Diane Mathis, Ph.D.
Our lab works in the broad fields of T cell differentiation and tolerance/autoimmunity, translating mechanistic studies on mouse models to normal and diseased humans. Studies on T cell differentiation focus on maturation and selection of the T cell repertoire in the thymus, and on cellular and molecular influences on the “flavor” of T cell responses in the periphery. Studies on autoimmunity explore the immunological mechanisms of type-1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and APECED, in particular central and peripheral mechanisms of T cell tolerance. Major questions tackled are what initiates these diseases, how is their progression regulated, what are the final effector mechanisms, and how do genetic and environmental factors impact on disease unfolding. Current foci include: the Aire transcriptional regulatory molecule, Foxp3-expressing Treg cells, and gut microbiota. The application of computational and bioinformatic strategies to these and other issues is one of the lab’s particular strengths. Lastly, we have been engaged in a long-term collaborative effort to develop and apply novel whole-mouse and intravital imaging strategies to immunological problems, especially as concerns mechanisms of autoimmunity.