Dr. Jewett is Professor and Director of tumor immunology laboratory in the Division of Oral Biology and Medicine, and Wintraub Center for reconstructive biotechnology at UCLA School of Medicine and Dentistry. She has membership in Johnsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC) and is a member of UCLA Tumor Immunology subgroup.
Dr. Jewett’s work is concentrated on the mechanisms of inactivation and cell death of Natural Killer cells. These cells play crucial effector functions in the host defense against viral and bacterial infections and malignant transformation. Dr. Jewett has shown that cytotoxic function of NK cells is significantly suppressed in the tumor microenvironment by a number of distinct effectors. She has previously demonstrated the role of NK cells in specific elimination of stem cells and not their differentiated counterparts. Indeed, she was the first to coin the term split anergy for the function of NK cells. She has also discovered that there is a stage wise susceptibility to NK cell mediated cytotoxicity in many tumors in which case the poorly differentiated tumors were lysed much more than their moderately differentiated tumors. The well differentiated tumors were lysed the least when compared to either the moderately differentiated tumors or to poorly differentiated tumors. She have also reported that inhibition of differentiation or reversion of cells to a less-differentiated stage by blocking key genes significantly augmented NK cell cytotoxicity against both transformed and healthy cells. Therefore, she has proposed that the two stages of NK cell maturation namely CD16+CD56dimCD69- NK cells were important for the selection of stem cells whereas the CD16dim/-CD56dim/+CD69+NK cells were important for differentiation and eventual regeneration of the tissues and the resolution of inflammation, thus serving as regulatory NK cells (NKreg). The concept of split anergy in NK cells and generation of NKreg and its contribution to cell differentiation, tissue repair and regeneration and in tumor resistance remains important areas of studies in her laboratory. In addition to studies on NK cells she also works on two other projects: 1- the mechanism of toxicity and allergic responses induced by HEMA and TEGDMA and 2-bacterial mediated regulation of immune function. Briefly, she has determined the detailed mechanisms of uptake and clearance of HEMA and TEGDMA, two chemical resins, which are in widespread use as biomaterials in dentistry. Finally, she has characterized an oral bacterium, which induces significant levels of lymphocyte apoptosis. Moreover, she is now studying the role of probiotics in conditioning of NK cells to support differentiation, tissue repair and regeneration and resolution of inflammation.
Dr. Jewett joined the faculty of School of Dentistry in 1997 after being a member of the department of Microbiology and Immunology in UCLA School of Medicine, and since then she has trained more than 100 students at different stages of their graduate, dental and medical careers in her laboratory. She received her Masters degree in infectious disease epidemiology from School of Public Health at UCLA and her doctorate from the departments of Microbiology and Immunology and pathology at UCLA School of Medicine. She has received a number of honors and awards and holds memberships in a number of professional organizations. She serves on the editorial board of journals including Journal of Cancer, PLOS journals, Journal of Immunology , Journal of Clinical Immunology, Journal of Infection and Immunity, Journal of Cellular Immunology, Journal of Leukocyte Biology, Journal of Dental Research, American Journal of Pathology and Blood, to name a few. She was a reviewed member of NIH study section innate immunity and inflammation and has been serving on several NIH study sections notably Innate Immunity and Host Disease, Transplantation, Tolerance and Tumor Immunology and Immunology fellowships. She has also served as a grant reviewer for proposals from other countries such as England, Qatar, Amsterdam to name a few. She holds a number of patents, and has given more than 150 invited lectures and presentations and has published more than 80 articles in high impact factor peer-reviewed journals. She has active ongoing research collaborations nationally and internationally with investigators from Slovenia, Poland, Germany, Thailand, Japan, Portugal, South Korea and Sweden. She has served as a member of the organizing committee for a number of national and international conferences. She has served as the Principal investigator on NIH funded studies in oral cancer and resin toxicity and hypersensitivity in addition to a number of other intramural and extramural funding. She currently serves on a number of school wide senate committees and she was the chair of Research Advisory Committee in the School of Dentistry, and currently serves as the chair of Rules and Jurisdictions campus-wide.