The Eisenbarth Lab

Overview

Our research centers on how the innate branch of the immune system regulates adaptive immunity.We study this in the context of several disease models including allergy/asthma, alloimmunization to transfused red blood cells and the protective immune response generated by vaccines.We are currently focused on the function of a rare but crucial group of immune cells called dendritic cells (DCs). DCs survey tissues for infection/damage and translate this information into signals that regulate the activation of T cells to drive inflammation.In a process that is poorly understood, the emigration of activated DCs from an inflamed tissue is a crucial checkpoint in the generation of a productive T cell-driven adaptive immune response. We recently identified an unexpected role for a molecule that regulates the actin cytoskeleton, Dock8, in dictating whether certain types of DCs can migrate to lymph nodes or within the spleen. By disturbing the movement of certain DCs during the course of an immune response we can block adaptive immunity to a given insult. Beyond DC migration from a tissue, we have further found that the spatial organization of different types of DCs after immunization specifies the type of T cell activated and the particular effector response induced. The lab is currently working on understanding the signals that dictate this unique cellular organization and how that informs T cell fate. Our ultimate goal is to modulate DC movement in order to promote wanted immune responses and conversely block those that are deleterious.

Principal Investigator

Stephanie C Eisenbarth, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Laboratory Medicine, of Immunobiology and of Medicine (Immunology)