First Advisor

Dr. Allyson Spence


Dr. Bethany Lucas


Regis College

Degree Name


Department (optional)


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

70 pages


The immune system is the body’s defense against disease-causing bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, and other foreign invaders. Many different cell types are involved in the defense process, including the T cell. T cells attack their targets with extreme specificity, but also have the potential to attack the body if they are not well-regulated. Failure of the regulation process can lead to autoimmune diseases such as type I diabetes. T cells undergo a process called negative selection during their development in the thymus that aims to prevent autoimmunity. During this process, the body deletes immature T cells that could cause autoimmunity. A protein called Nur77 has been implicated in the signaling pathways that lead to the death of these self-reactive T cells. Nur77 is also present in T cells after development, but it is unclear how this expression is important later in the T cell life cycle. This thesis provides a broad overview of the immune system before explaining what is currently known about how Nur77 functions in T cells. Then, it will propose a map for how Nur77 might function in regulatory T cells. Finally, it will argue for the importance of further basic research into Nur77 both in regulatory T cells and other contexts.

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Location (Creation)

Denver, Colorado