Stephen Desiderio Laboratory

  • The Stephen Desiderio Laboratory is interested in molecular and genetic mechanisms responsible for development of the immune system, with a particular focus on V(D)J recombination and its role in immunity. This process, which builds antigen-receptor genes from discrete gene segments, shares mechanistic features with transposition and, as a potential source of DNA damage, is subject to tight control. We also focus on the generation of immune cells from blood-forming stem cells in the bone marrow. Our focus is on how hedgehog--a critical morphogenic signal--signaling in stromal cells promotes immune development, we hope to be better able to manipulate human immune responses for future therapeutic uses. We are also interested in how immune cells respond to environmental cues. We have uncovered a novel way in which calcium is regulated in response to antigen receptor stimulation and are testing whether this mechanism contributes to the decision between activation and anergy, which is when certain signals block immune cells' responsiveness.

    Research Areas: immunology, V(D)J recombination, stem cells, cellular signaling, hedgehog signaling