T cells recognise peptide/lipid ligands presented in the context of MHC or MHC-like molecules expressed on antigen presenting cells. In particular, the group has a special focus on CD4 T cells, which when activated differentiate into T helper cells with potent cytokine-secreting function. Over the past three decades, several distinct T helper cell subsets have been described including Th1, Th2, Th17, Treg and others and these all exert quite unique immune modulatory effects. My group has many interests, including:
- Understanding how T helper cells promote health and disease
- Deciphering factors that regulate T helper cell function and differentiation
- Phenotyping T helper cells in lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues in diseased and healthy contexts
- Probing for other functionalities in the T helper cell spectrum
- Understanding how environmental factors may impact on T helper cell functions
Our group is interested in understanding immune responses to allergens. T helper cells, in particular IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13 producing Th2 cells have a central role in mediating the pathogenesis of asthma. Over the last few years, we have demonstrated that these cells are characterised by the high expression of genes associated with lipid metabolism including PPAR-g, which likely regulates metabolism in Th2 cells and also promotes effector gene expression.
Many other T helper cell subsets are thought to regulate asthma, especially in adults, and we are interested in characterising T helper cells in different phenotypes of asthma and allergy. Right now, we have a focus on performing single cell RNA-Sequencing analyses in different clinical and preclinical contexts, in order to paint a really clear picture of the T helper cell phenotype in different allergies.
An important factor in the striking rise in allergy incidence over the last few decades has been a complete upheaval in our way of life. Our infectious landscape, diets, living conditions and many other things have changed dramatically over this time, and many of these factors are associated with a rise in the incidence of allergies. We are now devoting more time into understanding how some of these factors from our environment may be affecting allergic sensitisation and aiming to model these in our preclinical allergy models.
There is an increasing appreciation that the immune system is intricately involved in the process of cancer initiation and growth. The bulk of research into cancer immunology has focussed on the role of CD8 T cells, and for good reason. However, understanding the role of CD4 T cells and harnessing their full potential is likely to lead to even better outcomes for patients with cancer. Our group is actively pursuing the elucidation of novel genes that may regulate the function of CD8 T lymphocytes in cancer. Further, we are interested in understanding more fully what impact CD4 T cells may have on the process of cancer development, and how these cells may be harnessed to potentiate cancer immunotherapy.
We are always looking for enthusiastic researchers to join the group, so don’t be afraid to contact Jonathan Coquet on the email address below
Jonathan is and has been supported by funding from the Swedish Research Council, Cancerfonden, Barncancerfonden, KI foundations, Ollie and Elof Ericsson Stiftelse, Klas Groschinsky foundation and Sagens Stiftelse.
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