Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory, demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system.  T cells, in particular CD8+ T cells, are highly enriched and clonally expanded within MS lesions, suggesting a critical, but still unknown role in MS immunopathology.  Deciphering the antigenic targets and the functions of disease-relevant T cells is therefore critical not only to understanding the immune mechanisms of MS, but may also have significant clinical implications.  

As collaborators in the EPIC and ORIGINS studies in the Division of Neuroimmunology and Glial Biology, we use human blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from patients to study the role of T cells in MS.  Our lab employs a range of techniques, including human T cell assays, flow cytometry, T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing, single cell sequencing, TCR expression by CRISPR/Cas9, antigen discovery, and mouse models to address these questions.  

The lab is located in the Weill Institute for Neurosciences on the UCSF Mission Bay Campus.  We closely collaborate with a number of immunology and neuroscience labs and are a short walk from the Sandler Neurosciences Center, Gladstone Institutes, and Center for Advanced Technology.   

Our major research goals:

  • Use next generation sequencing to identify disease-relevant T cells through their T cell receptor usage
  • Probe the antigen specificity of clonally expanded T cells by targeted and unbiased antigen discovery
  • Develop humanized animal models and in vitro human T cell-CNS cell systems to probe the functions of T cells in MS