Heather graduated from Binghamton University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Graduate Program for Molecular and Cellular Biology. Heather joined the Minter lab in spring of 2016, and is a recipient of an NIH Biotechnology Training Fellowship. Her research focuses on the nuances of T cell activation and identifying mechanisms to modify T cell activation. The Minter Lab and others have shown that the activation process in CD8 T cells differs greatly from those at work in CD4 T cells. Heather has been utilizing imaging flow cytometry analysis to determine the presence and localization of proteins important in the various cell signaling cascades known to induce T cell activation. She has found that several proteins known to induce NF-kB activation differ in their spatiotemporal expression between CD8 and CD4 T cells following activation. We hypothesize that manipulating the localization of these proteins may offer a novel means to neutralize aberrant immune responses. Minter lab utilizes several models of acute Graft-versus-Host Disease (GVHD), to study Th1-mediated infiltration of CD8 T cells into the bone marrow and other target organs. These cytotoxic CD8 T cells deplete the hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow. To avoid blocking factors common to both CD4 and CD8 T cells, which could be detrimental to the functioning of the entire immune system, we are seeking to identify specific proteins necessary for CD8 T cell effector function that may allow us to reduce the tissue-destructive effects of CD8 T cells, implicated in many autoimmune diseases, without compromising CD4 T cell immune function.
Publications: Ozay E.I., Gonzalez-Perez G., Torres J.A., Vijayaraghavan J., Lawlor R., Sherman H.L., Garrigan D.T. Jr., Burnside A.S., Osborne B.A., Tew G.N., Minter L.M., Intracellular Delivery of Anti-pPKCθ (Thr538) via Protein Transduction Domain Mimics for Immunomodulation, Molecular Therapy, 2016 Sep 16.
Ozay EI, Sherman HL, Mello V, Trombley G, Lerman A, Tew GN, Yadava N and Minter LM (2018) Rotenone Treatment Reveals a Role for Electron Transport Complex I in the Subcellular Localization of Key Transcriptional Regulators During T Helper Cell Differentiation. Front. Immunol. 9:1284. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.01284