Overview

Our group research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate the processes of B cell activation and differentiation into antibody-secreting cells.

Antibody-secreting cells are essential for the humoral immunity against pathogens since they produce vast amounts of antigen-specific antibodies. Once generated, plasma cells have also the potential to become quiescent and long-lived, a process fundamental for the immunological memory against pathogens. Despite the essential function of plasma cells, the pathways or genes that regulate their fascinating and unique properties are poorly characterized.

We have established an in vivo model system for pooled sgRNA CRISPR/Cas9 screens to identify new regulators of B cell activation, plasma cell development and maintenance within the microenvironment of secondary lymphoid organs. Some of the projects in our group aim to functionally characterize these novel regulators and dissect their role in the development of B cell responses.

In allergies, B cell responses are characterized by the induction of immunoglobulin E (IgE)-expressing B cells. Our group is also very interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms that lead to the development of IgE-secreting plasma cells. We aim to uncover new regulators of this developmental pathway, as it is a major driver of allergic diseases.

The studies in the lab might shed light on potential mechanisms to regulate antibody-mediated immune responses, and the development and homeostasis of plasma cells during natural infections or vaccination, or during pathologic conditions like allergies, antibody-mediated autoimmunity or plasma cell malignancies.