Mucosal immunology and T cell development

The group focuses on mucosal immunology and T cell development.
Mucosal Immunology

The intestinal mucosa represents the largest surface of the body and is continually exposed to foreign material derived from our diet and the estimated 1014 microorganisms residing within the intestinal lumen. Maintenance of intestinal homeostasis is dependent upon the immune system’s ability to remain tolerant to such material while retaining the ability to mount appropriate immune responses to the many viral, parasitic and bacterial pathogens that utilize the intestine as a primary site of entry into the host. A breakdown in such mechanisms can result in intestinal pathology and is believed to contribute to the development and maintenance of inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, as well as food hypersensitivities such as celiac disease.

The laboratory focuses on understanding the mechanisms regulating mucosal immune responses in health and disease with an aim to finding novel modalities for the treatment of human disease and vaccine therapies against mucosal pathogens. Our particular focus is on the role of antigen presenting cells (in particular dendritic cells) as well as intestinal stromal cells in the regulation of mucosal T cell responses. To this aim we utilize state of the art animal models in combination with analysis of immune populations in patient material to determine the cellular and molecular pathways modulating mucosal T cell priming, differentiation, effector function and migratory capacity.

T cell development

T lymphocyte are key cellular components of the adaptive immune system that play a critical role in our defense against pathogens and cancer but also contribute to pathology in the setting of chronic inflammation and autoimmunity. T cell development takes place in the thymus where bone marrow derived precursors undergo a well defined program of differentiation and selection that ensures the generation of T cells with potentially useful T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires and the deletion of autoreactive T cells; a process that is essential to maintain immune homeostasis and prevent autoimmunity. The ordered development of T cells requires interactions between developing thymocytes with thymic stromal cells. The group focuses on the role of thymic stroma in T cell development.


William Winston Agace
Groupleader, Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 35 88 68 99
25 APRIL 2019