Krishna Komanduri, MD
Our laboratory effort is primarily focused on translational studies of human CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in individuals with compromised immune systems, including allogeneic stem cell transplant (SCT) recipients. While SCT is the best curative strategy for many patients with relapsed and/or high-risk malignancies, infection and graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remain a major source of morbidity and mortality, especially in patients lacking matched family donors. We have had a long-standing interest in developing novel approaches to assess correlates of protective immunity and immune recovery. In earlier efforts, we helped to develop and/or optimize some of the first single-cell cytokine assays to assess human antigen-specific T cells (e.g., those specific for viral pathogens including CMV) and molecular assays to measure recent thymic emigrants in human subjects. Current areas of research focus include: 1) longitudinal studies of immune recovery in the setting of allogeneic SCT, including cord blood transplantation; 2) development of ex vivo strategies to manipulate human donor grafts to minimize GVHD while facilitating recovery of pathogen-specific T cells in recipients; 3) basic studies using higher-order flow cytometric approaches (e.g., single-cell assessments of cytokine production, phenotypic analysis and/or signaling) to better characterize how T cell subsets (including early and late memory cells) confer protective immunity. The ultimate goal of all of these studies is to better understand normal at cell function and to develop safer and more effective clinical SCT strategies.