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Aline Sandouk, M5G



MSTP Learning Community:  Bean

Advanced Standing Entry:  May 15, 2016

Matriculation to CCOM:  2014

Graduate Program:



Jon Houtman, PhD

Nuclear GRB2 as a Transcriptional Regulator and Functional Modulator of T Cells Biography

Growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (GRB2) is a cytoplasmic adaptor protein present in all human cells whose aberrant function is linked to a multitude of cancers and chronic diseases. In human T cells, GRB2 regulates the formation of signaling complexes at the plasma membrane. GRB2 deficiency in T cells inhibits clustering of key signaling components following T cell receptor (TCR) activation, leading to downstream inhibition of calcium influx and cytokine production critical for effector activity. Although GRB2 is traditionally considered a protein of predominant cytoplasmic importance, emerging evidence reports the presence of GRB2 in the nucleus of various cell types. Preliminary data from our laboratory has shown that GRB2-deficient T cells exhibit little to no expression of IFN-γ protein or mRNA, which could not be reversed using agents that bypass early TCR signaling to induce activation. This suggests that an inability to express IFN-γ is not due to defects in membrane signaling but to events further upstream, at the level of the nucleus. However, no studies to date have investigated the nuclear function of GRB2. To this end, we seek to determine the mechanisms underlying nuclear translocation, regulation, and function of GRB2 as a driver of transcriptional regulation and functional modulation of T cells. A better understanding of this unexplored nuclear role of GRB2 may uncover novel disease mechanisms and empower us to develop novel interventions for lethal and life-limiting disorders associated with abnormal GRB2.


  • 2019-present - Member, Council on the Status of Women, University of Iowa
  • 2019-present - Chair, Title IX/Sexual Harassment Subcommittee, Council on the Status of Women, University of Iowa
  • 2018-2020 -  Member, Immunology Program Admissions Committee, University of Iowa
  • 2019-2020 - Founder & Chair, Women's Wellness Group
  • 2019-2020 - MSTP Wellness Committee
  • 2020 Spring- MSTP Mondays Planning Committee


2018-2019 - Appointed to the NIAID T32 Predoctoral Training Grant AI007485


2017 Fall – MICR:6247 Graduate Immunology and Human Disease (lecture section)


2009 - BS, Chemistry - George Mason University


ORCiD: 0000-0002-8855-7684

Zhang MS, Sandouk A, Houtman JC. Glycerol Monolaurate (GML) inhibits human T cell signaling and function by disrupting lipid dynamics. Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 26;6:30225. doi: 10.1038/srep30225. PubMed PMID: 27456316; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4960522.