Research InterestsAdaptive Immunity, Cancer Immunology, B cells
AcceptingGrad Students Must First Apply Through Department
My research focuses in two main areas. My first area of research is to investigate antibody production, with a specific focus on how high-affinity antibodies are generated (i.e. somatic hypermutation), and how antibodies of different classes are produced (i.e. class switch recombination). Both of these processes are necessary for an efficient antibody response. We have recently completed an RNAi screen to identify novel factors that play an essential role in class switch recombination. Work is ongoing to characterize novel factors involved in this process.
The second area of research being conducted in my lab relates to colon cancer. Although the gut microbiota has beneficial effects to the host, it has also been linked to the development of certain pathological disorders, including inflammatory bowel diseases, and possibly colorectal cancer. Using an animal model of colorectal cancer (i.e. mismatch repair deficiency), we showed that the gut microbiota promotes this disease. While this work seems quite distinct to the work outlined above, the common theme is the mismatch repair system since this DNA repair pathway plays an essential role in somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination as well as in colon cancer. We currently have two questions that are designed to characterize the mouse model of colorectal cancer: (1) which bacterial species and what metabolite is/are promoting the development of colorectal cancer? (2) What is the underlying mechanism by which this occurs?
Dr. Martin also maintains a lab website here.