T cells are a highly specialized component of the human immune system. During viral infection, two populations of T cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, perform non-redundant immunological functions that complement both the ability of the innate immunity to contain viral replication and the ability of antibodies to prevent infection. Our laboratory focuses on the study of human T cells during viral infections, trying to understand their role in protection or pathogenesis.

Our work has been mainly focused on HBV and SARS-CoV-2 infections even though we are expanding also towards other viral diseases (Influenza, HCMV, henipaviruses). We are also using the T cells ability to specifically recognize and lyse virus-infected cells or virus-related cancers to develop novel immunotherapies based on adoptive transfer of T cell engineered to express different TCRs. We are developing mRNA-modified TCR engineered T cells that can be utilized in allogenic T-cell immunotherapy, or possess antiviral ability and increased functionality in the tolerogenic liver environment.

In addition, we are developing novel methods to analyze and quantify virus-specific T cells in different anatomical sites (blood, nasal cavity) in order to integrate virus-specific T cell analysis in the evaluation of correlates of protection of different vaccinations or to guide the clinical management of chronic HBV patients.