Michael Waterfield, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Pediatrics
+1 415 353-7337
Research Description: 

Autoimmune disease affects up to 5% of the population and can cause significant morbidity and mortality. Our labs main focus is to understand the basic mechanisms by which immune tolerance is broken in order to identify novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. We utilize a variety of mouse models to study both central tolerance and peripheral tolerance. Central tolerance is the process by which autoreactive T cells are deleted in the thymus through negative selection. We are currently utilizing a variety of novel conditional knockout mice to study the roles of specific proteins in thymic tolerance.

A second area of active research in the lab is the role of effector T cells in autoimmune disease. One subtype of CD4+ effector T cell, termed T helper 17 (Th17) cells have been found to be important in the pathogenesis of multiple autoimmune diseases and Th17 cells have been targeted therapeutically for treatment. We have identified the activating transcription factor 7 interacting protein (ATF7ip) as a novel regulator of Th17 cell differentiation and are currently studying its mechanism of action in Th17 cells and other immune cells.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Immunology
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Human Genetics
Research Summary: 
Cellular and molecular mechanisms controlling immune tolerance
Publications: 

The epigenetic regulator ATF7ip inhibits Il2 expression, regulating Th17 responses.

The Journal of experimental medicine

Sin JH, Zuckerman C, Cortez JT, Eckalbar WL, Erle DJ, Anderson MS, Waterfield MR

Analysis of pulmonary features and treatment approaches in the COPA syndrome.

ERJ open research

Tsui JL, Estrada OA, Deng Z, Wang KM, Law CS, Elicker BM, Jones KD, Dell SD, Gudmundsson G, Hansdottir S, Helfgott SM, Volpi S, Gattorno M, Waterfield MR, Chan AY, Chung SA, Ley B, Shum AK

007 GILT-mediated antigen processing in thymic epithelial cells diminishes T cell-mediated protection from melanoma through promoting thymic deletion and regulatory T cells.

Journal of Investigative Dermatology

M.P. Rausch, T.C. Metzger, M. Waterfield, J. Cortez, M.S. Anderson, K.T. Hastings

Identification of a novel cis-regulatory element essential for immune tolerance.

The Journal of experimental medicine

LaFlam TN, Seumois G, Miller CN, Lwin W, Fasano KJ, Waterfield M, Proekt I, Vijayanand P, Anderson MS