Delineating the roles of the extreme diversity of immune cells observed in heathy vs. diseased blood and tissues samples is a major challenge. In addition to taking a broad and unbiased perspective, the lab uses T cell antigen-specificity and our ability, based on mass cytometry, to simultaneously profile T cells specific for up to hundreds of different antigens. In identifying relationships between the diverse characteristics of T cells and their antigen-specificity (e.g., different types of tumor-derived antigens vs. cancer-unrelated antigen-specificity), we gain insights about T cell responses in the context of cancer and infectious disease. We believe that that these insights are leading to development of novel biomarkers and/or therapeutic strategies for both cancer and infectious disease.
Building on our experience using mass cytometry, the lab is exploring novel more powerful methods based on single-cell sequencing for rapid analysis of T cells based on their broad range of antigen-specificity.
As single-cell analysis methods improve, the number of parameters that can be measured per cell continues to rise. To better leverage these higher dimensional datasets, in conjunction with other studies and often in collaboration, the lab explores, develops and applies new methods that can facilitate hypothesis generation and testing based on these very rich data.