University of California, San Diego


We use a holistic perspective to study immune responses during viral infections. We analyze molecular aspects of both innate and adaptive immune responses, the multiple cells they entail and their interactions among themselves, with viruses and with non-immune-systems. This approach often situates our research at the boundaries of immunology and other disciplines, a challenge that we embrace in order to break new ground on the basic principles that regulate antiviral immunity.

Our research work has been published in numerous scientific papers communicated in top-tier journals including Science, Cell, Nature Immunology, Immunity, Cell-Host & Microbe, Journal of Experimental Medicine, Nature Communications and Plos Pathogen, among others. Our research program has been funded by prestigious agencies that include NIAID/NIH, the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Lupus Research Alliance, among others.

Some of the questions we are excited about include:

1) What are the rules dictating whether an infection results in pathogen clearance versus persistence, host survival versus death, health recovery versus lasting sequels?

2) How innate and adaptive immune cells adjust to co-exist with a foreign presence (i.e. persistent pathogen) during protracted infections, and what are the consequences of lacking such adaptations?

3) How the immune system impacts and is impacted by other systems (e.g. gastro-intestinal system, central nervous system and whole-body metabolism) that should continue performing vital tasks while a host fights an infection, and how this cross-talk among different systems influence the infection outcome and disease?

4) How multi-functional viral proteins exploit the cellular machinery to aid pathogen immune-evasion? Which are the specific pathways that they evolve to target and what are their implications for viral control and host health?