Lymphocyte defects in X-linked lymphoproliferative disease
Dr. Ala Aoukaty has spent nine years investigating anti-viral and anti-tumour cells. Aoukaty's doctoral research focused on understanding the signalling process that occurs after receptors on the surface of cells are engaged. That experience provided him with a strong background to conduct postdoctoral research on X-linked lymphoproliferative disease (XLP), a fatal disorder caused by a genetic mutation and characterized by severe infectious mononucleosis, immune deficiency and malignant lymphomas (tumours). A large Aboriginal family that carries the genetic mutation has been identified. Aoukaty will isolate and study cells from XLP patients and carriers of the disease in the family to study the abnormal immune responses at work. The research will shed light on how the immune system specifically responds to Epstein-Barr virus, which causes infectious mononucleosis, provide insights in general about lymphoproliferative disorders (diseases of immune system tissue), and enable the testing of gene replacement therapies.