Alexander L. Dent, Ph.D.

Professor of Microbiology & Immunology

Summary of the focus of the research of Dr. Dent

Control of CD4 T cell differentiation, with particular emphasis on follicular helper cells (Tfh cells) and regulatory T cells (Treg cells).  Control of the antibody response and autoimmunity by Tfh cells.  Regulation CD4 T cell memory.  HIV vaccine development.  

Description and summary of research focus of the laboratory

My lab is interested in the regulation of the immune response by CD4 T cells.  We are particularly interested in Tfh cell differentiation and function and how Tfh cells regulate the antibody response during infection as well as autoimmunity.   We study the transcription factor BCL6, which is critical for both Tfh cell differentiation and the differentiation of germinal center B cells and antibody-secreting plasma cells.  We are also interested in a novel subset of regulatory T cells that control Tfh cells and B cells.  This work has implications for vaccine development, and we are currently analyzing the functions of Tfh cells in HIV vaccine regimens.

  • Hollister, K., Chen, Y., Wang, S., Wu, H., Mondal, A., Clegg, N., Lu, S., Dent, A.L. “The role of follicular helper T cells and the germinal center in HIV-1 gp120 DNA prime and gp120 protein boost vaccination”, HVIT 10: 1985–1992 (2014) (PMC in process)
  • Hollister, K., Kusam, S., Wu, H., Clegg, N., Mondal, A., Sawant, D. and Dent, A.L. "Insights into the Role of Bcl6 in Follicular Helper T Cells Using a New Conditional Mutant Mouse Model" J. Immunol. 191:3705-11 (2013) (PMC3783642)
  • Sawant, D.V., Sehra, S., Nguyen, E. T., Jadhav, R., Englert, K., Shinnakasu, R., Hangoc, G., Broxmeyer, H.E., Nakayama, T., Perumal, N.B., Kaplan, M.H., Dent, A.L."Bcl6 Controls the Th2 Inflammatory Activity of Regulatory T Cells by Repressing Gata3 Function" J. Immunol., 189: 4759-4769 (2012) (PMC3490013)         
  • Sawant, D., Mondal, A. and Dent, A.L."The Transcriptional Repressor BCL6 Controls Th17 Responses by Controlling Gene Expression in Both T cells and Macrophages" J. Immunol. 184: 4123-32 (2010) PMID: 20212093 (free full text)
  • Johnston, R.J., Poholek, A.C., Yusuf, I., DiToro, D., Eto, D., Barnett, B., Dent, A.L., Craft, J. and S. Crotty. “Bcl6 and Blimp-1 are reciprocal and antagonistic regulators of follicular helper (Tfh) CD4 T cell differentiation”, Science, 325:1006-1010 (2009) (PMC2766560)


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  • B.Sc., 1985: University of California, Los Angeles
  • Ph.D., 1991: University of California, San Diego
  • Post Doctoral, 1992-1998: National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD

Department of Microbiology and Immunology | IU School of Medicine | 635 Barnhill Drive, MS 420 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | (317) 274-0506