Jason M. Schenkel


     Email: schen168@umn.edu

     Year Entered: 2009

     Degrees Received:
     Northwestern University
     Human Communications Sciences/Molecular Biology majors
     B.A./B.S., 2008

     Thesis Advisor: David Masopust, Ph.D.

     Thesis Research: Dynamics and functionality of CD8 T cell immunity
     within the female reproductive tract

     The female reproductive tract (FRT) is a heterogenous mucosal
     tissue that is exposed to commensal flora, undergoes periodic
     remodeling, and supports fertilization, yet serves as a major site of
     microbial infection. Due to its unique physiology and vulnerability to microbes, it is important to have a better understanding of the dynamics of the adaptive immune response within the FRT. Using flow cytometric analyses paired with immunofluorescence microscopy we are characterizing the kinetics, localization (anatomically and subanatomically), phenotype and function of antigen specific CD8 T cells present in the FRT during a systemic infection. So far, we have found that effector CD8 T cells migrated into the vagina, cervix, uterine horns and ovaries, where they localized within the lamina propria, epithelium, or unexpectedly, in large lymphoid aggregates where they were associated with CD11c/MHCII+ cells. After pathogen clearance, maintenance of memory CD8 T cells varies greatly based on location within the FRT. The cellularity and number of these lymphoid aggregates changes dramatically throughout the response. We are now exploiting local challenge models to visualize the role of these structures in CD8 T cell migration, antigen trafficking and presentation, and supporting in situ recall responses. These studies should be highly relevant for understanding protective cell-mediated immunity within the female genital mucosa.

Publications (pubmed):

Casey KA, Fraser KA, Schenkel JM, Moran A, Abt MC, Beura LK, Lucas PJ, Artis D, Wherry EJ, Hogquist K, Vezys V, Masopust D. Antigen-independent differentiation and maintenance of effector-like resident memory T cells in tissues. J Immunol. 2012 May 15;188(10):4866-75.

Hamilton SE, Schenkel JM, Akue AD, Jameson SC. IL-2 complex treatment can protect naive mice from bacterial and viral infection. J Immunol. 2010 Dec 1;185(11):6584-90.

Publications for work prior to entering the U of MN MSTP:

Zloza A, Kohlhapp FJ, Lyons GE, Schenkel JM, Moore TV, Lacek AT, O'Sullivan JA, Varanasi V, Williams JW, Jagoda MC, Bellavance EC, Marzo AL, Thomas PG, Zafirova B, Polić B, Al-Harthi L, Sperling AI, Guevara-Patiño JA. NKG2D signaling on CD8⁺ T cells represses T-bet and rescues CD4-unhelped CD8⁺ T cell memory recall but not effector responses. Nat Med. 2012 Feb 26;18(3):422-8.

Schenkel JM, Zloza A, Li W, Narasipura SD, Al-Harthi L. Beta-catenin signaling mediates CD4 expression on mature CD8+ T cells. J Immunol. 2010 Aug 15;185(4):2013-9. Epub 2010 Jul 14.

Zloza A, Schenkel JM, Tenorio AR, Martinson JA, Jeziorczak PM, Al-Harthi L. Potent HIV-specific responses are enriched in a unique subset of CD8+ T cells that coexpresses CD4 on its surface. Blood. 2009 Oct 29;114(18):3841-53.