News Release

Uncovering “blockbuster T cells” in the gut wins NOSTER & Science Microbiome Prize

Reports and Proceedings

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

In the gut, dozens of strains of bacteria exert different effects on the immune system that in turn impact our health – fending off pathogens, helping digest food and maybe even influencing behavior. But pinpointing which bacteria exert which effects has been challenging. Better understanding this process could lead to a powerful way to treat a host of diseases. For developing a method by which to zero in on individual gut bacterium’s impacts on T cells, Kazuki Nagashima, a senior research scientist at Stanford University, is the winner of this year’s NOSTER & Science Microbiome Prize, which rewards innovative research by young investigators working on attributes of the microbiota with potential to guide therapeutic interventions. Nagashima’s work showed that – contrary to what has been thought – some T cells in the gut can interact with multiple bacteria. Nagashima dubbed these T cells “blockbuster” T cells. “This discovery presents a therapeutic opportunity to skew gut immune reaction [in therapeutically useful ways],” said Nagashima in his prize-winning essay.

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