Laurie H. Glimcher

Harvard University

Election Year: 2002
Primary Section: 43, Immunology and Inflammation
Secondary Section: 41, Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

As an immunologist, I have used biochemical and genetic approaches to elucidate the molecular pathways that regulate CD4 T helper cell development and activation. The complex regulatory pathways governing Thelper1/Thelper2 (TH1/TH2) responses are critical for both the development of protective immunity and for the pathophysiologic immune responses underlying autoimmune, allergic, infectious, and neoplastic disease. This developmental event is regulated by the IL-4 and IFN-gamma cytokines. During the last ten years, I have studied the transcriptional pathways that control this important immune checkpoint to define the genetic bases of both IL-4 and IFN-gamma expression in T cells. My group identified the proto-oncogene c-maf as the transcription factor responsible for TH2-specific IL-4 expression and, subsequently, isolated a second novel protein, NIP45, that together with c-maf and the NFAT family of transcription factors controls IL-4 gene expression and TH2 differentiation. Subsequently, my group discovered the first TH1-specific transcription factor, T-bet, and demonstrated that this single factor is a master-regulator of both IFN-gamma gene expression and the TH1 phenotype. Most recently I have expanded my interest in lineage commitment in lymphocytes to the B cell with the discovery of the transcription factor XBP-1 that controls plasma cell differentiation.

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