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Felix Yarovinsky Identifies Attractive Component for Anti-Parasite Vaccines

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A recent Nature Immunology publication from the laboratory of Felix Yarovinksy, M.D., associate professor of Microbiology and Immunology, identified the protein S100A11 as an important player in initiating an immune response in Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) infected cells. T. gondii is the intracellular parasite responsible for toxoplasmosis that has infected about one-third of the global population. This parasite is particularly dangerous during pregnancy, as it may lead to stillbirth, early prenatal death, or serious health problems for the baby after birth, such as eye or brain damage.

"S100A11 may be an attractive novel adjuvant due to its unique ability to recruit proinflammatory monocytes," said Yarovinsky, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. "Importantly, we discovered S100A11 as a host defense protein against T. gondii, but it may have much broader implications not limited to toxoplasmosis and can be applied for a variety of vaccines." Adjuvants enhance the body's ability to mount an immune response, and S100A11 may provide a way to boost the efficacy of future vaccines for T. gondii as well as other intracellular infections.

Using human blood cells, the lab discovered that the molecule CCL2 is upregulated in cultured cells following infection with T. gondii. CCL2 is a protein that attracts monocytes to an infection to remove infected cells from the body. This led to the discovery that S100A11 triggers CCL2 production in response to intracellular pathogens as CCL2 is released only from infected cells.

Read More: Felix Yarovinsky Identifies Attractive Component for Anti-Parasite Vaccines

Congratulate Sasha Safronova when you see her

Monday, November 19, 2018

Congrats to Sasha Safronova for her paper in Nature Immunology on human recognition of Toxoplasma gondii!

Congratulations to the 4th Annual Immune Imaging Symposium Poster and Image Winners

Monday, November 12, 2018

Wish the four winners a hardy congratulations when you see them.

Image Winner McRaePoster Winner Amitrano

Poster Winner PrizantPoster Winner Schrock

David Topham's Flu Center Receives $5.4M in NIH Funding

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The National Institutes of Health-funded New York Influenza Center of Excellence (NYICE), led by David Topham, Ph.D., received $5.4 million in new awards from the NIH to conduct a variety of projects related to the immune response to flu infection and vaccination. NYICE is a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional center that emphasizes basic and clinical research on human influenza.

The funding covers 13 new projects that will be conducted by investigators at URMC, as well as scientists from institutions that are members of NYICE, such as the University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, Duke and the University of Minnesota. Research will be conducted in the U.S. and abroad, including studies in Melbourne, Australia and Stockholm, Sweden.

Development of a universal flu vaccine is the focus of several of the new projects. The comparison of different types of vaccines (egg-based vaccine; cell culture vaccine; vaccine made in insect cells) is another important study, as the widely-used egg-based vaccine wasn't particularly effective in the 2017-2018 flu season. Investigators will also work to better understand how the viruses we're exposed to as children influence immunity later on in life.

In addition to Topham, URMC researchers Andrea J. Sant, Ph.D.,Jennifer Nayak, M.D.,Angela Branche, M.D.,Luis Martinez-Sobrido, Ph.D. and James J. Kobie, Ph.D. will spearhead several of the new projects.

New Concepts in Immunology Seminar Series

Friday, September 28, 2018

Photo of Dr. RaffatelluThe Yarovinsky Lab hosted Manuela Raffatellu (UCSD) as the first speaker for the New Concepts in Immunology 2018 seminar series.
Fascinating talk on IL-22 and Salmonella!

Is It Too Soon to Get the Flu Vaccine?

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Pharmacies have been advertising the shot for weeks already, but in some cases it might pay to wait before you vaccinate

After last winter's severe flu season—and in the face of all those flu shot ads at pharmacies—you may be wondering if it's best to get vaccinated right now to safeguard yourself this winter.

After all, last year's season set new records both for numbers of children who died from flu and for flu-related hospitalizations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But should you get the shot now, before the flu even arrives? Or might that undermine its effectiveness in January and February, when flu season is in full swing?

The current formulation of the flu shot being used there (which is the same as the U.S. vaccine) appears to be well-matched with the viruses circulating there.

That could mean we're in store for a mild season in the Northern Hemisphere, too—as long as those strains are the same ones that crop up here.

Another good sign is that so far, the strains of flu virus currently circulating in southern countries appear similar to the strains that predominated during last winter's season here (notably, subtypes of influenza B and the H1N1 and H3N2 strains of influenza A), says David Topham, Ph.D., director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence and professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Read More: Is It Too Soon to Get the Flu Vaccine?

Dr. Hen Prizant Awarded a National Institute of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship Award

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Dr. Hen Prizant, Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Deborah Fowell's Laboratory, has been chosen by the National Institutes of Health as a recipient of the Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, for her project titled: "Role of focal CXCL10 in shaping Th1 micro-positioning and function in inflamed skin".

Dr. Hen Prizant has worked in Dr. Fowell's lab as a Postdoc since November 2015.

We are very excited for Hen as she works towards becoming an independent researcher.

CVBI Employees Mark Employment Milestones

Thursday, July 5, 2018

We are pleased to acknowledge the following employee who are celebrating milestone anniversaries with the University. We very much appreciate your contribution!

  • Jonathan Rebhahn (Technical Associate, Mosmann Lab) -- 15 years of service
  • Stefanie Fingler (Research Program Manager, CVBI) - 10 years of service
  • Theresa Fitzgerald (Technical Associate, Topham Lab) -- 25 years of service

Graduate Student Receives Teaching Award

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Congratulations to Taylor Moon who received this year's Melville Hare Award for Excellence in Teaching for her outstanding contributions to teaching in MBI 473 in the Fall of 2017.

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of our students and faculty members.

Felix Yarovinsky Leads Research on Positive and Negative Impact of Gut Bacteria

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The human microbiome – the trillions of tiny bacteria that live in and on our bodies – is emerging as an increasingly important player in health and wellness. But, our co-existence with these organisms is complex, and scientists are learning that even minor changes in this relationship can lead to big problems with our health.

In a new study published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that impairing a rare group of cells in the small intestine allows gut bacteria to invade the organ and cause major inflammation. The study was conducted in mice, but has implications for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a group of disorders characterized by chronic inflammation in the digestive track.

The work can also be found in ScienceDaily, your source for the latest research news.

Read More: Felix Yarovinsky Leads Research on Positive and Negative Impact of Gut Bacteria

Should You Get a Flu Shot After the Flu?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

If you skipped this year's flu shot and then came down with the virus, you may think there's no point to getting the vaccine now.

But you'd be wrong.

There are good reasons to get a flu shot, even if you've already been sick, says David Topham, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester and director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence.

You can catch the flu more than once in a season—because having one "type" of flu doesn't provide immunity against the other types that may be circulating. "The way your immune system sees them is very different," Topham says. Two types commonly make people ill: type A and type B. This flu season, as is typical, most cases of flu so far have been type A (the H3N2 strain).

Read More: Should You Get a Flu Shot After the Flu?

Congrats to Elise Burger for her paper in Cell Host & Microbe on autophagy in Paneth cells!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Read More: Congrats to Elise Burger for her paper in Cell Host & Microbe on autophagy in Paneth cells!