Dr. Shannon Dunn is an adjunct scientist at Women’s College Research Institute and currently leads a research program focused on various risk factors for the development of T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. Currently, she is exploring the role of female sex in autoimmune development and has been making strides in understanding why female immune cells initiate autoimmune disease more readily than male immune cells. She has discovered that female T cells not only expand more in response to the same auto-antigen stimulus, but also produce higher levels of a pro-inflammatory cytokine called interferon gamma that is important for the initiation of autoimmunity.
In additions, Dr. Dunn is exploring the role of a family of nuclear receptors, called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, in dampening the activity of autoreactive T cells in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis and is trying to develop new models for the progressive stage of this disease.
Dr. Dunn holds operating grants from the Canadian Institute of Health Research and MS Society of Canada to conduct her research and has been awarded a Don Paty Salary award from the MS Society of Canada. She also holds an appointment with the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto.