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Joel Crespo
e-mail address: jlcrespo@umich.edu

Mentor: Weiping Zou, MD, PhD

Research Description

Naïve T cells are thought to be quiescent cells with no active functional characteristics. After activation, the majority of microRNAs are reduced in naïve T cells. We observed that some naïve T cells highly expressed certain effector cytokines and probably certain microRNAs. These cytokine expressing naïve T cells were found in peripheral blood and tumor tissues, and enriched in umbilical cord blood. After TCR engagement, these naïve T cells lose their cytokine expression. Our research goals are to understand the phenotype and sources of these naïve T cells,  determine whether these naïve T cells play an active role in functionally shaping the immune response, and explore the mechanisms by which they maintain their effector property in the context of naïve nature.


Crespo J, Sun H, Welling TH, Tian Z, Zou W. 2013. T cell anergy, exhaustion, senescence, and stemness in the tumor microenvironment. Curr Opin Immunol 25: 214-21



Eli Lilly Scholar Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Leadership Alliance Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training Program-MHIRT

Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (MBRS- RISE)


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