Vinay S Mahajan
I am a fourth year doctoral student at the Biological Engineering Division, MIT and I work on T cell immunology in the labs of Darrell Irvine and Jianzhu Chen.
T cell responses to self-peptides in the periphery:
Positive selection of T cells in the thymus based on low affinity interactions with self-peptides in the thymus has been the subject of intense study in the past decade. However, it is being increasingly realised that self-peptides play important roles in regulating the behaviour of mature T cells in the periphery. For instance, self-peptides in the periphery are critical for naive T cell homeostasis and in the modulation of T cell signalling in the immunological synapse. The molecular mechanisms of self-peptide signalling are yet to clearly defined. I aim to use a combination of live T cell and dendritic cell imaging in vitro and in vivo mouse experiments to explore this question. I am especially interested in studying how naive, memory and effector T cells respond to self-peptides in the periphery in various contexts, i.e presence and absence of cognate antigen. My research will help in gaining a molecular understanding of T cell homeostasis in the periphery and peripheral tolerance.