Department of Immunology

Jakob von Moltke, Ph.D.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF IMMUNOLOGY

Dr. von Moltke graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He went on to receive his Masters of Arts in Biotechnology in 2007 from Columbia University and his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed his postdoctoral training in the Locksley lab at the University of California, San Francisco, and joined the University of Washington Department of Immunology as an Assistant Professor in 2016.

CONTACT INFO

Office: 206.685.8893
Lab: 206.616.3561

Department of Immunology
UW Box 358059
750 Republican St.
Seattle, WA 98109-8059

RESEARCH AREAS

Mucosal Immunology
Innate Immunity
Infectious Disease
Asthma & Allergy

LAB MEMBERS

Graduate Students
Tyler Billipp, tbillipp@uw.edu
Jack McGinty, jmcgin@uw.edu
Marija Nadjsombati, mnadjsom@uw.edu

Postdoctoral Scholars
Anna Ting, tingha@uw.edu
Alison Stanbery, aloestan@uw.edu

Laboratory Staff
Macy Matheson, mathesom@uw.edu
Danish Khan, danishkmk@uw.edu

LAB

Visit the Moltke Lab site.

ACCEPTING NEW STUDENTS: YES

PUBMED

Publications on PubMed

 

RESEARCH

The Moltke lab studies immune responses to parasitic worms (helminths) and allergens. These responses, collectively known as type 2 immunity, are triggered by an astonishing diversity of agonists, from macroscopic live worms to microscopic inert particles to soluble enzymes. How do these all look the same to the mammalian immune system? To answer this question, we focus on the initiation of type 2 immunity, when the immune system first encounters a disturbance and must decide how to respond. Using laboratory mice and the helminths Nippostrongylus brasiliensis and Heligmosomoides polygyrus as model organisms, our goal is to provide insights that will lead to improved treatment and prevention of asthma, allergy, and other type 2 inflammatory conditions.

Among the first cells activated during a type 2 response are the group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s). ILC2s serve as the predominant early source of the cytokines that together give rise to many of the hallmarks of type 2 immunity, such as eosinophilia, increased mucus production, hypercontractility of smooth muscle, and tissue remodeling. Importantly, ILC2s cannot directly sense the presence of type 2 agonists (worms, allergens, etc.) and are instead activated by signals from their surrounding tissue. The identity, source, and regulation of these ILC2-activating signals are the current focus of projects in the lab.

We are particularly interested in specialized epithelial cells called tuft cells. Although they were discovered more than 50 years ago, the function of tuft cells remained unclear. Recently, we and others demonstrated that tuft cells are the exclusive source of the ILC2-activating cytokine IL-25 in the intestine. During worm infection, a feed forward loop comprised of tuft cells, ILC2s, and the epithelial stem cell compartment leads to dramatic epithelial remodeling, and without tuft cell-derived IL-25, worm clearance is delayed. We are currently investigating how else tuft cells contribute to the type 2 immune response.

PUBLICATIONS

Full list of publications available at this link.