Boston Children's Researcher Spotlight:
Florian Winau, MD, Investigator in the Program of Cellular and Molecular Medicine
In this monthly new showcase, TIDO will highlight an up and coming researcher within the Boston Children's community by asking him/her three questions about their research. Florian Winau, MD, who is studying antigen presentation and T cell biology, is our first highlighted researcher.
Florian Winau, MD
Q: What drives you as a scientist?
Florian: Pure curiosity. Though challenging, it is very rewarding and satisfying to find out new things. To follow the development of a research project from the initial idea, via first experiments, the collaboration with fellow scientists, the sharing of new insights that ideally become an integral part of a larger context of the scientific community and community in general – to me, all these are important aspects and the essence of culture.
Q: What is unique about your research?
We study antigen presentation and T cell biology. Antigens are foreign substances like from a virus, e.g., which are recognized by the immune system. T lymphocytes are essential players of immunity and help to fight infections and cancer. Moreover, we are interested in the role of lipids in these processes, either acting as antigens or as regulators of immune responses.
We work on a variety of projects, including liver immunology, skin inflammation, gut immunity, and immune responses to tumors and viral infection.
Q: What unmet needs does your research aim to solve?
We hope that our basic research will lead to the understanding of immunological mechanisms and the identification of novel targets for therapy. In this context, our work on stellate cells in the liver is important for hepatitis, liver cancer, and hepatic fibrosis.
Our work on T cells in the skin leads to potential new treatments against inflammatory skin diseases, such as psoriasis.
The studies on intestinal immunity have impact on inflammatory bowel disease.
Finally, our work on mechanisms of controlling T cell activation bears implications for immunologic memory and vaccine design against viral infections.