“I have always had a passion for science and wanted to engage in research that could have a positive effect on people’s lives.”

Allison Bayer, Ph.D.

Allison Bayer, Ph.D., is Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Dr. Bayer received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the Medical University of South Carolina. She has always had a strong interest in doing research that had the potential to be tested in the clinical setting. Her dissertation research took place in a transplant immunology laboratory and focused on the role of the transferrin receptor in T cell activation under the mentorship of Drs. Prabhakar Baliga and Gillian Galbraith.

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She joined the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Malek in 2002 for her post-doctoral training at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Together with Dr. Thomas Malek, Dr. Bayer has demonstrated that regulatory T cells are critical regulators of self-tolerance and can induce transplantation tolerance to allografts. She has further showed that IL-2/IL-2R interaction is critical for Treg cell development and maintenance.

As reported in the Journal of Immunology, her team established an important function for IL-7R for the development of natural T regulatory cells. This will be an important line of future investigation, as polymorphism in the IL-7Ra gene that likely leads to reduced IL-7R signaling, is an autoimmune susceptibility gene for both multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Bayer’s research focuses on understanding the basic immunobiology of regulatory T cells and applying that knowledge for future clinical translational applications. She hopes that her work will lead to the design of novel therapies for a non-toxic approach to tolerance induction with the ultimate goal of achieving both self-tolerance and transplantation tolerance for the treatment of type 1 diabetes patients.

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