Senior Scholar Award in Global Infectious Disease
Laurie H. Glimcher, M.D.
Harvard School of Public Health

Arming the Immune System against Pathogens with Selective Biologics: The Next Generation of Vaccines

An effective immune response against infectious agents must be both of appropriate magnitude and type. Type 1 immunity relies on a type of T lymphocyte that induces both inflammatory and cytotoxic responses essential for destruction of intracellular pathogens such as tuberculosis. Generation of Type 2 immunity requires development of another type of T lymphocyte that signals B lymphocytes to produce antibodies to ward off parasites. Biologics that can effectively and selectively modulate these two prototypic responses represent the next generation of therapies to boost vaccine-based protection against microbial agents.

We have discovered two genes that control Type 1 and Type 2 immunity respectively. T-bet is a transcription factor that dictates the Type 1 immunity while the XBP-1 transcription factor controls Type 2 immunity and hence antibodies. Our goal is to study the role of these genes and their products in the generation of durable protective Type 1 and Type 2 immunity in the context of vaccine-based therapy.

Contact Dr. Glimcher.