Keith Reeves, Ph.D.
New England Primate Research Center
Title: "Role of mucosal NK cells in control and pathogenesis
of lentivirus infections"
Description: Lentivirus infections are characterized by a rapid loss of mucosal CD4+ T cells and breakdown of the gut mucosa associated with subsequent chronic immune activation. While potent adaptive T and B cell responses are mounted against HIV and SIV, they do not emerge until after massive virus dissemination and CD4+ T cell loss has already occurred. Therefore, it is likely that innate immune responses in the mucosae, such as NK cells which harbor potent anti-viral effector functions, can play a role in dictating the course of disease. However, despite the fact that HIV/SIV primarily replicate in mucosal tissues, little is known about virus interactions with mucosal NK cells, in part because these cells remain poorly characterized. This project seeks to evaluate the antiviral functions of NK cell subpopulations in the mucosae and their role(s) in controlling HIV/SIV infections.
Mentors: My mentors are R. Paul Johnson of the New England Primate Research, Harvard Medical School and Galit Alter of the Ragon Institute and Harvard Medical School, both of whom are experts in the fields of NK cell biology and HIV/SIV infections.