, and NIH Director’s New Innovator Award in 2009, as well as University of Minnesota Medical School Young Investigator Award in 2010. His laboratory studies the relationships among T cell location, function, differentiation and immunological protection, with particular emphasis on mucosal responses and vaccine applications.
Dr. Masopust studies CD8 and CD4 T cell responses to a variety of viral and bacterial infections to help understand the development of immunological protection from re-infection. His lab observes and manipulates pathogen specific T cell responses over time by using MHC tetramers, adoptive transfer of transgenic T cells, fluorescence flow cytometry and sorting, and gene microarry analysis. Upon activation in lymphoid tissue, rare pathogen-specific naïve T cells proliferate, acquire effector functions, disseminate throughout the organism, and contribute to the eradication of pathogens. In situations where antigen is successfully eliminated, most effector T cells die by apoptosis. However, a fraction of effector T cells escape death and differentiate into long-lived memory T cells that contribute to protective immunity. Masopust is currently dedicated to elucidating the developmental cues that govern T cell migration to different anatomical locations, commitment to the memory lineage, and the contribution of memory T cell differentiation state and location to protection from re-infection. Memory T cells that reside at common portals of pathogen entry or infection, especially the intestinal mucosa, are of particular interest. By understanding these issues, Masopust hopes to contribute to the development of better vaccination strategies, and is currently focused on informing development of a protective HIV vaccine.