Shiv PillaiMassachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA F1000 Faculty Member (since 25 September 2002)
Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School, MGH Cancer Center
A major research interest is the study of cell fate decisions during B lymphocyte development and of mechanisms of B cell tolerance. At different stages of B lymphocyte ontogeny membrane immunoglobulin associated signaling complexes select cells that have made in-frame rearrangements, commit cells to undergo programmed cell death, or provide signals for proliferation and differentiation. We wish to understand in detail the signals and pathways downstream of the pre-B and B cell receptors that commit cells to these distinct fates. A signal attenuation pathway in B cells involving sialic acid acetyl esterase and Siglecs maintains peripheral tolerance. The signaling pathways that we study are also of relevance from the viewpoint of the malignant transformation of B cells.
A second area of interest is the examination of genetic susceptibility to autoimmunity in terms of genes that influence the immune response. We have described rare genetic variants that drive autoimmunity and continue to examine the role of rare genetic variants in terms of disease susceptibility.
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