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Usherwood Microbiology and Immunology Lab


Generation and maintenance of T cell memory, immune therapies

The Usherwood lab has a long-standing interest in T cell immunity to viruses, particularly persistent virus infections. The large majority of the human population is infected by multiple persistent viruses. In some cases (HIV, Hepatitis C) this results in disease in all or a large proportion of those infected. However in many cases infection is clinically silent, and the infected individual suffers no adverse effects. In fact there is some evidence suggesting persistent infection may be beneficial in aiding the immune response repel other infections. During viral persistence there is a dynamic equilibrium between the virus and the immune response. One of our missions is to understand this interplay, and to determine the effect that the persistent infection has upon responding T cells, and conversely how the T cell response keeps the infection under control for very long periods of time. An important long-term goal of the laboratory is to develop immunotherapies that can restore immune surveillance in immune suppressed patients who suffer disease due to the loss of immune control of persistent infection. These immunotherapies could potentially also be useful in other conditions such as enhancing immune surveillance against tumor metastasis.

We use predominantly one persistent and one acute virus infection models in the lab:

Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68, γHV-68)



Organisms and Viruses

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Last updated: 2013-04-03T22:19:45.170-04:00

Copyright © 2016 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College
The eagle-i Consortium is supported by NIH Grant #5U24RR029825-02 / Copyright 2016