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“It would be a wonderful thing if we could stop terrible diseases before they have a chance to do any damage.”
Hilde Cheroutre, Ph.D.
Division Head and Professor
Division of Developmental Immunology

cell-bullet1.jpg "Rather than figuring out how to treat disease, I’d like to understand how to prevent it.  It would be a wonderful thing if we could stop terrible diseases before they have a chance to do any damage."  – Hilde Cheroutre, Ph.D.

Dr. Cheroutre joined LIAI in 1998 and is currently Division Head and Professor in the Division of Developmental Immunology. Dr. Cheroutre's research focuses on the selection, regulation and activation of different classes of T cells, such as regulatory and memory T cells.

Dr. Cheroutre received her Licentiate in Sciences from the State University of Ghent in Belgium in 1978. She received her Ph.D. from the same university in 1984, earning highest honors. That same year, Dr. Cheroutre began her postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In 1988, Dr. Cheroutre began a three-year stint working in the lab of Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., current President and Chief Scientific Officer of LIAI, in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1991 to 1997, Dr. Cheroutre was co-director of UCLA's Transgenic Mouse Facility.

Dr. Cheroutre has been awarded the NATO postdoctoral fellowship twice, as well as the Markey Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and the Cancer Research Coordinating Committee Fellowship from the State of California.

research focus

cell-bullet2.jpg Hilde Cheroutre, Ph.D., and her team are studying the development, function, and regulation of white blood cells, a type of T lymphocytes. The laboratory is investigating how the immune system provides protection at "interfaces," or places where the outside world comes in contact with the inside of the body, such as skin, lungs, mouth, and the largest surface of all, the intestine.

Studying how the immune system works in the intestine is of particular interest because the immune system has to be able to distinguish pathogenic antigens from harmless food peptides and bacteria. The laboratory is investigating how the immune system succeeds in differentiating between the two and what causes the system to fail, allowing the antigens to invade the body.

The lab's research has been expanded to studying immune memory cells that resist re-entering pathogens or cancer cells. Tumor cells produce tumor antigens, which are cell surface proteins that differ from the proteins expressed by the surrounding normal cells. White blood cells recognize and destroy these transformed cells. Some of these tumor-fighting white blood cells go on to become immune memory cells. These are long-lived cells that activate immediately when they re-encounter tumor antigens, in the case of metastasis or re-occurrence of the tumor.

Understanding the function of immune memory T cells will help in the development and improvement of effective vaccines. At the same time, the ability to specifically eliminate these cells is a key requirement in the therapeutic intervention against autoimmune diseases and the rejection and/or destruction of host tissue following transplantation.

selected publications

cell-bullet3.jpgA novel role for IL-27 in mediating the survival of activated mouse CD4 T lymphocytes. J Immunology 2013

Transcriptional reprogramming of mature CD4(+) helper cells generates distinct MHC class II-restricted cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Nat Immunol. 2013

Adenoma-linked barrier defects and microbial products drive IL-23/IL-17-mediated tumour growth. Nature 2012

HVEM signaling at mucosal barriers provides host defence against pathogenic bacteria. Nature 2012

Following the fate of one insulin-reactive CD4 T cell: Conversion into Teffs and Tregs in the peripherty controls diabetes in NOD mice. Diabetes 2012

Mucosal memory CD8(+) T cells are selected in the periphery by an MHC class I molecule. Nat Immunol. 2011 

Hepatic stellate cells function as regulatory bystanders. J Immunol. 2011 

Interleukin 10 acts on regulatory T cells to maintain expression of the transcription factor Foxp3 and suppressive function in mice with colitis. Nat Immunol. 2009

Retinoic acid can directly promote TGF-beta-mediated Foxp3(+) Treg cell conversion of naïve T cells. Immunity. 2009 

Reciprocal Th17 and regulatory T cell differentiation. Science 2007

Identification of pre-and post-selection TCRalphabeta+ intraepithelial lymphocyte precursors in the thymus. Immunity 2006

CD8aa mediated survival and differentiation of CD8 memory T cell precursors. Science 2004

The crystal structure of a TL/CD8alphaalpha(+) complex at 2.1 A resolution: implications for modulation of T cell activation and memory. Immunity 2003.

Precursors of functional MHC class 1- or class II-restricted CD8alphaalpha(+) T cells are positively selected in the thymus by agonist self-peptides. Immunity 2002

T cell responses modulated through interaction between CD8aa and the nonclassical MHC class I molecule, TL. Science 2001

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The link above may include papers by scientists with the same or similar name.

staff list
upcoming seminars
    "Zinc-induced Polymerization of Receptor at the Plasma Membrane: A New Form of Regulated Signal Transduction?"
    Wednesday 05/18/16: 12:00 PM
    "Exploring the Roles of Type-2 Cytokine-producing Mucosal Mast Cells in Allergic Disorder"
    Wednesday 06/01/16: 12:00 PM
  • 2009 NIH Director's Pioneer Award
  • NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Markey Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Cancer Research Coordinating Committee Fellowship from the State of California
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