Signaling and gene regulation in thymus development, activation, differentiation and death of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells
Mercedes earned her Ph.D. in Immunology at Hospital de la Princesa/Univ. Autonoma de Madrid, Spain (1990). She continued her research at Yale University, School of Medicine in CT (1991-1996). Mercedes joined the Department of Medicine – Immunobiology Program at UVM in 1996 and was promoted to full Professor in 2009. Since 1997, Mercedes has been the Director of the UVM Transgenic Mouse Facility.
Dr. Rincï¿½nï¿½s research interests cover a broad spectrum of scientific areas.
1. The role of IL-6 in the immune response and diseases. Dr. Rincï¿½n is one of the leaders studying the role of IL-6 in CD4 T cell differentiation and cytokine production (since 1996) and has provided a number of important contributions. Her group has shown the role of IL-6 in Th2 and Th1 differentiation, and more recently on IL-21 production by CD4 T cells, and its implication on antibody production on B cells. Dr. Rinconï¿½s studies on IL-6 expand from in vitro in primary mouse and human CD4 T cells to in vivo mouse models (e.g. IL-6 in influenza virus vaccines and infection, IL-6 on allergic airway inflammation) and further to bench site (IL-6 in asthmatic patients and IL-6 on rheumatoid arthritis patients).
2. The role of p38 MAPK in thymocyte development and T cell activation/death. Dr. Rincï¿½n is a pioneer studying the role of the p38 MAP kinase signaling pathway in CD4 T cell differentiation, CD8 T cell death, and more recently its ï¿½non-classicalï¿½ functions in early thymocyte development. She is interested on the role of p38 MAPK in the induction of G2/M cell cycle checkpoint in immature developing thymocytes. In addition, recent studies on p38 MAPK in thmocytes have led her to identify a novel mechanism by which p38 MAPK can mediate cell survival (an unconventional function of this pathway) through the regulation of GSK3Î². Her group is actively dissecting when p38 MAPK provides survival and what are the mechanisms.
3. Mechanism of chemoresistance in breast cancer. Another independent area of interest for Dr. Rincï¿½n is breast cancer and chemotherapy response. Her initial studies on the role of IL-6 in regulating breast cancer cell response to chemotherapy have been followed by studies on a novel molecule, MCJ/DnaJC15 cochaperone, also in breast cancer chemotherapy response. Her studies in breast cancer go from in vitro molecular analysis, to in vivo mouse models of mammary cancer and human breast cancer patients. Dr. Rincï¿½nï¿½s interests are not only on molecular mechanisms, but moving bench work to clinical translational research in the breast cancer area.
Neveu WA, Allard JL, Raymond DM, Bourassa LM, Burns SM, Bunn JY, Irvin CG, Kaminsky DA, Rincón M. (2010) Elevation of IL-6 in the allergic asthmatic airways is independent of inflammation but associates with loss of central airway function. Respir. Res. 11, 28-38.
Thornton, T.M. and Rincón, M. (2009) “Non-classical p38 MAP kinase functions: cell cycle checkpoints and survival”. Int. J. Biol. Sci. 5, 44-55
Neveu, W.A., Allard, J.B., Dienz, O., Wargo, M.J., Ciliberto, G., Whittaker, L. and Rincón, M. (2009) “IL-6 is required for airway mucus production induced by inhaled fungal allergens” J. Immunol. 183, 1732-1738.
Rincon, M. and Davis, R.J. (2009) “ Regulation of the immune response by stress-activated protein kinases”. Immunological Reviews. 228, 212-224
Dienz, O. and Rincon, M. (2009) “The effects of IL-6 on CD4 T cell responses” Clinical Immunol. 130, 27-33.
* indicates equal contribution
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