The central focus of Chakraborty’s lab is to understand the mechanistic underpinnings of the adaptive immune response to pathogens, and then to harness this understanding to help design better vaccines and therapies. The work represents a crossroad of the physical and life sciences. Lab members work on developing and applying theoretical and computational approaches (rooted in statistical physics) to study the collective, dynamic, and stochastic processes that underlie a systemic immune response. A hallmark of Chakraborty’s research is the close synergy and collaboration between his lab’s theoretical/computational studies and investigations led by experimental and clinical immunologists.
Current interests in immunology can be divided into three broad categories:
- Understanding the network of biochemical interactions that enable T cells to translate engagement of membrane receptors to cognate ligands in to functional responses
- Better understanding how T cell development results in T cells that are specific for unknown emerging pathogens the human immune response to HIV
- Guide the rational design of vaccines and therapies against infectious disease causing agents, like HIV, that have plagued humanity since antiquity
Another area of research is how transcription of genes critical to maintaining cell identity (and those associated with certain diseases) are regulated in mammals. Specifically, we focus on transcriptions of genes regulated by superinhancers, and how phase separation plays a role in the same.