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Science AMA Series: I’m UCLA Prof. Tim O’Sullivan, I Investigate how the immune system reacts to Cancer, Viral Infection, and Obesity. Ask Me Almost Anything!
  • TimothyOSullivan ,
  • r/Science AMAs

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Hi Reddit, The mammalian immune system is fascinatingly complex. Our understanding of how the immune system recognizes and responds to foreign pathogens has increased tremendously in the last 100 years, however, we still have a great deal to discover. This point is highlighted by the recent discovery of a heterogenous family of tissue-resident lymphocytes (white blood cells) called innate lymphocytes (ILCs), which have been reported to regulate fundamental processes such as host metabolism, wound healing, and host defense. Given the importance of ILCs in these processes, my research focuses on the molecular and cellular signals that activate and sustain certain types of ILCs (Group 1 ILCs) in specific contexts. Understanding these mechanisms could have implications for the treatment of cancer, viral infection, and type II diabetes. While research from the past few decades has revealed that the immune system bridges virtually all physiological systems as a central regulator of host homeostasis, the general public (as well as scientists in other fields) only have vague ideas about immune function. Specialized jargon rampant in the field represents a barrier for the understanding of important advances in immunology, and for public consensus on its translation to the clinic (e.g. vaccination). Therefore, Immunologists need to make their work more accessible by presenting it in public forums and communicating their studies in a clear manner to try and eliminate these barriers. I think that Reddit AMAs present an excellent opportunity to highlight exciting findings in Immunology, and demystify academic science through informed discussion! I am happy to answer questions about the immune system, innate lymphocytes, and the implications for tissue-resident immunity in health and disease. I’m also happy to answer any questions about our most recent work http://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(17)31183-2. Edit 1: Hi all! I’ll start answering questions at 3pm ET!! Edit 2: Thanks again everyone for your excellent questions! Hopefully I have satisfactorily answered them. I’m signing off for now, but if you have further questions you can contact me through www.osullivanlab.com