Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Natalie Liang Sciences

Age-dependent Changes in NK Cell Function and PTPN22 Expression

Scholars Journal

Cancer is a prominent aging related disease that is the second leading cause of death in the US. Aging is associated with defective functions of immune cells, including NK cells, which are effector lymphocytes of the innate immune system that play crucial roles in defense against infections and tumors. One of the key mechanisms underlying compromised NK cell function is desensitization induced by persistent stimulation. In this study, Natalie will study PTPN22, a phosphatase found to be expressed at higher levels in desensitized NK cells. By modulating PTPN22 expression and using loss-of-function approaches, Natalie will investigate its effects on cytotoxic activity of NK cells through stimulation and killing assays in the context of the tumor environment and aging.
Photo of Natalie Liang
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: David Raulet, Molecular and Cell Biology
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