Dr. Oktay Kirak
T: +49 (0)761 270-44000
Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
Center for Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (Zentrum für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin)
The goal of the Kirak lab is to gain new insights into the role of T and B cells in cancer, autoimmune diseases and immunodeficiencies.
Autoimmune diabetes, also known as type-1 diabetes (T1D), is caused by the destruction of insulin-secreting beta-cells in the pancreas by the patient’s own immune system.
The non-obese diabetic (NOD) mouse model develops T1D spontaneously and closely resembles the pathology found in human patients. Using Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT or NT), the Kirak lab is at the forefront in developing novel T and B cell mouse model on pure NOD background not only to better understand the development of T1D, but also to find new therapeutic approaches.
Our immune system has the capability to eliminate cancer cells, and thus protect us from cancer. However, two major problems are limiting efficient elimination of cancer cells through our immune system: i) anti-tumor CD8 T cells might become exhausted or not kill sufficiently well, and ii) regulatory CD4 T cells might suppress potential protective immune responses. In order to better understand these problems, the Kirak lab is developing novel T cell models by using Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT or NT).
Embryonic Stem Cells
Embryonic stem (ES) cells are pluripotent and have the capacity to differentiate into any cell type of the body. Thus, ES cells are powerful tools to better understand the development of cells and organs, and for potential future therapeutic applications. In the Kirak lab, we are mainly interested in the development of fully functional pancreatic beta-cells and their interaction with immune cells.
Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer
Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT or NT) is a powerful tool to epigenetically reprogram somatic cells. Dr. Kirak has pioneered the use of SCNT to develop novel T and B cell mouse models that express their antigen receptors from their physiological TCR and BCR regions, respectively.
- Deconstructive SCNT reveals novel regulatory T-cell subsets. Ku M2, Ke E2, Sabouri-Ghomi M2, Abadejos JR2, Freeman B, Nham A, Phillips N, Yang KY, Lui KO, Kirak O. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 142 (3), 997-1000 (2018) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2018.04.038
- Nuclear Transfer nTreg model reveals fate-determining TCRb-β and novel peripheral nTreg precursors. Ku M, Chang SE, Hernandez J, Abadejos JR, Sabouri-Ghomi M, Muenchmeier NJ, Schwarz A, Valenica A, Kirak O. PNAS, 113 (16), E2316-25 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1523664113
- A novel, nonanaphylactogenic, bispecific IgE-CD3 antibody eliminates IgE+ B cells. Kirak O1, Riethmueller G1. J Allergy Clin Immunol, 136 (3), 800-2, (2015). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaci.2015.02.017
- CD8+ T Cells from Mice Transnuclear for a TCR that Recognizes a Single H-2Kb-Restricted MHV68 Epitope Derived from gB-ORF8 Help Control Infection. Sehrawat S2, Kirak O2, Koenig PA, Isaacson MK, Marques S, Bozkurt G, Simas JP, Jaenisch R, Ploegh HL. Cell Reports, 1 (5), 461 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2012.03.009
- Transnuclear mice with pre-defined T Cell Receptor specificities against Toxoplasma gondii obtained via SCNT. Kirak O1, Frickel EM, Grotenbreg GM, Suh H, Jaenisch R1, Ploegh HL1. J Vis Exp, 43 (2010). https://doi.org/10.3791/2168
- Transnuclear mice with pre-defined T Cell Receptor specificities against Toxoplasma gondii obtained via SCNT. Kirak O1, Frickel EM, Grotenbreg GM, Suh H, Jaenisch R1, Ploegh HL1. Science 328, 243 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1178590
- Microfluidic control of cell pairing and fusion. Skelley AM2, Kirak O2, Suh H, Jaenisch R, Voldman J. Nat Methods 6, 147 (2009). https://dx.doi.org/10.1038%2Fnmeth.1290