Graduate Students and Post Doctoral Fellows in the lab are working on research that is focused on role of integrins in T-cell adhesion and activation. The integrins are a superfamily of cell adhesion receptors that T-cells use to carry out many of their normal functions, including their ability to migrate to sites in the body where they are needed. The Shimizu lab has identified novel signaling intermediates that promote integrin function and T-cell activation, and are currently investigating the role of integrins in controlling the localization of T-cells to specific anatomic sites in the body. Of particular interest is the tumor microenvironment, which is normally immunosuppressive and thus dampens the ability of T-cells to recognize and kill tumor cells. Sophisticated imaging technologies such as two-photon microscopy now make it possible to track the movement and behavior of T-cells in the normal and tumor tissue microenvironments. Currently, Shimizu and colleagues are using this technology to analyze the behavior of cytotoxic T-cells in the tumor microenvironment and the role of integrins and immune checkpoint blockade in controlling T-cell movement and retention in the tumor microenvironment.

View publications here.

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