Daniel Hawiger, MD, PhD
Saint Louis University (SLU)
Conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) have crucial roles in priming effector T cells that fight infections and tumors but cDCs also have critical tolerogenic functions, extending the maintenance of immune homeostasis and blocking autoimmune responses. The maintenance of immune homeostasis by cDCs requires specific mechanisms that actively adjust T cell functions to promote tolerance while preserving an overall high plasticity of the immune responses. To clarify the mechanisms by which cDCs govern T cell tolerance in the context of autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and also other immune responses, studies in my laboratory are focused on the specialized roles of cDCs as well as the relevant molecular mechanisms induced by such cDCs in T cells. Our work has elucidated the functions of specific immunomodulatory pathways, cell signaling regulators, and transcription factors that establish tolerogenic outcomes of the interactions between T cells and cDCs.