Greta Guarda, Group Leader
Our research focuses on the interplay between major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I, cytotoxic T cell, and natural killer (NK) cell responses in the context of infection and cancer. In fact, recognition of infected or transformed cells by cytotoxic T lymphocytes requires MHC class I molecules. NK cells, using a complementary strategy, eliminate hazardous cellular targets lacking their expression. MHC class I molecules are therefore central players in immunity and we study novel mechanisms – relevant for innate and adaptive cytotoxic responses – regulating their levels. Further, we investigate new molecular pathways controlling function and metabolic fitness of cytotoxic T lymphocytes and NK cells in health and disease. To achieve these goals, we use a variety of approaches, including genetic, genomic, biochemical, and molecular techniques, as well as translational models.