M. Pilar Gil
Investigator in Mole, Cell & Biochem
Bio Med Molecular, Cellular Biology Biochemistry
Work: +1 401-863-6174
Research focuses on examining the endogenous regulation of type 1 interferons (interferons alpha and beta) effects on CD8 T cells after virus infection and how the natural modulation of the STAT1 protein levels shapes downstream consequences of exposure to these cytokines. Studies provide evidence that the host directs the consequences of IFN exposure by modifying access to intracellular signaling pathways.
Research DescriptionDr. Gil's research is focused on defining the signaling mechanism of the class II cytokine receptor family. During her postdoctoral training, she shown that the IFN-gamma receptor can engage alternative signal transduction pathways in addition to the conventional Stat1-dependent signaling mechanism. The alternative IFN-signaling pathways have physiologic relevance since they regulate proliferative responses in vitro and antiviral responses in vivo.
Studies from Dr. Biron's laboratory have suggested that dynamic modulation of total STAT1 protein is a natural mechanism for shaping downstream subset responses to IFNα/β. The hypothesis tested by Dr. Gil is that early induction of elevated STAT1 promotes access to antiviral target effects whereas later reduction allows signaling through alternative molecules, including STAT4, to promote different responses. The evaluation of type 1 IFN effects for gene expression following infection of mice with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) shows that IFN-alpha exposure elicits differential responses in CD8 T cells prepared from uninfected, day 5-infected or day 8-infected mice. Moreover STAT1 levels are modulated on CD8 T cells during the infection as are the levels of IFNα-induced STAT4 phosphorylation. Ongoing experiments are defining the roles for STAT1 and STAT4 for these effects.
Grants and Awards- American Association of Immunologists Junior Faculty Award, 2006
- Recipient of The Rhode Island Foundation Medical Research Grant, 2003
- Recipient of the International Cytokine Society Award, "Sheldon Wolff Prize in Cytokine Research", 2000
- Teaching Fellowship, "Beca de docència" from the Universitat de Barcelona, 1993-1996
Funded ResearchFunding Agency: Rhode Island Foundation
Grant title: IFNalpha/beta signaling in immunity to viral infection
Dollar amount: $10,000
Date received: January 2004