Lab team meeting during the time of COVID-19
The Lieberman lab studies cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) that are key cells in immune defense against viral infection and cancer. When CTL recognize an infected or transformed cell, they release the contents of their cytolytic granules into the synaptic cleft formed with the target cell. These granules contain serine proteases called granzymes, which induce programmed cell death or apoptosis. A major focus of the lab is studying the molecular pathways activated by the granzymes. Granzyme A, the most abundant CTL protease, induces a novel form of apoptosis that is independent of the caspase pathway and results in single strand nicks of DNA. The Lieberman lab has identified novel mechanisms of mitochondrial and DNA damage activated by granzyme A. Other work aims to understand how cytotoxic T lymphocyte function is regulated, particularly in chronic infections. The Lieberman lab also studies how RNA interference (RNAi) regulates normal cell differentiation and how it goes awry in cancer. A major focus is figuring out how RNAi can be harnessed to develop drugs to treat or prevent viral infection and cancer. Our group was the first to show that RNAi could be the basis for therapy in an animal model. Another active area of research is developing ways of targeting small RNAs into specific cell types in vivo.
The Lieberman Lab is part of the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children's Hospital. The lab is affiliated with Harvard Medical School Immunology Program, Harvard Genetics Program, and Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
JAMA review of RNAi therapies, November 2018
Microbial Murder Mystery Solved, November 2017
By KAT J. McAlpine. Image: luchschen/Getty Images
Nature Biotechnology review of RNAi based therapeutics, March 2017
Nature Milestones in Antisense RNA, December 2019