"This summer (2016), I am conducting research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to study the immune response following a flu infection. My project explores the basis for CD4+ T cell activation, a step that is crucial for antibody production and viral clearance. Traditionally, antigen presenting cells have been thought to activate CD4+ T cells by presenting antigens processed from extracellular viral proteins. However, previous work in my lab has shown that alternative processing of endogenously produced antigens may play a bigger role in inducing CD4+ T cell response during viral infections. My project aims to further demonstrate the important role of endogenous processing and support our hypothesis that endogenous processing is the main driving force of CD4+ T cell response during viral infections.

This experience so far has been so wonderful and exciting. I have been interested in immunology for a long time and finally decided to explore the field as an option for my future career. Learning new techniques and kicking off my own projects have kept me busy and fulfilled for the last couple of weeks. Most of my days are spent running from one experiment to another. When things become too hectic, a quick look out of the window from my desk never fails to calm me down." - Wenzhi Song '17