Prof. Jakub Abramson
Our research group is broadly interested in understanding how immunological tolerance to self is established in the thymus and how breakdown of this process results in autoimmunity.
In particular, we focus on a very unique population of the thymic stroma, called the medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs). Specifically, mTECs are endowed with an amazing and unique capacity to express, and subsequently present, essentially all body antigens, including those whose expression was originally thought to be restricted only to peripheral organs (e.g. insulin, casein, etc.). Such “promiscuous” expression of tissue-restricted-antigen (TRA) genes in the thymus “foreshadows” the self-antigens that T cells would encounter once they reach maturity and are released into the body.