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Welcome to the Integrated Department of Immunology at the University of Colorado - School of Medicine and National Jewish Health.

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Raul Torres PhD

Professor of Immunology, Immunology Graduate Program Director

Immunology Graduate Program Director
Ph.D.,  Microbiology/Immunology, University of Washington, Seattle
Postdoctoral fellowship: Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, Germany
Scientific Member: Basel Institute for Immunology, Switzerland
Phone: 303-398-1473 (office); 303-398-1450 (lab)
Dr. Torres' National Jewish Health Webpage

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.

  • Lang, J. Weiss, N., Freed, B.M., Torres, R.M., and Pelanda, R. (2011) Generation of hematopoietic humanized mice in the newborn BALB/c Rag2-/-Il2rg-/- mouse model: a multivariable optimization approach.   Clinical Immunology. 140:102-116,2011. PMC3115423
  • Swanson, C., Wilson, T., Strauch, P., Colonna M., Pelanda, R., and Torres, R.M. (2010) Type I IFN enhances follicular B cell contribution to the T cell-independent antibody response. Journal of Experimental Medicine, 207:1485-500. PMC2901065<BR
  • Donovan, E.E., Pelanda, R., and Torres, R.M. (2010) S1P confers differential S1P migration by autoreactive and non-autoreactive immature B cells and is required for normal B cell development. European Journal of Immunology, 40:688-698. PMC2924669
  • Rowland, S.L., Leahy, K.F., Halverson, R., Torres, R.M., and Pelanda, R. (2010) BAFF-R signaling aids the differentiation of immature B cells into transitional B cells following tonic BCR signaling. Journal of Immunology, 185:4570-4581. PMC2950883
  • Rowland, S.L., DePersis, C.L., Torres, R.M., and Pelanda, R. (2010) Ras activation of Erk restores impaired tonic BCR signaling and rescues immature B cell differentiation. Journal of Experimental Medicine. 207: 607-621. PMC2839140
  • Rubtsov, A.V., Swanson, C.L., Troy, S., Strauch, P., Pelanda, R., and Torres, R.M.
    (2008) Toll-like receptor agonists promote marginal-zone B cell activation, relocation and T-dependent IgM response. Journal of Immunology, 180:3882-3888. 
  • Hu, J., Strauch, P., Rubtsov, A., Donovan, E.E., Pelanda, R. and Torres, R.M. (2008) Lsc Activity is Controlled by Oligomerization and Regulates Adhesion. Molecular Immunology, 45:1825-1836.
  • Pelanda, R. and Torres, R.M. (2006) Receptor editing for better or for worse. Current Opinion in Immunology. 18:184-190.
  • Rubtsov, A., Strauch, P., DiGiacomo, A., Hu, J., Pelanda, R and Torres, R.M. (2005) Lsc Regulates Marginal Zone B cell Migration and Adherence and is Required for the IgM T-dependent Antibody Response. Immunity, 23:527-538.
  • Halverson, R., Torres, R.M., and Pelanda, R. (2004) Receptor editing is the primary mechanism of B cell tolerance towards membrane antigens. Nature Immunology, 5:645-650, 2004.
  • Torres, R.M. and Hafen, K. (1999) Ig-alpha has an inhibitory role in early B cell development. Immunity 11:527-536.
  • Torres, R.M. and Kühn, R. (1997). Laboratory Protocols for Conditional Gene Targeting. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 192 pages.
  • Torres, R.M., Flaswinkel, H., Reth, M., and Rajewsky, K. (1996) Aberrant B cell development and immune response in mice with a compromised BCR complex. Science 272:1804-180. 

Lung Immunity:

  • Hartney, J.M., Gustafson, C.E., Bowler, R.P., Pelanda, R., and Torres, R.M. (2011) Thromboxane receptor signaling is required for fibronectin-induced MMP9 production by human and murine macrophages and is inhibited by Arhgef1. Journal of Biological Chemistry, in review.
  • Hartney, J., Brown, J., Chang, L.Y., Chu, H.W., Pelanda, R., and Torres, R. M., (2010) Arhgef1 regulates a5b1 integrin-mediated matrix metalloproteinase expression and is required for homeostatic lung immunity. American Journal of Pathology, 176: 1157-1168. PMC2832139
  • Clambey, E.T. and Torres, R.M. (2009) Activation or suppression? T cell immunity in COPD lungs. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 6:84-5. PMID: 19378220
  • Brown, J., Taube, C., Takeda, K, Koya, T., Pelanda, R., Gelfand, E.W., and Torres, R.M. (2007) Arhgef1 is Required by T cells for the Development of Airway Hyperreactivity and Inflammation. American Journal of Respiratory Critical Care Medicine, 176:10-19. PMC2049063
  • Wu, Q., Martin, R.J., Rino, J.G., Breed, R., Torres, R.M., Chu, H.W. (2007) IL-23-dependent IL-17 production is essential in neutrophil recruitment and activity in mouse lung defense against respiratory Mycoplasma pneumoniae infection. Microbes and Infection, 9:78-86. PMC1832075

    View of Recent Publications in PubMed

Pamela Strauch, B.S. (University of California at San Diego)
Sr. Professional Research Assistant


John Hartney, Ph.D. (University of North Carolina)

Role of macrophages in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease


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

 Dr. Torres runs a joint lab together with Dr. Roberta Pelanda.