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Hunter Laboratory

Dr. Christopher Hunter's research team has been working on various aspects of basic parasitology since 198Hunter Laboratory, Penn Vet4.

For the past 16 years, Dr. Hunter's team has focused on understanding how the immune response to Toxoplasma gondii is regulated to allow the development of protective immunity as well as to limit T cell mediated pathology in multiple sites including the gut and brain.

 In this laboratory we have developed all of the skills required for the routine analysis of multiple immune parameters and to quantify NK, T and B cell responses to infection.

As part of studies to understand how IL-12 family members affect immunity to the common opportunistic pathogen T. gondii, we were the first laboratory to describe that IL-27, contrary to initial reports, was important in limiting infection-induced inflammation.

Subsequently, we have pursued the mechanisms used by IL-27 to influence the immune system and our work has been shown to be relevant to many inflammatory processes in multiple experimental systems that includes numerous infections as well as models of asthma, IBD and MS.

Moreover, in the last five years we have utilized different combinations of transgenic parasites and T cells to provide higher resolution analysis of individual parasite specific T cell populations.

This in turn made it possible to apply multiphoton microscopy to image the innate and adaptive response to T. gondii in different tissues including the brain, gut and secondary lymphoid tissues.

The Hunter Laboratory is committed to the continued development of this model and understanding how accessory cell and effector cells operate in the setting of infection.