Current Research Program
Unlike MHC-Ia, which presents peptide antigens, MR1 presents metabolites derived from microbial biosynthetic pathways. These metabolites are in small quantities and the exact mechanism by which MR1 is loaded with these unusual antigens is not known. Elly’s current research is centered around the antigen presenting cell. The key questions are 1) how is MR1 loaded with Mtb metabolites and 2) how does loaded MR1 traffic to the cell surface? There is a focus on endosomal trafficking pathways because they are important for MR1-dependent presentation of Mtb. The lab uses human cell lines and H37Rv Mtb for all intracellular infection experiments. Techniques routinely used include IFN-γ release assays, flow cytometry and high-resolution microscopy.
Jessie graduated from Texas A&M University in 2019 with a BS in Anthropology. She has been a research assistant in the Lewinsohn lab since 2020 working on MR1 antigen processing and presentation with Dr. Elly Karamooz.
Allison graduated from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology in 2019. She received her Master of Science in Microbiology from San Francisco State University in 2021, where she studied the role of neonatal myeloid subsets in modulating early life immune responses to commensals in the lab of Tiffany Scharschmidt at the University of California, San Francisco. Allison matriculated into the Program in Biomedical Sciences PhD program at OHSU in 2021 and joined the Lewinsohn Lab as a graduate student affiliated with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Currently, her thesis research is focused on investigating the role of endosomal calcium signaling in MR1 presentation to MAIT cells.
Joyce Se-Jin Kim
Joyce earned her BA in Biology from Carleton College in 2017. Then, she investigated the role of immune cells in allergic lung inflammation under Dr. Patrick Burkett and Dr. Vijay Kuchroo at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Joyce matriculated into the MD/PhD program at OHSU in 2020 and joined the Lewinsohn Lab as a graduate student in the Program in Biomedical Sciences. Her thesis project is to understand the mechanism of calcium sensors in MR1 antigen presentation.