B.S. Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCSD
B-cells undergo dramatic expansion during immune response, which involves one of the most rapid proliferation rates known for mammalian cells. B-cell survival and death is highly regulated, and the proliferative program is limited to about 12 divisions.
The NF-kB signaling system plays a critical role in B-cell biology. Two distinct NF-kB activation pathways have been described to induce overlapping sets of NF-kB transcription factors containing the three activation domain containing NF-kB proteins, RelA, RelB, and cRel. My research is focused on understanding which NF-kB dimers control B-cell survival and proliferation. This study is complicated by the overlap of these two B-cell processes, as well as the interdependencies of NF-kB dimers produced by the NF-kB signaling system in response to B-cell activating signals. Using a combination of in depth experimental analysis and mathematical modeling, at both the cellular and molecular levels, I hope to elucidate the homeostatic and dynamic regulation of the NF-kB signaling system in B-cell physiology.
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