School of Medicine
Thomas C. Mitchell, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the School of Medicine. His laboratory, part of the Institute for Cellular Therapeutics, focuses on immune system cells known as "T-cells."
Specifically, Mitchell is studying molecular details of how the body tells T cells to turn on and off at the right time to fight infection and prevent tissue damage. T cells play a central role in organizing and executing the body's defenses against infectious pathogens, and a variety of diseases are related to their function either because these cells don't respond when they should, as in the case of infectious diseases, or because they respond when they should not, as with autoimmune disorders such as Type I diabetes. Identifying the molecules and signaling pathways that control T cell responses should lead to new drugs for treating or curing these diseases.
Mitchell also studies ways to make vaccines work better through the use of a new generation of adjuvants, substances added to vaccines to make them work faster, stronger and for longer periods of time. They may also have applications for the treatment of autoimmune disease.
Mitchell has published more than 30 peer-reviewed papers in top-tier scientific journals including Science, Nature Immunology, Immunity, the Journal of Experimental Medicine and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Mitchell's research is supported by the National Institutes of Health.
A member of the American Association of Immunologists, the American Association of Microbiologists, the Society for Leukocyte Biology, the Center for Genetics and Molecular Medicine and the James Graham Brown Cancer Center, Mitchell earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He completed fellowships at the University of Wisconsin's McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the National Jewish Medical and Research Center before joining U of L.