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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Keith Eidell

PhD Student in Immunology
Keith Eidell

Keith Eidell

PhD Student in Immunology

Education: 
BS, Biology, Albright College, Reading, PA
MS, Biology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Research synopsis: 

Our laboratory employs biochemical and live cell imaging approaches to understand how the TCR governs T cell migration, adhesion, and activation. The lab has shown that many of the signals initiated in response to antigen are transduced by a TCR-induced macromolecular complex that incorporates integral membrane proteins, cytoplasmic signaling adaptors, and diverse effector proteins, including multiple regulators of the T cell cytoskeleton. These structures require the critical signaling adaptor SLP-76, and are therefore referred to as ‘SLP-76 microclusters’. I will examine how SLP-76 microclusters trigger integrin-dependent adhesion and how these structures enable a distinct mode of adhesion that involves the tight junctions within which the TCR engages its ligands. I will initially examine the roles of a group of integrin-associated cytoskeletal regulators that are recruited into SLP-76 microclusters via the adaptor protein SKAP55. Our hypothesis is that these proteins allow the T cell cytoskeleton to exert contractile forces on integrins and TCR-associated junctional structures. We expect that the consolidation and stabilization of the immune synapse requires these functions. In addition, I will examine whether these proteins influence T cell survival and proliferation by regulating cytoskeletal tension, as has been documented for adherent cells.

Advisor: