Yiyi (Jessica) Li ’18



Project Title

Identifying Novel Regulators of T-cell Differentiation in MRSA and Influenza Infections

Over the summer, I interned in Dr. Warren Leonard’s molecular immunology lab. My main project involved the study of differences in T-cell differentiation given the presence of a transcription factor that induce multiple sclerosis. For this project, I isolated and differentiated CD4+ T-cells from primary tissue derived from both wild type and knockdown mice. We then observed the differences in the percentages of naïve CD4+ T-cells that had successfully differentiated into two T-cell lineages using fluorescence labeling and flow cytometry. This research contributes not only to our understanding of multiple sclerosis, but also how T-cells function on a more fundamental level. These insights are applicable to other disease conditions as well. During this project, I walked through a portion of the scientific process, particularly the steps of coming up with an investigatable question and trouble-shooting the protocol – skills which will undoubtedly give me tremendous help in my future research projects.

Internship Year


Project Category



National Institute of Health (NIH), Washington D.C.


Warren Leonard, National Institute of Health