Assistant Professor, BIO5 Institute
Assistant Professor, Genetics - GIDP
Dr. Kuhns is an Assistant Professor in Immunology. His research program is focused on (i) increasing our basic understanding of how T cell fate decisions are made (e.g. development, activation, differentiation, effector functions), and (ii) increasing their working knowledge of how to manipulate these decisions to direct T cells towards a desired outcome, such as increasing responses to vaccines or tumors, preventing transplant rejection, or attenuating autoimmunity.
To this end they are pursuing three lines of investigation.
- The first involves identifying and characterizing the molecular mechanisms that transfer information from the outside to the inside of a T cell.
- The second involves characterizing how these unique mechanisms each influence T cell fate decisions in vivo while developing reagents to manipulate these mechanisms to assess their suitability as targets for translational immune-modulating reagents in humans.
- The third involves determining if and how aging impacts T cell receptor proximal signaling events during T cell APC interactions in order to better understand how aging diminishes immune capacity and, conversely, increases susceptibility to infections.
In pursuit of these efforts, they have gained a broad working knowledge of the molecular and cellular components of the vertebrate immune system and experimental expertise in in vitro and in vivo experiments. Importantly, they have established a variety of reductionist systems that allow them to interrogate the molecular mechanisms by which key molecular machines relay information from the outside to the inside of a T cell function to instruct T cell fate decisions.
2011 PEW Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences, PEW Charitable Trusts
2006 Senior Postdoctoral Fellowship, Irvington Institute Fellowship Program of the Cancer Research Institute
2001 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Cancer Research Institute