The emergence of a pandemic influenza virus in Mexico in 2009, like other viruses with pandemic potential of earlier years has prompted great interest in understanding the nature of immunological memory to influenza, and whether and how previous encounters with influenza virus and vaccines influence our ability to mount a protective immune response when confronting relatively novel strains of this virus.
Learn more about The Specificity and Role of CD4 T Cells During the Response to Influenza Vaccines
There is a significant national initiative to develop universal influenza vaccines that can provide broadly protective immunity to many different strains of influenza. We are interested in designing vaccine strategies that will take advantage of our current understanding of the many mechanisms that contribute to protective immunity.
Learn more about Development of Universal Influenza Vaccines
Although it is well established that influenza A virus infection is initiated in the respiratory tract, the sequence of events and the cell types that become infected or access viral antigens remains incompletely understood. In collaboration with Dr. Luis Martinez, we have created and studied a novel Influenza A/California/04/09 (H1N1) reporter virus that stably expresses the Venus fluorescent protein. This has allowed us to identify antigen-bearing cells over time in a mouse model of infection using flow cytometry.
Learn more about Use of Reverse Genetics to Study Influenza Virus Tropism in vivo with a Pandemic Strain of Influenza
Effector CD4 T cells play important roles in virus control in the respiratory tract, both directly and by coordinating responses with other immune cells. The lung is highly vascularized and recent studies have shown that a substantial fraction of antigen-specific T cells are located throughout the organ, including the pulmonary vasculature and tissue. Little is known about the abundance, distribution, and potential consequences of compartmentalization of CD4 T cells during the peak of the cellular response, which may be heavily influenced by the two microenvironments.
Learn more about CD4 T Cell Recruitment to the Lung After Influenza Infection