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An interview with José Conejo-Garcia

The immune system protects us from a host of pathogens, but in some cases it's actually the cause of health problems. T cells, a type of white blood cell that is a key player in the immune system, become activated when they encounter antigens. Usually, those antigens are signs that a pathogen is trying to get a foothold in the body, so the response of T cells is essential to fighting off disease. But when the antigen is actually a self-antigen--when it is part of the host and not an invader--a response by T cells can result in swelling, inflammation, and pain. José Conejo-Garcia, a professor of microbiology and immunology, has discovered a receptor, which he named "PILAR," that helps to determine whether T cells respond to an antigen. His research is discussed in the article "Put this finding on a PILAR." In the video interview (below), Conejo-Garcia talks more about his discovery and explains what it could mean for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. To help with the sometimes complex language of immunology, a brief glossary of a few terms mentioned in the interview is also available below.



José Conejo-Garcia

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