The HLA Immunogenetics Section aims to understand the genetic basis for how variation in the immune response across individuals confers resistance or susceptibility to human disease. Once a genetic association is identified, we aim to determine its functional basis. 

Extreme variation at the HLA loci strongly influences the nature of the immune response

Our work focuses on how highly polymorphic immune response genes, particularly the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) and the killer-cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) loci, impact human health and disease in different people in different ways. 

These studies require us to gain an understanding of the many mechanisms through which HLA molecules function. These include HLA class I interactions with innate immune receptors such as KIRs and leukocyte immunoglobulin-like receptors (LILRs); the differential cell surface expression levels of distinct HLA class I and class II molecules; HLA molecules' different dependencies on the peptide-loading complex; and the effects of variation in the signal peptide of HLA molecules on natural killer cell activity. 


Multidisciplinary approach to understand how immune response genes impact human health

We aim to combine genetics, molecular biology, and computational biology to fully understand how variation in immune response genes affects human health and disease. Our laboratory studies how immunogenetic variation influences human diseae, treatment outcomes, and vaccination. We are developing innovative approaches to analyze genedisease associations by combining experimental and computational methods.