Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Harty, John T.

First Committee Member

Harty, John T.

Second Committee Member

Perlman, Stanley

Third Committee Member

Badovinac, Vladimir P.

Fourth Committee Member

Legge, Kevin L.

Fifth Committee Member

Colgan, John

Sixth Committee Member

Maury, Wendy


Antigen-specific CD8 T cells play a critical role in protecting the host from infection by intracellular pathogens including viruses, bacteria and parasites. During the course of an infection, antigen-specific CD8 T cells undergo proliferative expansion to increase in number, which is followed by contraction and generation of a stable pool of long-lived memory cells. Importantly, memory CD8 T cells provide enhanced resistance to re-infection by the same pathogen. Moreover, the number of memory CD8 T cells correlates strongly with the level of protection against re-infection. Therefore, vaccines designed to promote cellular immunity should logically focus on achieving sufficiently high number of these memory cells for protection. Most current vaccines have relied on inducing antibodies to protect the host by neutralizing pathogens or blocking pathogen entry into the cells. However, there is a recognized need to design vaccines that also stimulate a strong CD8 T cell component of the adaptive immune response in addition to antibodies. Importantly, inflammatory cytokines induced by infection or vaccination with adjuvant act directly or indirectly on CD8 T cells to modulate their expansion, contraction and acquisition of memory characteristics. Thus, an understanding of how inflammatory cytokines regulate CD8 T cell memory differentiation may help guide the strategies for rational vaccine design.

My studies examine the roles of inflammatory cytokines in regulating CD8 T cell memory differentiation. Specifically, my studies investigate the timing of inflammatory cytokine exposure and the role of type I IFNs and IL-12 in regulating effector/memory CD8 T cell differentiation, and exploiting the cross-presentation pathway to rapidly generate protective CD8 T cell immunity. Specifically, my results indicate that (i) encounter with inflammatory cytokines during the rapid proliferative phase deflects CD8 T cell differentiation away from memory towards a sustained effector program, (ii) that direct signaling by either type I IFN or IL-12 to the responding CD8 T cells promotes maximal expansion, but neither of these cytokines is essential to regulate the effector/memory differentiation program, and (iii) cross-priming with both cell-associated antigen and antigen-coated, biodegradable microspheres, accelerates CD8 T cell memory development that can be exploited to rapidly generate protective CD8 T cell immunity.




xii, 168 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 151-168).


Copyright 2011 Nhat-Long Lam Pham