Miguel López-Botet (see linked CV) worked as staff member at Hospital Universitario de la Princesa (Univ. Autónoma de Madrid, 1985-1999). In 2000, he was appointed Full Professor at the Univ. Pompeu Fabra (UPF, Barcelona) where he is teaching Immunology. Since 2006 he is Scientific Director of IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) and Head of the Immunology Service.
Scope of research: Natural Killer (NK) cell receptors in the innate immune response
Our scientific interest has been focussed for over 20 years on the biology of human Natural Killer (NK) cells, which are involved in the innate immune response against infections and tumors. NK cell functions are under the control of a number of inhibitory and activating receptors. Knowledge on the genetics, distribution, and function of these molecules and their corresponding ligands is essential to understand the biological and roles of NK cells, as well as their immunotherapeutic potential. Characterization of CD94/NKG2 and ILT2 (LIR1, CD85j, LILRB1) receptors which recognize HLA class I molecules represent the most relevant contributions of the team in the past.
Currently, our research addresses the study of the innate immune response against cytomegalovirus (CMV), a herpesvirus highly prevalent in all human populations which establishes a life-long persistent infection. CMV may cause severe congenital neurological disorders in newborns, and constitutes a common complication for immunocompromised individuals (e.g transplant recipients). In addition, CMV may contribute to the senescence of the immune system and influence the development of atherosclerosis.
Our team originally reported that CMV may promote a marked and persistent reconfiguration of the human NK cell compartment in healthy individuals and in pathological conditions. The molecular mechanisms underlying this effect, as well as its putative implications for the response to other microbial pathogens and tumours are currently being addressed.