Dr. Kimberly S. Schluns
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Immunology
- CD8 T cell responses to infections
- Generation and maintenance of memory CD8 T cells
- Development and function of intestinal lymphocyte populations
The goal of my laboratory is to better understand the mechanisms that regulate antigen-specific CD8 T cell responses and their subsequent differentiation into long-lived, functional memory T cells. Elucidating these mechanisms could provide new insight into enhancing vaccine development and immunotherapy of tumors. My focus has centered on the role of cytokines, particularly Interleukin-15, as this cytokine is crucial for the generation and maintenance of memory CD8 T cells. Currently, the lab is attempting to identify mechanisms that regulate IL-15 expression and other determinants important for IL-15 responsiveness. Stimulation by IL-15 is unique among cytokines as it is typically expressed on the cell surface of IL-15 producing cells and presented in trans to opposing cells in a cell-cell interaction. Since unregulated IL-15 leads to immune activation, we are also interested in determining the role of IL-15 in inflammation with an emphasis on intestinal inflammation.
A tutorial in my laboratory would provide a student exposure to multiple techniques used to study various immune cells and their responses, including basic molecular biology, in vivo analysis, tissue culture, and flow cytometry. In addition, the student would be able relate the basic experimental questions to important immunology and cell biology concepts. The specifics of the project would be decided based on the student’s interests.
E.F. Castillo, L. F. Acero, S. W. Stonier, D. Zhou, and K. S. Schluns. 2010. Thymic and peripheral microenvironments differentially mediate development and maturation of iNKT cells by IL-15 transpresentation. Blood. Oct 7;116(14):2494-503.
E. F. Castillo, S.W. Stonier, L. Frasca, and K. S. Schluns.2009. DCs support the in vivo development and maintenance of NK cells via IL-15 trans-presentation. J. Immunol. 183:4948-4956.
L.J. Ma, L. F. Acero, T. Zal, and K. S. Schluns. 2009.Trans-presentation of IL-15 by intestinal epithelial cells drives development of CD8αα IELs. J. Immunol. 183:1044-54.
W.W. Overwijk and K.S. Schluns. 2009. Functions of γC cytokines in homeostasis and their current and potential uses in clinical settings. Clinical Immunology. 132(2):153-65.
S.W. Stonier, L.J. Ma, E.F. Castillo, and K.S. Schluns. 2008. Dendritic cells drive CD8 T cell homeostasis via IL-15 trans-presentation. Blood. 112(12):4546-4554.
T.A. Stoklasek, K.S. Schluns, and L. Lefrancois. 2006. Enhanced Effect of IL-15 by Combined Administration of IL-15 with an IL-15Rα-Fc Chimeric molecule. J. Immunol. 177(9):6072-80.
Schluns, K.S., A. Cabrera-Hernandez, E.C. Nowak, L. Puddington, L. Lefrançois, H. L. Aquila. 2004. Distinct Cell Types Control Lymphoid Subset Development Via IL-15 and IL-15Ra Expression. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101:5616-5621.
Schluns, K.S., K.D. Klonowski, and L. Lefrançois. 2004. Trans-regulation of memory CD8 T cell proliferation by IL-15Rα+ bone marrow-derived cells. Blood. 103:988-994.
Schluns, K.S. and L. Lefrançois. 2003. Cytokine control of memory T cell development and survival. Nature Reviews Immunology 3(4):269-279.
Office: MDA SCRB4.2021 (Unit 902)
Title: Associate Professor
Ph.D. - Loyola University of Chicago - 1997