There are three main research interests in the Haynes laboratory. One group focuses on the basic mechanisms of T cell development with regard to thymocyte-thymic stromal interactions, and on the role the thymic microenvironment plays in regulating thymic growth and atrophy in a variety of settings. The overall goal of this project is to understand the mechanisms of thymic atrophy and T cell homeostasis in order to devise new strategies to reconstitute the T cell arm of the immune system in congenital and acquired immune deficiency diseases.
The second group works on the role of T Regulatory Cells in regulating immune responses and the role of CD7 and CD7 ligand in T regulatory cell production and homeostasis.
The third group is involved in Preclinical/Clinical AIDS Vaccine Development. The overall goal of this project is to design and develop novel immunogens and adjuvants for testing as experimental HIV vaccines. The Haynes laboratory has led the way over the years in developing peptide immunogens reflective of important functional regions of the HIV envelope and other HIV proteins that might be used in the design of peptide/DNA strategies for both protection and treatment of HIV infection. Current work centers on devising strategies using both systemic and mucosal immunization with peptide immunogens for the development of preventive and therapeutic immunogens for HIV infection. Dr. Haynes is the Director of the Duke University Human Vaccine Institute.