Structure-Function Analysis of Influenza-Virus Infection - and Vaccine-Induced B-Cell Repertoires
Research on the immune response to influenza virus seeks to discover vaccination strategies that confer long-lasting immunity in the face of rapid antigenic variation of currently circulating subtypes and in anticipation of potential introduction of new subtypes into the human population. Detection of human antibodies that neutralize a broad range of influenza isolates and analysis of their epitopes have even suggested a possibility for "universal" influenza vaccines. Our research program probes critical issues of immune-response mechanisms, immunization strategies and B-cell immunogen design, with the goal of establishing a secure mechanistic foundation for vaccine development. Our immunogen design output also feeds back to our work on immune-response mechanisms and feeds forward to vaccine design through close interaction with the Duke CIVIC Vaccine Center (DCVC).
The key question is: if we know the kind of antibody we would like to elicit, how do we learn enough about the immune response to create the right immunogen and the right immunization regimen?