Skip To Content

MMI Faculty

Hanne Ostergaard, PhD

H Ostergaard
Dept. of Medical Microbiology & Immunology
University of Alberta
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
6-70 Heritage Medical Research Centre
T6G 2S2 Edmonton, AB

Ph : (780) 492-7710
Fx : (780) 492-9828




  • Professor, Dept. of Medical Microbiology & Immunology
  • AHFMR Scientist



My lab is interested in understanding how cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) become activated to kill. CTL are essential for the elimination of viral infections and infections by a number of other intracellular pathogens. CTL are also likely to play a role in the elimination of cancer and as such are the targets for a number of different cancer vaccine strategies. CTL also play a role in transplant rejection and many autoimmune diseases. It is clearly important to understand the pathways by which the lytic mechanisms in CTL become activated to allow for manipulation of the immune system.

Our focus is primarily on elucidating the signal transduction mechanisms that are operative during CTL activation. Our approach is to identify molecules involved in activation and understand how these molecules interact to lead to activation. The cytoskeleton is now thought to play an important role in the signal transduction process and we are dissecting how the interactions between the cytoskeleton and various signalling molecules cooperate to lead to CTL activation. We study a number of different proteins but one major focus is on a tyrosine phosphatase called CD45. This enzyme is essential for T cell development and for the activation of a number of different leukocytes. Understanding CD45 function will provide significant insight into T cell maturation and activation. We use multi-pronged strategies for our studies including molecular and cell biological, biochemical and immunological approaches. We expect that by understanding how CTL become activated we will be able to design strategies to inhibit their deleterious effects and perhaps know how best to activate the CTL to promote immunity against viruses and the elimination of cancer cells.




  • Amanda Scott (Graduate Student)
  • Shugang Yao (Graduate Student)



Click here for most recent publications


Selected Publications:

  1. He JS, Ostergaard HL. CTLs contain and use intracellular stores of FasL distinct from cytolytic granules.  J Immunol 179(4)2339-48 2007

  2. Puente LG, He JS, Ostergaard HL. A novel PKC regulates ERK activation and degranulation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes: Plasticity in PKC regulation of ERK. Eur J Immunol 36(4):1009-18 2006

  3. Robertson LK, Mireau LR, Ostergaard HL. A role for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in TCR-stimulated ERK activation leading to paxillin phosphorylation and CTL degranulation. J Immunol 175(12):8138-45 2005

  4. Lysechko TL, Ostergaard HL. Differential Src family kinase activity requirements for CD3 zeta phosphorylation/ZAP70 recruitment and CD3 epsilon phosphorylation. J Immunol 174(12):7807-14 2005

  5. Puente LG, Mireau LR, Lysechko TL, Ostergaard HL. Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase regulates PKCtheta activity in cytotoxic T cells. Mol Immunol 42(10):1177-84 2005

Related Links