IMPRINT study to define earliest responses to influenza

A team led by Mary Allen Staat, MD, MPH, is helping to address a national and international priority to develop an influenza vaccine that is effective across multiple strains and epidemic years. Influenza (“flu”) vaccines currently must be re-administered each year, and overall effectiveness is very modest. In order to develop a universal flu vaccine, it is essential to understand in great detail the immune responses that develop following exposures to the flu and following flu vaccine administration, starting from the first exposures in infancy. Staat and colleagues assembled a large group of investigators based at Cincinnati Children’s, Mexico City, Emory University and Stanford University to carry out this unique project with funding through a large grant from NIH / NIAID.

Vaccine Research Center leading evaluation of COVID19 vaccines

Robert Frenck, Jr., MD, and colleagues in the Vaccine Research Center, are leading the evaluation of vaccines to battle the COVID19 pandemic. Frenck’s team is currently evaluating the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine candidate, an RNA vaccine that generates immune responses to the important spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Next on the agenda for vaccine testing is the AstraZeneca COVID19 vaccine candidate, based on a non-replicating chimpanzee adenovirus vector that expresses the spike protein. David Bernstein, MD, MA, serves as the principal investigator for this study. In other COVID vaccine-related work, Paul Spearman, MD, is co-chairing the COVID19 Expert Working Group for the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium (IDCRC) leadership group. The Vaccine Research Center is one of the premier vaccine evaluation units in the world, and is a key part of the NIH / NIAID-sponsored Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs).

Center for Inflammation and Tolerance builds cadre of outstanding investigators

The Center for Inflammation and Tolerance is a unique multidisciplinary research center housed in the Division of Infectious Diseases and led by Sing Sing Way, MD, PhD, and Chandrashekhar Pasare, DVM, PhD. The center embraces an interdisciplinary approach, bringing together scientists with expertise in reproductive immunology, innate immunity and inflammation, hematopoiesis, early life development, metabolism, mucosal immunology and antimicrobial host defense. Three new investigators have recently joined the center. Koichi Araki, DVM, PhD, and his lab, seeks to understand how antigen-specific CD8+ T cell responses regulate during acute and chronic infection. Rana Herro, PhD, and her lab within the Divisions of Allergy and Immunology, Pulmonary Medicine and Immunobiology, is investigating basic mechanisms of inflammation and fibrosis, a process particularly important for diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, systemic sclerosis, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and others. Tamara Tilburgs, PhD, and her lab, works in the area of reproductive immunology, seeking to understand how maternal immune cells establish tolerance to fetal antigens while maintaining immunity to viral and bacterial infections.