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Maria Bettini, PhD

Languages spoken: English

Academic Information

Departments: Pathology - Associate Professor

Divisions: Microbiology and Immunology

Academic Office Information

(801) 585-6421

Emma Eccles Jones Medical Research Building

15 N Medical Dr E, Room:
Salt Lake City, UT

Dr. Maria Bettini’s work has focused on understanding immunotolerance pathways and their dysregulation in autoimmunity. Dr. Bettini utilizes cutting edge genetic approaches to create systems that advance our knowledge of tissue targeted autoimmunity. Her work has uncovered several pathways that are important in suppression of autoimmune responses, which have therapeutic potential. More recently, Dr. Bettini has made significant advancement in our understanding of regulatory T cell function in autoimmunity and the signaling pathways that modulate Treg functional profile. Her current work is aimed at harnessing this knowledge to improve current cell based therapies for treatment of autoimmune disorders.

Research Statement

The focus of my research is mechanisms of tolerance and their failure in autoimmunity, with primary interest in type 1 diabetes. Our approach is built upon a combination of innovative mouse models of T cell biology and autoimmunity, including mouse and human single T cell receptor retrogenic mice.

Current projects investigate the role of T cell receptor antigen specificity and affinity in function of pathogenic and regulatory T cells in autoimmunity.

Education History

Post Graduate Training St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Postdoctoral Fellow
Post Graduate Training Emory University
Postdoctoral Associate
Doctoral Training Emory University
Immunology and Molecular Pathogenesis
Undergraduate East Tennessee State University
Biology, concentration Biochemistry

Selected Publications

  1. Liu B, Hood JD, Kolawole EM, Woodruff DM, Vignali DA, Bettini M, Evavold BD (2020). A hybrid insulin epitope maintains high 2D affinity for diabetogenic T cells in the periphery. Diabetes.
  2. Bettini M, Scavuzzo MA, Liu B, Kolawole E, Guo L, Evavold BD, Borowiak M, Bettini ML (2019). A critical insulin TCR contact residue selects high affinity and pathogenic insulin specific T cells. Diabetes.
  3. Gu BH, Sprouse ML, Madison MC, Hong MJ, Yuan X, Tung HY, Landers CT, Song LZ, Corry DB, Bettini M, Kheradmand F (2019). A Novel Animal Model of Emphysema Induced by Anti-Elastin Autoimmunity. J Immunol.
  4. Kong Y, Jing Y, Bettini M (2019). Generation of T cell receptor retrogenic mice. Curr Protoc Immunol.
  5. Scavuzzo MA, Hill MC, Chmielowiec J, Yang D, Teaw J, Sheng K, Kong Y, Bettini M, Zong C, Martin JF, Borowiak M (2018). Endocrine lineage biases arise in temporally distinct endocrine progenitors during pancreatic morphogenesis. Nat Commun.
  6. Sprouse ML, Shevchenko I, Scavuzzo MA, Joseph F, Lee T, Blum S, Borowiak M, Bettini ML, Bettini M (2018). Cutting Edge: Low-Affinity TCRs Support Regulatory T Cell Function in Autoimmunity. J Immunol.
  7. Sprouse ML, Scavuzzo MA, Blum S, Shevchenko I, Lee T, Makedonas G, Borowiak M, Bettini ML, Bettini M (2018). High self-reactivity drives T-bet and potentiates Treg function in tissue-specific autoimmunity. JCI Insight.
  8. Zeng Q, Sun X, Xiao L, Xie Z, Bettini M, Deng T (2018). A Unique Population: Adipose-Resident Regulatory T Cells. [Review]. Front Immunol, 9, 2075.
  9. Lee T, Sprouse ML, Banerjee P, Bettini M, Bettini ML (2017). Ectopic Expression of Self-Antigen Drives Regulatory T Cell Development and Not Deletion of Autoimmune T Cells. J Immunol, 199(7), 2270-2278.
  10. Sprouse ML, Blahnik G, Lee T, Tully N, Benarjee P, James EA, Redondo MJ, Bettini ML, Bettini M (2017). Streamlined Single Cell TCR Isolation and Generation of Retroviral Vectors for In Vitro and In Vivo Expression of Human TCRs.LID - 10.3791/55379 [doi]. J Vis Exp, (127).
  11. Zhang Q, Chikina M, Szymczak-Workman AL, Horne W, Kolls JK, Vignali KM, Normolle D, Bettini M, Workman CJ, Vignali DAA (2017). LAG3 limits regulatory T cell proliferation and function in autoimmune diabetes.LID - eaah4569 [pii]LID - 10.1126/sciimmunol.aah4569 [doi]. Sci Immunol, 2(9).
  12. Bettini ML, Bettini M (2017). Understanding Autoimmune Diabetes through the Prism of the Tri-Molecular Complex. [Review]. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne), 8, 351.
  13. Sprouse ML, Blahnik G, Lee T, Tully N, Banerjee P, James EA, Redondo MJ, Bettini ML, Bettini M (2016). Rapid identification and expression of human TCRs in retrogenic mice. J Immunol Methods, 439, 29-36.
  14. Lee T, Shevchenko I, Sprouse ML, Bettini M, Bettini ML (2016). Retroviral Transduction of Bone Marrow Progenitor Cells to Generate T-cell Receptor Retrogenic Mice.LID - 10.3791/54196 [doi]. J Vis Exp, (113).
  15. Bettini M, Blanchfield L, Castellaw A, Zhang Q, Nakayama M, Smeltzer MP, Zhang H, Hogquist KA, Evavold BD, Vignali DA (2014). TCR affinity and tolerance mechanisms converge to shape T cell diabetogenic potential. J Immunol, 193(2), 571-9.
  16. Bettini ML, Bettini M, Nakayama M, Guy CS, Vignali DA (2013 Oct). Generation of T cell receptor-retrogenic mice: improved retroviral-mediated stem cell gene transfer. Nat Protoc, 8(10), 1837-40.
  17. Bettini ML, Bettini M, Vignali DA (2012). T-cell receptor retrogenic mice: a rapid, flexible alternative to T-cell receptor transgenic mice. [Review]. Immunology, 136(3), 265-72.
  18. Bettini M, Castellaw AH, Lennon GP, Burton AR, Vignali DA (2012). Prevention of autoimmune diabetes by ectopic pancreatic beta-cell expression of interleukin-35. Diabetes, 61(6), 1519-26.
  19. Bettini ML, Pan F, Bettini M, Finkelstein D, Rehg JE, Floess S, Bell BD, Ziegler SF, Huehn J, Pardoll DM, Vignali DA (2012). Loss of epigenetic modification driven by the Foxp3 transcription factor leads to regulatory T cell insufficiency. Immunity, 36(5), 717-30.
  20. Bettini M, Vignali DA (2011 Dec). T cell-driven initiation and propagation of autoimmune diabetes. [Review]. Curr Opin Immunol, 23(6), 754-60.
  21. Bettini M, Szymczak-Workman AL, Forbes K, Castellaw AH, Selby M, Pan X, Drake CG, Korman AJ, Vignali DA (2011 Oct 1). Cutting edge: accelerated autoimmune diabetes in the absence of LAG-3. J Immunol, 187(7), 3493-8.
  22. Workman CJ, Collison LW, Bettini M, Pillai MR, Rehg JE, Vignali DA (2011). In vivo Treg suppression assays. Methods Mol Biol.
  23. Bettini M, Vignali DA (2009 Dec). Regulatory T cells and inhibitory cytokines in autoimmunity. [Review]. Curr Opin Immunol, 21(6), 612-8.
  24. Lennon GP, Bettini M, Burton AR, Vincent E, Arnold PY, Santamaria P, Vignali DA (2009 Oct 16). T cell islet accumulation in type 1 diabetes is a tightly regulated, cell-autonomous event. Immunity, 31(4), 643-53.
  25. Bettini M, Rosenthal K, Evavold BD (2009). Pathogenic MOG-reactive CD8+ T cells require MOG-reactive CD4+ T cells for sustained CNS inflammation during chronic EAE. J Neuroimmunol, 213(1-2), 60-8.
  26. Zakharova M, Ziegler HK (2005). Paradoxical anti-inflammatory actions of TNF-alpha: inhibition of IL-12 and IL-23 via TNF receptor 1 in macrophages and dendritic cells. J Immunol, 175(8), 5024-33.