Naresha Saligrama, PhD

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

The Saligrama lab is dedicated to understanding the adaptive immune responses in health and neurological disorders. Over the last few years it is becoming more and more evident that inflammation and adaptive immunity play a role in normal aging and neurological disorders. T cells are major component of the adaptive immune system and they recognize a diverse repertoire of antigens through T-cell receptors (TCRs). Major bottleneck in understanding T cell responses in health and disease is the diversity of TCRs and the vast variety of antigens that they can encounter. To circumvent these, we have taken a sequence-based approach to T cell responses and developed a robust single T cell TCR sequencing and phenotyping method and a bioinformatic analysis pipeline, which can group TCR sequences into clusters sharing specificity. Further, we have developed unbiased highthrouhput technologies to determine antigen specificity of TCRs. This is in contrast to traditional candidate approaches which involved a priori knowledge of the relevant antigens. By employing these technologies, we are exploring T cell responses at a “systems level” in varied neuroinflammatory, neurodegenerative, and neuropsychiatric disorders.