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Megan Palmer

Current position: Postdoctoral researcher, Stanford University

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA Biological Engineering Ph.D. candidate (2004-)
Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada BSc. Engineering Chemistry (2000-2004)

Research Advisor

Douglas Lauffenburger, PhD


Vinay Mahajan; Mark Fleury, PhD; Darrell Irvine, PhD; Jianzhu Chen, PhD

CDP research: Integration of T Cell Receptor and Interleukin 7 Signaling for Network Control of Naïve CD8+ T Cell Survival

The capacity to support a healthy adaptive immune response relies upon the maintenance of sufficient naïve T cell numbers with a wide diversity of target specificity. Naïve T cell survival is dependent both upon T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation by self-peptide/major histocompatibility complex (spMHC) in combination with cytokine signaling by interleukin-7 (IL-7) through the IL-7 receptor (IL-7R). IL-7R and TCR stimuli are thought to act synergistically in their regulation of T cell homeostasis. However, the mechanisms of signaling cross-talk are not known.

To elucidate how TCR and IL-7R signals direct cellular responses, we are developing both in vitro and in vivo systems to enable controlled TCR and IL-7R stimulation. Dynamic signaling activities across common downstream pathways are simultaneously measured alongside phenotypic responses to characterize network behavior governing distinct T cell fates. Computational modeling approaches are then used to evaluate from these portraits of signaling behavior potential mechanisms of signal integration in the TCR-IL7 network.


Palmer MJ, Mahajan VS, Trajman LJ, Irvine DJ, Lauffenburger DA, Chen J. Interleukin-7 Receptor Signaling Network: An Integrated Systems Perspective. Cellular & Molecular Immunology. 2008;5(2):79-89.

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