Dr Maria-Luisa Alegre

Maria-Luisa Alegre, MD, PhD received her MD from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.  She completed an internal medicine residency and an intensive care fellowship at the Hopital Erasme.  She obtained her PhD in Immunology in 1993 from the University of Chicago and is now a full Professor in the Department of Medicine, Section of Rheumatology at the University of Chicago.  Her laboratory is interested in T cell responses in settings of transplantation, autoimmunity and cancer, with an emphasis on mouse models and emerging extensions onto clinical translation.  A main focus of the laboratory is on T cell tolerance in transplantation and how infections and inflammatory events can affect induction or maintenance of tolerance.  Her lab has found that transplantation tolerance can exist at different levels of robustness based on the number of mechanisms of T cell tolerance that are engaged, and that infections or inflammation can erode such tolerance.  The impact of bacterial infections on transplant outcomes has led her to discover that the microbiota also influences immune responses to transplanted organs and can be manipulated to prolong graft survival.  Her clinical studies have focused on the immunology of transplant recipients and of patients infected with the bacteria that influence transplant outcomes and, collaboratively, she has explored the involvement of the microbiota in the responsiveness of melanoma patients to immunotherapy.