Alexander L. Dent

Alexander L. Dent, PhD

Professor of Microbiology & Immunology


I grew up in Los Angeles CA and I did my undergraduate studies at UCLA. I did my doctoral studies in immunology at UC San Diego. I then did a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Cancer Institutue at the NIH in Besthesda, MD. I joined IUSM as a tenure track faculty member in 1998.

Overall, I have an extensive background and training in molecular and cellular immunology. Throughout my career I have developed several important transgenic and knockout mouse models that have been widely used by various labs and in multiple high profile publications. 

As an independent investigator, I am extremely interested in understanding the control of immune responses by the transcriptional repressor Bcl6, and particularly the role of Bcl6 in follicular helper T (TFH) cells, a T helper subclass that is required for high affinity antibody production. Recent work has identified Bcl6 as a master controlling transcription factor for TFH cells, and Bcl6 also controls the development of follicular repressor T (TFR) cells, which repress TFH cells and germinal centers. We have developed a conditional knockout mouse for Bcl6, which has facilitated the analysis of Bcl6 in specific cell types. We have used these conditional Bcl6 mice to probe the functions of both TFH and TFR cells. TFR cells are typically derived from TREG cells but have increased expression of TFH genes such as CXCR5 and Bcl6, and thus have properties of both TREG cells and TFH cells. Little is known about the regulation and overall functional importance of TFR cells. Our mouse strains have allowed us to make several new observations about both TFH and TFR cell function in immune responses. Most recently we are studying the regulation of IgE and food allergy responses by TFH and TFR cells.


Key Publications

1) Wu, H., Chen, Y., Liu, H., Xu, L-L, Teuscher, P., Wang, S., Lu, S., Dent, A.L. "Follicular Regulatory T cells Repress Cytokine Production by Follicular Helper T cells and Optimize IgG Responses in Mice", Eur. J. Immunol. doi: 10.1002/eji.201546094 (2016) (PMID:26887860)

          2) Hollister, K., Kusam, S., Wu, H., Clegg, N., Mondal, A., Sawant, D. and Dent, A.L. "Insights into the role of Bcl6 in follicular helper T cells using a new conditional mutant mouse model." J. Immunol. 191:3705-11 (2013) (PMC3783642)

3) Kobayashi, T., Iijima. K., Dent, A.L., Kita, H. “IL-4-Producing Follicular Helper T (Tfh) Cells Mediate IgE Antibody Response to Airborne Allergens Independently of Th2 Cells”, J. Clin. Invest., pii: S0091-6749(16)30289-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2016.04.021.(2016)(epub ahead of print)

4) Xie, M.M., Koh, B.-H., Hollister, K., Wu, H., Sun, J., Kaplan, M.H., Dent, A.L.Bcl6 Promotes Follicular Helper T-Cell Differentiation and PD-1 Expression in a Blimp1-independent Manner”, Eur. J. Immunol. doi:  10.1002/eji.201747034 (2017)

5) Xie, M.M., Amet, T., Liu, H., Yu, Q., Dent, A.L. “AMP Kinase Promotes Bcl6 Expression in both Mouse and Human T cells”, Mol. Immunol. 81:67-75 (2017)


(317) 274-7524 

Microbiology & Immunology
R2 302 950 W. Walnut St.
Indianapolis, IN