LABORATORY OF IMMUNOLOGY AND CELLULAR STRESS

Program of Immunology -ICBM- Faculty of Medicine University of Chile

Research

Our immune system has evolved specialized mechanisms to coordinate immunity to noxious threats while maintaining host homeostasis. A paradigm of immunology refers to the concept of ‘pattern recognition’, where immune cells express receptors that recognize signatures present in foreign stimuli or abnormal self for coordination of long-lasting immunity. Nevertheless, emerging evidence indicates that the immune system does not only decode information through pattern recognition-associated mechanisms, but is also able to sense alterations in cellular homeostasis that emerge by disruption of normal physiology (such as accumulation of misfolded proteins, hypoxia, or nutrient deprivation). The cellular mechanisms involved in the recognition of a stressor, adaptation, and restoration of the system to the homeostatic state are collectively known as ‘cellular stress responses’, and their contribution to the initiation of immunity remains to be fully elucidated.

Our laboratory focuses on understanding how innate immune cells interpret signs of cellular stress and what signaling events downstream of stress responses are relevant for the initiation of immunity. Our research group aims to understand how cellular stress regulates the initiation of immunity. A major focus of our research is centered around the unfolded protein response, the main intracellular mechanism responsible to decode endoplasmic reticulum stress, in myeloid cells. To this end, we use relevant models of cancer and chronic inflammation and also translate some of these principles to human cells. Understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which cellular stress contributes to shape an immune response may have huge potential for treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases and for developing new vaccines.

Projects

  • Regulation of dendritic cell function by the unfolded protein response (UPR)
  • ER stress in the control of tolerance to infection
  • Control of myeloid cell homeostasis by the UPR in the tumor microenvironment
  • Cellular stress responses as regulators of the function of antigen presenting cells in mice and human

Funding

Support

Laboratorio de Inmunología y Estrés Celular
Immunology Program
Institute of Biomedical Sciences (ICBM)
Faculty of Medicine
University of Chile

Avenida Independencia 1027
Block I, 3rd Floor
Post code 8380453
Santiago, Chile
Phone number: +56229789598