Adaptive Immunity


Influenza A virus (IAV) presents a particularly formidable challenge to control by the humoral arm of the adaptive immune system. The virus has a segmented, RNA genome which is capable of both rapid mutation (contributing to “antigenic drift”), and re-assortment (which causes “antigenic shift”). These properties allow the virus to cause seasonal epidemics and periodic pandemics, respectively. Current-generation IAV vaccines must be administered seasonally, and provide optimal protection against only a very limited number of IAV strains. However, a new class of antibodies has recently been discovered which is capable of providing much more broad protection across multiple IAV subtypes. Our group is focused on understanding the immunobiology of these antibodies, how they are elicited, and how they may be useful for the generation of “universal” influenza virus vaccines and therapeutics