My first research was on the transmission of pathogens affecting geraniums, a type of ornamental plant, in a greenhouse environment. Skills included ELISA technology and development of a research project.
Subsequently, I studied Type 1 diabetes and auto-immune disease using a mouse model (Non-Obese Diabetic mice). Skills developed included cell sorting using florescence-activated flow cytometry, analysis of cell-surface HLA proteins to determine chimerization using florescent antibody tags, and surgically implanting insulin into mice.
As an undergraduate and master’s student, my work with Dr. Kari Nadeau in the Department of Pediatric Immunology focused on the role of regulatory T cells in controlling the T cell response in allergic asthma. I used human T cells to study migration of cells to the lung and the pathways involved in the activation of T cells leading to the lung inflammation that is characteristic of an asthmatic episode. I focused on the chemokine lymphotactin as a candidate for mediating cell migration to the lungs, and measured the degree to which regulatory T cells could suppress the proliferation of T cells. This work included sorting cells using Flow Cytometry, developing a chemotaxis assay to model cell migration to the lungs, analyzing intracellular and extracellular ligands using specific antibodies, and determining cell proliferation and suppression using radioactive markers.
Some of my work with the Nadeau Lab is described in the following:
Alison Fohner, Khoa D. Nguyen, Alan M. Krensky, Kari C. Nadeau. 2007. “Lymphotactin Improves T reg Function in Ashtmatics via the STAT5 Pathway.” CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY.
Nguyen, Khoa D., Alison Fohner, Jerome D. Booker, Chen Dong, Alan M. Krensky, and et al. 2008. “XCL1 Enhances Regulatory Activities of CD4(+)CD25(High)CD127(Low/-) T Cells In Human Allergic Asthma”. JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY.
Nguyen, Khoa D., Christopher Vanichsarn, Alison Fohner, and Kari C. Nadeau. 2009. “Selective Deregulation In Chemokine Signaling Pathways of CD4(+)CD25(Hi)CD127(Lo/-) Regulatory T Cells In Human Allergic Asthma”. JOURNAL OF ALLERGY AND CLINICAL IMMUNOLOGY.