Miguel López-Botet holds a joint appointment as Professor of Immunology at University Pompeu Fabra (UPF) and staff consultant at Hospital del Mar/IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute). His research laboratory is located at the UPF premises in Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB).
The team has a long-standing and internationally recognized experience on the biology of human Natural Killer (NK) cells, which are involved in the immune response against infections and tumors. Most relevant past contributions were the characterization of CD94/NKG2 and ILT2 (LIR1, CD85j, LILRB1) receptors specific for HLA class I molecules.
The role of NK cells in the response to human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is currently being studied. HCMV infection may cause severe congenital neurological disorders in newborns, and constitutes a common complication for immunocompromised individuals (e.g. transplant recipients).
We originally reported that HCMV may promote a marked reconfiguration of the NK cell compartment. Our attention is oriented to: a) unravel the mechanism(s) of this pattern of adaptive NK cell response to the viral infection; b) explore its implications in the immune response to other pathogens and tumors, as well as in the pathophysiology of inflammatory disorders.
These issues are being addressed both at the experimental level and through collaborations with clinical teams at Hospital del Mar (Nephrology-Renal Transplantation, Oncology and Neurology) and Hospital U. Sant Joan de Déu. Studies in Cancer are specifically coordinated by Dr. Aura Muntasell, IMIM investigator.