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

The D’Cruz lab studies the interplay between adipose tissue and fatty acids and the cells of the immune system. With the growing global obesity epidemic, it is becoming increasingly clear that adipose tissue resident cells including effector T cells, NKT cells and regulatory T cells play a critical role in affecting local and systemic inflammation. Under obese conditions, these T cell populations are often perturbed, making them intriguing candidates for manipulation to prevent obesity associated diseases including type II diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndrome.


Transcriptional regulation of adipose T cells

One focus of our lab is understanding how different transcription factors such as E proteins, Id proteins, Blimp-1 and Atf3 regulate adipose regulatory T cells (aTregs). Using a variety of mouse models including reporter and conditional knock-out strains, we are investigating how these distinct transcriptional regulators can promote or impede the differentiation, survival and function of aTregs.


Function of adipose effector and memory T cells

Our lab have discovered that CD8+ effector and memory T cells are enriched in the adipose tissue after chronic viral infection. Using a number of innovative techniques including fat transplantation, high fat diet and infection with acute and chronic virus, we are exploring the function of these adipose tissue resident cells in response to repeat infection.


Kinetics and transcriptional regulation of adipose invariant Natural Killer T cells

Previous studies have demonstrated an important function for invariant Natural Killer T (iNKT) cells in preventing inflammation under obese and high fat diet conditions. We are investigating how the kinetics of iNKT cells differ from that of lymphoid resident iNKT cells. Furthermore, we are determining the necessary transcription factors required for adipose iNKT cell survival and activation.


Exploring how lysophosphatidylcholine transport affects the CD8+ immune response

Lysophospatidylcholine (LPC) can transport esterified long chain fatty acids (LCFAs) across the plasma membrane using the transporter protein MFSD2A. MFSD2A is highly upregulated on activated CD4 and CD8 T cells. Using MFSD2A conditional deficient mice, we are exploring how loss of LPC coupled LCFAs, can affect effector T cell formation, memory T cell differentiation and response to secondary infection.

Selected Publications

Frias AB, Hyzny EJ, Buechel HM, Beppu LY, Xie B, Jurczak, MJ and D’Cruz LM (2019) The transcriptional regulator Id2 is critical for adipose-resident regulatory T cell differentiation, survival and function. The Journal of Immunology  2019, Aug 1;203(3):658-664

Piccirillo AR, Hyzny EJ, Beppu LY, Menk AV, Wallace CT, Hawse WF, Buechel HM, Wong BH, Foo JC, Cazenave-Gassiot A, Wenk MR, Delgoffe GM, Watkins SC, Silver DL and D’Cruz LM (2019) The lysophosphatidylcholine transporter MFSD2A is essential for CD8+ memory T cell maintenance and secondary response to infection. The Journal of Immunology 2019, Jul 1;203(1):117-126

Piccirillo AR, Cattley RT, D’Cruz LM* and Hawse WF* (2019) Histone acetyltransferase CBP is critical for conventional effector and memory T-cell differentiation in mice. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2019, Feb15;294(7):2397-2406 *co-contributing authors

Frias AB Jr., Buechel HM, Neupane A and D'Cruz LM. Invariant natural killer T cell development and function with loss of microRNA-155. Immunology 2018 Feb; 153(2):238-245

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, Aug; 94(7):640-5

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

Complete List of Publication


Lab Information

We are very excited about having new graduate students join the lab!  Interested students should contact Dr. Louise D'Cruz (ldcruz@pitt.edu).