Graduate Studies Faculty
Ann B. Hill, PhD, MB BS, FRACP
Programs:Molecular Microbiology & Immunology
Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences
Research Interests:Immune control of cytomegalovirus (CMV), CD8 T cells, immunological memory, impact of CMV carriage on normal immunbiology, vaccine response and chronic disease, and on immune function in aging (immunosenescence), exploting CMV as a vaccine vector for cancer immunotherapy, MHC class I restricted antigen processing and presentation, viral immune evasion. » Click here for more about Dr. Hill's research
Preceptor RotationsDr. Hill has not indicated availability for preceptor rotations at this time.
Faculty MentorshipDr. Hill has not indicated availability as a mentor at this time.
My lab is interested in the immunobiology of cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV is a beta herpesvirus; like most herpesviruses it establishes lifelong asymptomatic infection. The immune system, however, becomes uniquely obsessed with CMV, devoting an increasing proportion of the T cell response to CMV over an individual’s lifetime. In old age this response can become truly enormous. Our main focus is understanding how this lifelong “détente” between virus and host is maintained. What does the virus do to prevent the immune system from eradicating it? How does the immune system keep the virus under control, and why is it so “obsessed”? How active is the guerilla war that host and virus wage? What are the implications for human health? We work mostly in the mouse model, and have performed a detailed characterization of the CD8 T cell response to murine (M)CMV in C57BL/6 mice, and have investigated the mechanism and impact of MHCI immune evasion in this model.
Our current major interests are:
- Understanding the basis for the massive, “inflating” T cell response that CMV uniquely elicits in mouse and man. We are interested in the mode of T cell priming, mechanisms of immunodominance, and the characteristics of the unique CMV-specific memory T cell population.
- Understanding the relationship between the CMV-elicited distortions in the T cell compartment and failing immunity in the elderly. This project involves both mouse experiments and a collaborative human study, with the ultimate goal of improving immunity in the elderly.
- Dissecting our recent discovery that non-cognate peptide MHC complexes play a critical role in enabling CTL lysis of virus-infected cells. This project involves both basic mechanistic research and a translational component, searching for drugs that will enable CTL to more effectively kill virus-infected targets.
- The mechanism of action of MCMV’s MHCI immune evasion genes.