Welcome to our visiting scientist: Professor Joost Van Meerwijk
Professor Joost Van Meerwijk from INSERM, Toulouse is undertaking a one year sabbatical at the Department of Biochemistry. He is working on a collaborative SNF and Fondation de recherche en Biochimie funded project with Dr. Pascal Schneider investigating the processes of T cell-development and selection in the thymus and the development of autoimmune pathology.
The laboratory of our visiting scientist Professor Joost van Meerwijk has previously described that immunosuppressive « regulatory T cells » (Treg) can, upon activation in peripheral tissues, migrate back to the thymus, the organ where they originally developed. Once back in the thymus, these « recirculating » Treg then inhibit the development of other Treg. Given the very wide array of effector mechanisms that Treg use to perform their immunosuppressive function, it appears likely that the activity of recirculating Treg has other consequences on T-cell development in the thymus. This possibility is supported by the observation of the visiting scientist’s laboratory that, in mice genetically predisposed to autoimmune disease, the process of Treg-recirculation is perturbed. To identify other consequences of Treg-recirculation, the collaborative project with Dr. Pascal Schneider from the Department of Biochemistry consists in generating genetically altered mice in which the recirculating Treg undergo apoptosis at the moment they enter the thymus. Once these mice will have been generated, the processes of T cell-development and selection in the thymus as well as of development of autoimmune pathology will be thoroughly investigated.
par Slavica Masina