Killer CD8 T cells attack infected or mutated cells to protect against pathogens and tumour growth. There are many different CD8 T cell clones in the body – only a fraction of these recognise the same target and the amount of protection offered by each clone varies.
Audrey's group uses state-of-the-art imaging approaches to understand how CD8 T cell clones talk to each other during an immune response. Their work will determine how different clones coordinate their activity to rapidly clear infection and establish long-term immunity, while limiting damage to the body's own tissues. This information may guide the development of better vaccines, such as against influenza infection.
"This award is an amazing opportunity for me to tackle this project, which aims to study how CD8 T cells organise themselves as an ecosystem during healthy responses. I believe it will give a different perspective on our understanding of immune response coordination and regulation", said Dr Gérard.
Director of Research at the Kennedy Institute, Professor Michael Dustin, said: "This award recognises Audrey's fundamental work in immunobiology, laying the foundation for future cures."
Audrey joined the Kennedy Institute in 2016 as a Senior Research Fellow funded by the Kennedy Trust for Rheumatology Research.