Jacek Skowronski researches immunodeficiency viruses. He studies human immunodeficiency viruses, known as HIV, and simian immunodeficiency viruses, known as SIV. Particularly, he studies the viral protein Nef. This protein plays an important role in the initiation of AIDS. T lymphocytes, the cells that are worn-out in AIDS, are cultured to study the affects the viruses have on them. The results showed that Nef disrupts the T cell receptor (TCR). It changes the expression of major histocompatibility complex I molecules, known as MHC I, a condition of compatibility between tissues of foreign objects and the tissues of the body receiving it. This disruption is likely to be involved in the interference of host immune responses, whether it be human or simian. The interference is characterized as AIDS.
To study the function of Nef, he uses genetic molecules to identify the cells involved in affecting the T lymphocyte.
He also studies SIV-infected monkeys to find the importance the Nef and T lymphocyte interactions for AIDS. He even tries to characterize Nef proteins by isolating them directly from HIV-infected people. Results from his studies will aid in possible drugs that can disrupt the Nef functions and prevent AIDS.