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.

My 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. One focus of our research is the regulation of protein homeostasis via the unfolded protein response as a central hub of immune responses, using relevant immune scenarios including cancer, infection models and translation to human physiology. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the regulation of immunity by homeostatic perturbations will allow to place the cellular stress signals within the hierarchy of immune-modulating signatures and identify key regulatory nodes that establish the cross-talk between innate immune and cellular stress programs.

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