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DEPARTMENT OF IMMUNOLOGY & MICROBIOLOGY, A Leader in Immunology, Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis Research and Training

Immunology and Microbiology

Raul Torres, Ph.D.

Professor of Immunology & Microbiology, Immunology Graduate Program Director

12800 E. 19th Ave., RC1-N 8107
Mail Stop 8333, Aurora, CO 80045
Phone: 303-724-8669


Effective host immune defense depends on the coordinated response of both innate and adaptive arms of the immune system and the directed migration of leukocytes to chemoattractants is an integral component of both responses. The overall focus of our laboratory investigates how signaling by the antigen receptor expressed by lymphocytes influences, and is influenced by, chemoattractant receptor signaling.  To address these issues, we employ complementary systems that rely on molecular, cellular, and genetic approaches coupled to in vivo and in vitro analyses of lymphocyte development, function and antigen receptor signaling.

BCR regulation of B cell migration during development and function.

Although B cell antigen receptor (BCR) signaling by immature and mature B cells is known to differ in significant ways, a consequence of signaling by both types of B cells is the altered subsequent migration of the cell.  Thus, bone marrow immature B cells that express a non-autoreactive antigen receptor emigrate to the periphery whereas autoreactive immature B cells are retained in the bone marrow and rendered tolerant. Similar to immature B cells, BCR signaling by peripheral mature B cells also influences the subsequent trafficking of the activated cell through alterations in chemoattractant responsiveness. This regulation of chemoattractant migration after antigen recognition plays an important physiological role during an immune response by directing antigen-activated B lymphocytes to microenvironments that induce appropriate antibody responses. Thus, a common feature of antigen receptor signaling exhibited by both immature and mature B cells is the subsequent directed migration of the cell for appropriate further differentiation. Work in our lab uses in vivo and in vitro approaches to investigate how BCR signaling influences both chemoattractant responsiveness and antibody response by different B cell subpopulations to accomplish these events.

Regulation of leukocyte migration and adhesion in lung immunity.

Leukocytes are resident in the lungs of healthy individuals and are necessary for orchestrating the innate and adaptive immune response towards the antigenic challenges that are inspired on a constant basis. However, inappropriate regulation of lung immunity can also lead to chronic inflammation and subsequent tissue damage and pathophysiology, hallmarks of both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. An additional area of investigation in our lab examines how pulmonary leukocytes regulate chemoattractant responsiveness and cell adhesion during inflammation in the lung and how aberrant regulation of these processes may facilitate inflammatory lung diseases.

Pamela Strauch, B.S. (University of California at San Diego)

Sr. Professional Research Assistant

Kristen Shotts, B.S. (University of Colorado Boulder)
Graduate Student

B cell antibody response to HIV

Divij Mathew, B.A. (Hamilton College)
Graduate Student 

Lysophospholipid regulation of lymphocyte function

Amanda Agazio, B.S. (Metro State University)
Graduate Student

Natural antibody regulation of B cell biology
  Dr. Torres runs a joint lab together with Dr. Roberta Pelanda.