Maria Ciofani

Maria Ciofani
Assistant Professor of Immunology
CMB - Immunology
Campus mail: 128 Jones Building, 207 Resear, Box 3010 DUMC, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 684-1166

Transcriptional Regulation of Proinflammatory Lymphocytes

IL-17-expressing CD4 T helper (Th17) cells are important members of the intestinal immune cell community that contribute to protection against bacterial and fungal infections, and maintenance of intestinal homeostasis.  Although central to immunity, dysregulted Th17 cell function has been implicated in tissue inflammation and autoimmune disease (e.g. Inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis).  In order to understand this balance between healthy and pathogenic responses, we are interested in defining the transcriptional regulatory mechanisms that govern (1) Th17 cell specification from naive T cell precursors and, (2) Th17 cell effector plasticity during inflammation.  Combining genome-wide interrogation of regulatory information (transcription factor occupancy, chromatin accessibility, and transcriptional output) with gene-deficiency models in mice, we can dissect the contribution of key transcriptional regulators in proinflammatory T cell function.

We currently have open positions for students, postdoctoral fellows and a research technician.


Education and Training

  • University of Toronto (Canada), Ph.D. 2007

Publications

A validated regulatory network for Th17 cell specification.

Th17 cells have critical roles in mucosal defense and are major contributors to inflammatory disease. Their differentiation requires the nuclear hormone receptor RORγt working with multiple other essential transcription factors (TFs).

Determining γδ versus αß T cell development.

The thymus produces several types of functionally distinct T cell subsets. However, at a more fundamental level only two genetically distinct T cell lineages exist: the γδ and αß T cell lineages.

Determining γδ versus αß T cell development.

The thymus produces several types of functionally distinct T cell subsets. However, at a more fundamental level only two genetically distinct T cell lineages exist: the γδ and αß T cell lineages.

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