Louise D'Cruz, PhD

Louise D'Cruz, PhD


Campus: 200 Lothrop St

Office: E1057 BSTWR

Lab: 1000 Bay 24B and 25A

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Ph: 412-383 5976

Fax: 412-383-8098



  • B.S. - Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • Ph.D. - Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria
  • Postdoc - University of California San Diego

Academic Affiliation

  • Assistant Professor

About Research

Our research interests explore the molecular mechanisms regulating Natural Killer T (NKT) cells, unique innate-like cells of the immune system, capable of swift activation and production of cytokines.  While specific transcription factors and signaling molecules have been shown to be important for early stage development of NKT cells, many of the factors required for their maturation, maintenance and activation in the periphery remain unknown.

Recent data indicate NKT cells can be subdivided into distinct sublineages: NKT1 cells expressing the transcription factor TBET, NKT2 cells expressing PLZF and NKT17 cells expressing RORγt. Our current results provide new evidence that the transcription factors the E proteins, as well as the transcriptional regulators Id2 and Id3, control the differentiation of these subsets.

Our future directions will focus on the factors regulating NKT cells activation during infection, as well as the molecules required for their unresponsive or ‘anergic’ phase. Our research program will assess the role of these factors in NKT cell sublineage responses in both healthy animals and animals suffering from various pathologies. Greater understanding of the mechanisms controlling NKT cell activation and anergy will be essential for the utilization of these cells in the fight against infectious disease, autoimmunity and cancer.



Selected Publications

Stradner MH, Cheung KP, Lasorella A, Goldrath AW and D'Cruz LM. Id2 regulates hyporesposive invariant natural killer T cells.

Immunology and Cell Biology 2016, Feb 16 doi: 10.1038/icb.2016.19


Buechel HM, Stradner MH and D'Cruz LM. Stages versus subsets: invariant Natural Killer T cell lineage differentiation.

Cytokine 2015, Apr 72(2): 204-9

D’Cruz LM*, Stradner MH*, Yang CY and Goldrath AW. E and Id proteins influence invariant Natural Killer T cell sublineage differentiation and proliferation. The Journal of Immunology 2014, Mar 1; 192(5): 2227-36

*co-contributing authors

Knell J, Best JA, Lind NA, Yang E, D’Cruz LM* and Goldrath AW*. Id2 influences differentiation of killer cell lectin-like receptor G1hi short-lived CD8+ effector T cells. The Journal of Immunology 2013 Feb; 190(4): 1501-9

*co-contributing authors

D’Cruz LM, Camfield Lind K, Wu B, Fujimoto JK and Goldrath AW.Loss of E protein transcription factors E2A and HEB delays memory-precursor formation during the CD8+ T cell immune response. European Journal of Immunology 2012 Aug; 42 (8): 2031-41.

D’Cruz LM, Yang CY and Goldrath AW.Transcriptional regulation of NKT cell development and homeostasis. Current Opinion in Immunology 2010 Apr; 22(2): 199-205

D’Cruz LM, Knell J, Fujimoto JK and Goldrath AW. An essential role for the transcription factor HEB in thymocyte survival, Tcra rearrangement and development of Natural Killer T cells. Nature Immunology 2010 Mar; 11(3): 240-9

Monticelli LA, Yang Y, Knell J, D’Cruz LM, Cannarile MA, Engel I, Kronenberg M and Goldrath AW. Transcriptional regulator Id2 controls survival of hepatic NKT cells. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences 2009 Nov 17;(46): 19461-6

Aschenbrenner K, D’Cruz LM, Vollman EH, Hinterberger M, Emmerich J, Swee LK, Rolink A and Klein, L. Selection of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells specific for self-antigen expressed and presented by Aire+ medullary thymic epithelial cells. Nature Immunology 2007 Apr; 8(4): 351-8

D’Cruz LM and Klein L. Development and function of agonist-induced CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells in the absence of interleukin 2 signaling. Nature Immunology 2005 Nov; 6(11): 1152-9

Complete List of Publication

Lab Information

Graduate students interested in rotating in the lab should contact Dr. Louise D'Cruz (ldcruz@pitt.edu).