Pyroptosis is a non-apoptotic form of cell death that aids in the clearance of intracellular bacteria and viral infection. Pyroptosis of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells can induce cytopenia, immunosuppression and bone marrow failure. This research investigates the molecular regulators of the NLRP1 inflammasome.
Humans produce 100 billion neutrophils every day, and even more following infection, so what types of cell death balance this production to prevent chronic inflammation? The laboratory studies the types of cell death controlling neutrophil numbers at steady-state and during infection and inflammation.
Bone marrow transplantation is a major treatment modality for cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy. However, a return to full immunocompetence after transplant takes up to 2 years, leaving patients vulnerable to life-threatening infection. Activation of necroptosis in this setting is under investigation.
Cell death removes damaged, pre-cancerous, and infected cells. Chemotherapeutics typically activate cell death but do not alert the immune system to the presence of cancer. We will harness a novel type of cell death that can promote immune responses against leukemic cells.