Matous Voboril, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow University of Minnesota The world incidence of autoimmune diseases has been on the rise in the last decades. Understanding the mechanisms by which the immune system is protected against the development of autoimmunity is crucial for designing the tools that can deal with this problem in the future. Dr. Voboril’s main focus is the processes of central immune tolerance that occur in the thymus and are crucial for the formation of a functional and safe immune system. The main role of central tolerance is to eliminate clones of T lymphocytes with the potential to recognize host-own tissues and start the autoimmune reaction. Central to this are thymic antigen-presenting cells including the populations of dendritic cells (DCs). Therefore, the main goal of Dr. Voboril’s project is to characterize the origin and function of a specific population of thymic mature DCs (mDCs) that resemble those present in inflamed or tumor tissues. His preliminary data suggest that the maturation of those DCs is highly dependent on pro-inflammatory type III interferon signaling. Based on this, he aims to describe the direct role of type III interferon signaling in thymic DC-maturation and thus in the mechanisms of central tolerance. This proposal opens the possibility to design the targets that could influence the central tolerance induction through enhanced DC maturation. Also, due to the presence of a very similar population of mDC in the tumor tissue, the acquired knowledge could be relevant to tumor immunology and help inform potential targets influencing tumor growth. Projects and Grants Type III interferons drive thymic DC1 maturation to promote central tolerance University of Minnesota | All Cancers | 2022 | Kristin Hogquist, Ph.D.