Dendritic cells (DCs) are key immune sentinels that initiate and modulate immunity and tolerance. Manipulation of DCs holds promise as a potent immunotherapy tool for many diseases with an immune component, including infectious diseases, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, and cancer. We are investigating the role of DCs as orchestrators of the immune response, with the aim of developing novel immunotherapy strategies.
We are analyzing the mechanisms through which DCs and macrophages sense danger signals released by pathogens or damaged tissues, as well as their functional effects. We are particularly interested in understanding the specific functions and plasticity of DC subsets. Our research with models of infection, tissue damage, and cancer has the potential to contribute to novel strategies in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. We are currently investigating the role of DC subsets in the generation of different types of effector CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses. Our analysis of the role of DCs in the generation of circulating and resident CD8+ T cell memory has potential to increase vaccine efficacy.
Receptors of the C-type lectin family are important orchestrators of the sensing of tissue damage and infection. We are analyzing the modulation of signals downstream of C-type lectin receptors, with the aim of defining the impact of these signals on the initiation and modulation of immunity and inflammation. We are also characterizing the effects of sensing non-self and damaged-self on the metabolism of myeloid cells, with particular emphasis on mitochondrial adaptations to innate sensing. We believe that this research has potential for the development of new vaccines and immunotherapy strategies. Our ultimate goal is to achieve targeted manipulation of DCs for the control of immunity and tolerance.