Our dynamic research team is dedicated to understanding our immune responses at mucosal surfaces. Mucosal immune responses protect us against invading pathogens and environmental irritants but also tolerate and are shaped by our commensal microbiota - billions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses living within us. Our research team is particularly interested in B cells that reside in mucosal tissues and the antibodies they produce that end up at mucosal surfaces, interacting with both pathogens and microbiota. Specifically, we are focused on understanding immunoglobulin A (IgA) in all of its forms (monomers, dimers, and secretory) and are designing and testing therapeutic strategies that boost IgA antibodies at mucosal surfaces to inhibit virus replication and transmission, stabilize the microbiota, or all the above!
Moms and babies: As a research team, we have a specific interest in the immune responses of moms and babies. We are working to understand better how maternal B cells and antibodies shape maternal and neonatal immune responses. Specifically, we are interested in the mucosal-mammary gland axis where plasma cells (mostly IgA) from mom’s mucosal tissues migrate to the mammary gland to secrete antibodies in milk. This evolutionary cross-talk allows antibacterial and antiviral antibodies that function in mom to contribute to protection and immune development in the suckling infant. Current projects in our lab involve designing immunization strategies that boost breast milk immunity against many viruses, including influenza viruses, rotaviruses, and norovirus. We are using single-cell technologies, animal models, and human clinical samples to accomplish this.
Our lab is currently focused on four main areas
- Maternal immunization and lactogenic immunity
- Mechanisms of maternal antibody interference
- Mucosal immunization and airborne transmission of respiratory viruses
- Mucosal antibody immunobiology
Mucosal immune protection against infectious diseases, particularly in women and children.
Maternal immunization and lactogenic immunity
Mechanisms of maternal antibody interference
Mucosal immunization and airborne transmission of respiratory viruses
Mucosal antibody immunobiology in the female reproductive tract