Hilde CheroutreDevelopmental Immunology Department, La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology (LIAI), La Jolla, CA, USA F1000 Faculty Member (since 27 January 2010)
Division Head and Professor
Dr Cheroutre joined LIAI in 1998 and is a Member in the Division of Developmental Immunology.
EDUCATION AND TRAINING:
Dr Cheroutre received her Licentiate in Sciences from the State University of Ghent in Belgium in 1978. She received her PhD from the same university in 1984, earning highest honors. That same year, Dr Cheroutre began her postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In 1988, Dr Cheroutre began a three-year stint working in the lab of Mitchell Kronenberg, PhD, current President and Scientific Director of LIAI, in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1991 to 1997, Dr Cheroutre was co-director of UCLA's Transgenic Mouse Facility.
Dr Cheroutre has been awarded the NATO postdoctoral fellowship twice, as well as the Markey Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Cancer Research Coordinating Committee Fellowship from the State of California.
Hilde Cheroutre and her team are studying the development, function, and regulation of white blood cells, a type of T lymphocytes. The laboratory is investigating how the immune system provides protection at 'interfaces', or places where the outside world comes in contact with the inside of the body, such as skin, lungs, mouth, and the largest surface of all, the intestine.
Studying how the immune system works in the intestine is of particular interest because the immune system has to be able to distinguish pathogenic antigens from harmless food peptides and bacteria. The laboratory is investigating how the immune system succeeds in differentiating between the two and what causes the system to fail, allowing the antigens to invade the body.
The lab's research has been expanded to studying immune memory cells that resist re-entering pathogens or cancer cells. Tumor cells produce tumor antigens, which are cell surface proteins that differ from the proteins expressed by the surrounding normal cells. White blood cells recognize and destroy these transformed cells. Some of these tumor-fighting white blood cells go on to become immune memory cells. These are long-lived cells that activate immediately when they re-encounter tumor antigens, in the case of metastasis or re-occurrence of the tumor.
Understanding the function of immune memory T cells will help in the development and improvement of effective vaccines. At the same time, the ability to specifically eliminate these cells is a key requirement in the therapeutic intervention against autoimmune diseases and the rejection and/or destruction of host tissue following transplantation.
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F1000 Biology Reports 2009 1:(89) (26 Nov 2009)
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