The Big Picture
My interests lie at the interface between immunology, nanoscale material science, and electrophysiology.
The T cell receptor (TCR)-CD3 complex is comprised of four dimeric modules with a series of acidic and basic transmembrane residues that maintain the stability of the complex. When the TCR engages with peptide-MHC, a series of intracellular signaling events ensue. How exactly this extracellular signal induces intracellular signaling remains to be a mystery. There is some evidence demonstrating the importance of potassium and calcium channel activity as well as electrostatic interactions between the TCR-CD3 complex and the lipid bilayer in the maintenance T cell activation. I would like to study how changes in membrane potential affect the ability of T cell to be activated through the TCR and how these changes in potential can affect the conformation of the TCR-CD3 intracellularly and extracellularly. In addition to more traditional electrophysiological tools, I will utilize nanoscale semiconductor materials to induce alterations in membrane potential in a population of T cells and study phosphorylation of key CD3 zeta chain Tyrosine residues.