Th1 and Th17 pathways in tuberculosis Date Added: 8/20/2009 5:50:00 AM
Last Updated: 8/25/2009 4:18:00 PM
Description of projects available to graduate students:
Tuberculosis (TB) kills more than 2 million people worldwide every year. The widely used TB vaccine, Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) has variable efficacy and has prompted the search for more effective vaccines. Although significant progress has been made in identifying protective Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) antigen candidates, our poor understanding of how immune responses mediate protection in the lung remains a major hurdle to successful vaccine design.
The major focus of the lab is to define the basic requirements for induction of protective immunity in the lung against pulmonary pathogens such as Mtb. The IL-12 cytokine family members have an important role in generating protective Th1 cellular responses that are required for control of Mtb. We have recently identified a novel population of IL-23 dependent lung-resident IL-17-producing memory cell population that is key to vaccine-induced protection following Mtb challenge. Current ongoing work focuses on understanding the mechanisms of generation, maintenance, and persistence of these long-lived lung-resident IL-17 producing memory cells using cutting-edge molecular tools. Further, the lab is also involved in targeting immunization strategies that will generate better IL-17 responses and confer better protection following challenge with Mtb. These studies will impact vaccine design not only for TB but other pulmonary infections as well.
Techniques graduate student will learn:
Mouse model of tuberculosis; In vivo cellular and molecular assays in uninfected and infected mice; adoptive transfer model; flow cytometry and analysis of cell types and cytokine producing cells; Gene expression analysis by Real-time PCR and microarray
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