Human Immunity in space and time

Human T cells are most readily sampled from blood; however, the majority of T cells in the body are found in tissues, including primary and secondary lymphoid organs, mucosal, barrier and exocrine sites. A significant proportion of tissue T cells are maintained as non-circulating Tissue resident memory T cells (TRM) which are generated in response to pathogen and antigen encounter at specific sites, and can mediate rapid immune responses in situ. We have established a human tissue resource in which we obtain multiple mucosal, exocrine and lymphoid sites from individual organ donors to investigate mechanisms by which T cells in blood differ from those maintained in diverse tissue sites, elucidate how T cell responses differ with age, and define a new baseline for defining and monitoring T cell pathologies in disease. New results on tissue-specific adaptations and in situ regulation of human TRM, single cell profiling of T cell activation in blood and tissue sites, and age-associated changes in T cell subsets and responses using this tissue resource will be discussed.

Professor Farber received her undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Michigan, her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and did postdoctoral training in the Section of Immunobiology at Yale University and at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. She started her laboratory at the University of Maryland and moved to Columbia University in 2010 where she is currently the George H. Humphreys, II Professor of Surgical Sciences and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and recently became Chief of the Division of Surgical Sciences. Dr Farber’s research for the past 22 years is focused on immunological memory, and recently, on how the immune response is compartmentalized in tissue sites in mouse infection models and in humans. For human studies, Dr Farber set up a unique resource to obtain multiple tissues from organ donors, enabling novel investigation of human immunity throughout the body over age and genetic diversity.