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Mark Y. Sangster, Ph.D.

Contact Information

Phone Numbers

Office: (585) 273-3109

Faculty Appointments

Biography

Research

Overview

Virus-specific antibodies play a key role in providing a protective barrier to infection and in facilitating viral clearance once an infection is established. Antibody-producing cells or plasma cells are generated from B cells that divide and differentiate following recognition of specific antigen. A critical requirement for optimal antibody responses is the cognate help delivered to activated B cells by CD4 T cells. This help is important for directing antibody isotype switching in B cells, the process by which B cells switch from expressing IgM to expressing alternative isotypes (such as IgG1, IgG2a, and IgA in the mouse) with different functional characteristics. In addition, cognate T cell help is critical if activated B cells are to participate in germinal center reactions, where affinity maturation of the antibody response takes place and the cellular elements of B cell memory are generated. These elements include long-lived plasma cells, which maintain high levels of protective antibodies, and a population of memory B cells that will respond with rapid antibody production on re-exposure to cognate antigen. This brief overview grossly simplifies a remarkable and complex process that is regulated at many levels in ways that modulate the kinetics, magnitude, and quality of the acute B cell response, as well as characteristics of dispersed plasma cell and memory B cell populations. In general terms, our research is aimed at understanding the characteristics of optimally effective B cell responses and applying this knowledge towards the improvement of vaccination regimens.

Specific Research Interests

Our specific research focus is the B cell response to viruses that infect the respiratory tract (with an emphasis on influenza virus) and to vaccination regimens designed to generate B cell-mediated protection against these viruses. Particular research interests include: (i) regulation of the acute B cell response to infection and vaccination and the differentiation pathways that generate B cell memory and virus-neutralizing antibodies, (ii) aspects of B cell memory (plasma cells, memory B cells) in the respiratory tract, including mechanisms of localization, role in protection, and relationship to form of immunization, and (iii) regulation of IgA production and the establishment of antibody-mediated protection at mucosal surfaces.

Credentials

Education

1984
BS | Australia-U Western Australia - Perth
Genetics

1991
PhD | Australia-U Western Australia - Perth
Genetics

Awards

1991
Athelstan and Amy Saw Medical Research Award
Sponsor: University of Western Australia

1985
Australian Commonwealth Postgraduate Award for Dissertation Research

1984
Swan Brewery Prize for Undergraduate Honors Thesis
Location: University of Western Australia

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Publications

Journal Articles

7/6/2021
Wang J, Li D, Perry S, Hilchey SP, Wiltse A, Treanor JJ, Sangster MY, Zand MS. "Broadly Reactive IgG Responses to Heterologous H5 Prime-Boost Influenza Vaccination Are Shaped by Antigenic Relatedness to Priming Strains." mBio.. 2021 Jul 6; :e0044921. Epub 2021 Jul 06.

3/17/2021
Nguyen-Contant P, Sangster MY, Topham DJ. "Squalene-Based Influenza Vaccine Adjuvants and Their Impact on the Hemagglutinin-Specific B Cell Response." Pathogens.. 2021 Mar 17; 10(3)Epub 2021 Mar 17.

2/9/2021
Pace RM, Williams JE, Järvinen KM, Belfort MB, Pace CDW, Lackey KA, Gogel AC, Nguyen-Contant P, Kanagaiah P, Fitzgerald T, Ferri R, Young B, Rosen-Carole C, Diaz N, Meehan CL, Caffé B, Sangster MY, Topham D, McGuire MA, Seppo A, McGuire MK. "Characterization of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, Antibodies, and Neutralizing Capacity in Milk Produced by Women with COVID-19." mBio.. 2021 Feb 9; 12(1)Epub 2021 Feb 09.

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