The Leung Lab

Time to celebrate


Last week, we went out to Asian Tao to celebrate a few of our team’s recent achievements:

1) We received an R01 award, a 5-year grant from the NIH/NIAID. We will be working in collaboration with scientists at the icddr,b in Dhaka, Bangladesh to examine the role of MAIT cells (our favorite innate-like T cell) in the generation of antibody responses during cholera infection and vaccination. We are trying to address the problem that currently available oral cholera vaccines don’t work as well in young children as in older children and adults, which is likely related to the inability to generate polysaccharide-specific antibody responses in this population. Based on our earlier studies (in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and Mike’s paper detailed below), we postulate that MAIT cells may provide help to B cells to generate such responses.

2) Cole, our postdoc, received a 2-year spot on the T32 in Genomic Medicine training grant from the NIH/NHGRI. In collaboration with the Rondina lab at the University of Utah, he will focus on the epigenetic and transcriptional events that occur in MAIT cells during the course of human sepsis.

3) Mike, our former postdoc who is now a R&D scientist at ARUP, had his paper published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. In this publication co-authored with Shubhi and Anita, Mike showed in a series of ex vivo experiments that human MAIT cells have the capacity to help B cells differentiate and produce antibodies.

4) Boris, our undergraduate student majoring in material science engineering, received an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) award. He will spend this semester working on a project titled, “Effect of HIV infection on Mucosal Associated Invariant T (MAIT) Cell Plasticity.”

Congratulations to everyone for their achievements!