UC Davis researchers announce in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week a breakthrough in understanding which cells afford optimal protection against Salmonella infection—a critical step in developing a more effective and safe vaccine against a bacterium that annually kills an estimated one million people worldwide. Professor Stephen McSorley, interim director of the Center for Comparative Medicine, led a collaborative group of scientists from the University of Melbourne, Australia, the University of Connecticut and UC Davis. They evaluated the difference between circulating and non-circulating memory T cells in providing immunity to Salmonella infection in mice models. “What everyone has been focused on in immunology, not just in addressing Salmonella, but all infectious diseases for the past 50 years or so, has been antibody and T cell responses,” McSorley said. “What hasn’t been realized until very recently is there are actually two different categories of T cells—those that circulate through tissues in the body and those that never move and are known as tissue resident or non-circulating memory cells.”
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Dr. Stephen McSorley received 5-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Stephen McSorley recently received a five year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to study “Target antigen identification to improve Salmonella vaccination” (R01AI139410). Systemic Salmonella infections cause 1 million deaths every year and there is an urgent need for a sub-unit vaccine that could be administered to infants and other vulnerable individuals. A major difference between a protective live Salmonella vaccine and a less effective sub-unit vaccine is the ability of the live vaccine to elicit tissue-resident memory (TRM) responses. This application will focus on the protective role of Salmonella-specific TRM T cells, identify the unique antigens recognized by this protective population and then examine whether the antigens can be used to improve the efficacy of a sub-unit Salmonella vaccine. For more information on Dr. McSorley’s research programs please click here.
Dr. Roger Sciammas received 2-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Roger Sciammas recently received a two year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to study the “Role of the SET-like domain of Blimp-1 in plasma cell function and Immunoglobulin Secretion”(R21AI139793). Secreted antibodies are primary immunological proteins important for protection to microbial agents yet pathological if produced in excess. Because of this balance, the control of secretion is tightly regulated. Secretion is initiated in a cell stage-specific manner by an exchange of mRNA isoforms coding for antibody; however, although this mRNA swap was characterized over 30 years ago, the switch for this swap has remained elusive. This project aims to uncover the nature of this molecular switch. We anticipate that the results of our research will ultimately illuminate how we could reconfigure the switch to reset the balance in antibody-based protection or disease. For more information on Dr. Sciammas’ research programs please click here.
World-renowned pathologist Dr. Robert Cardiff, a specialist in the diagnosis of breast and mammary cancer in both human and animal models, has been selected to receive the UC Davis Emeriti Association's 2018 UC Davis Distinguished Emeritus Award. His distinguished career, based almost exclusively at UC Davis, has led to significant and meaningful effects on the lives of countless women, physicians and scientists around the world. Since his retirement in 2012, Dr. Cardiff has continued to provide professional and collegial service to the fields of mammary gland biology and breast cancer research with a fervor that would be unmatched by the youngest of faculty. He continues to be a faculty mentor, a champion for his colleagues, and a driving motivator. The committee based its selection on the following qualities, enumerated by his colleagues in the nomination document:
Sandy Borowsky discusses the Wisdom Breast Cancer Study. This study is hoping to enroll 100,000 California women age 40 and above to participate in a pragmatic (preference tolerated) randomized controlled trial design, where a participant can choose to have an annual mammogram, to have a personalized mammogram screen schedule based on their own risk or to be randomized into either arm of the study. The study is designed to compare recommended mammogram screening schedules and to evaluate the impact of a personalized risk estimate based on family and health history and genetic testing. To listen to the NPR interview of Dr. Sandy Borowsky, click here.
The IRF4 gene regulatory module functions as a read-write integrator to dynamically coordinate T helper cell fate
Roger Sciammas, one of the newest CCM faculty members, recently published his first UCD research paper in the Journal, Immunity, “The IRF4 gene regulatory module functions as a read-write integrator to dynamically coordinate T helper cell fate”. The authors (Veena Krishnamoorthy, Sunil Kannanganat, Mark Maienschein-Cline, Sarah L. Cook, Jianjun Chen, Neil Bahroos, Evelyn Sievert, Emily Corse, Anita Chong and Roger Sciammas) show that the Irf4 locus “senses” the intensity of T cell receptor signaling to scale expression of IRF4. Differential binding of IRF4 to divergent DNA sequences is controlled by the amounts of IRF4 expressed and coordinates alternate T helper cell fate choice. Thus, IRF4 expression links TCR signal strength to T helper cell fate determination. More information on Dr. Sciammas work can be found by clicking here.
Peter Barry recently received a two year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to study “CMV-vectored vaccine approaches to induce protective antibodies to HIV-1 Env” (R21AI134618). This proposal is an exploratory investigation into approaches that will (1) promote antibody responses to rhesus cytomegalovirus (RhCMV)-vectored SIV vaccines in the face [...]
Joshua Wood was recently awarded a grant from the ACLAM Foundation, “Using CRISPR/Cas9 to decrease animal use by enhancing efficiency and reproducibility”. The goal of this project is to reduce animal use by improving our ability to generate mutant mice by CRISPR/Cas9. The project investigates new tools and techniques such as electroporation and DNA [...]
Nicole Baumgarth successfully renewed the National Institutes of Health “Comparative Medical Science Training Program” (T32OD011147). This training program is to support graduate level research training for DVMs at the University of California, Davis, to address a national shortage of research-trained veterinarians. Veterinarians are needed to contribute to research into human health in many ways, including [...]