My lab currently focuses B cell responses during inflammation with current main projects focusing on SARS-CoV-2, HIV and Kawasaki disease.
Currently, the HIV field is in desperate need for greater knowledge regarding the mechanisms involved in induction of neutralizing antibodies and mucosal immune responses against HIV. I have characterized a collection of human antibodies that target structural epitopes on the Envelope protein of HIV. Current work is being pursued to define the targets of these antibodies and to assess if they can recognize cutting edge HIV vaccine candidates. Designing improved immunogens that elicit enhanced antibody activity from vaccination is the overall goal of my HIV research.
Kawasaki Disease (KD) is an inflammatory disorder of children that can lead to dire consequences. KD is the leading cause of acquired heart disease in children and primarily affects children under 5 years of age. However, the cause remains unknown. Some groups have shown indications that B cell responses target a specific entity. My work focuses on characterizing how KD presents in Western New York and explores a role for specific B cell responses in the pathogenesis of this mysterious disease.
In my career I hope to become an accomplished physician-scientist who significantly impacts both the fields of lymphocyte development and HIV infection. Mucosal immune responses are of particular interest since they are so vital in the first line of defense in HIV and most other viral infections.