Next to antibody-producing B cells, T cells form the second pillar of what is called the adaptive immune system. We are interested in the basic biology of T cells in farm animal species, with a focus on pigs, cattle and sheep. Our group studies their interaction with other parts of the immune system, in particular B cells, and their role in infection and vaccination.
The objectives of our research is to:
- Elucidate functional properties of T cell subsets in large farm animals
- Study T cell differentiation following antigen encounter
- Study the interaction of T cells with other cells of the body, in particular other immune cells
- Study their contribution to immune protection but also immunopathology
- Identification and comparison of functional T cell subsets across pigs, sheep and cattle
- Study their function in the context of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) infection and vaccination
Vaccines are pivotal in the control of many viral infections and the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is a powerful reminder of that. Protective vaccination relies on the induction of immunological memory. This memory is mainly formed by long-lived T and B cells. By understanding how these cells work and can be stimulated in an appropriate manner for protective vaccination is a key element for the development of novel and improved vaccines.