Alan M. Watson, Ph.D.
My research investigates mechanisms that regulate CD8+ T cell responses toward tumor antigens. Specifically, I have studied how the kinetic stability of peptide-bound major histocompatibility complex molecules (pMHC) influences the induction and accumulation of anti-tumor CD8+ T cell responses. Using SV40 Large T-antigen (TAg) as a model system, I have found that pMHC-stability determines the magnitude of CD8+ T cell responses by influencing the number of naïve T cells recruited from cross-presented antigen and the extent of T cell accumulation. My findings have uncovered strategies for the development and study of tumor immunotherapy techniques using systems of TAg induced tumors in mice and multivalent CD8+ T cell vaccines.
I have 10 years of laboratory experience working in various fields including molecular virology, parasitology, cell-signaling, and cellular immunology. I have acquired skills in global information systems, molecular biology, multi-color confocal imaging, and dissection of protein-protein interactions by immunoprecipitation and florescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). My expertise includes 6 years of ex-vivo and in-vitro characterization of CD8+ T cell responses directed toward determinants within SV40 TAg using both normal mice and models of SV40 TAg induced tumors. The bulk of my expertise involves multi-parameter flow cytometric analysis from ubiquitous and highly-enriched rare-populations of CD8+ T cells.