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Chronic viral hepatitis (due to HBV and HCV) is a major cause of liver disease worldwide, and an increasing cause of death in persons living with HIV/AIDS. Our laboratory studies are aimed at better defining the host-pathogen interactions in these infections, with particular focus on humoral and cellular immune responses, viral evasion, inflammation, fibrosis progression, and drug resistance. We are engaged in synthetic biology approaches to rational vaccine development and understanding the limits on the extraordinary genetic variability of HCV.
Suzanne Topalian Lab
Our lab currently focuses on three areas of immunotherapy research: gaining a deeper knowledge of the biological underpinnings of human autoimmune response; discovering biomarkers that will help us identify which patients and tumor types are most likely to respond to various immune therapies; and developing immune-based treatment combinations that could deliver a more powerful anti-tumor response than monotherapies.
The Cihakova research laboratory is an immunology laboratory dedicated to the investigation of autoimmune diseases. Our most active research is focused on myocarditis and dilated cardiomyopathy. We expanded our interest in inflammatory heart diseases to include the study of immune mechanisms driving pericarditis and myocardial infarction. In addition, we are interested in the pathogenesis of a broad range of autoimmune diseases such as, Sjogren's syndrome, congenital complete heart block, and APECED (autoimmune polyendocrinopathy-candidiasis-ectodermal dystrophy). Through several collaborative projects we also investigate rheumatoid arthritis and the immune components of schizophrenia.
We are devoted to developing and deploying cutting edge technologies that can be used to define human immune responses. Much of our work leverages ‘next generation’ DNA sequencing, which enables massively parallel molecular measurements. Examples of our technologies include:
- bacteriophage display of synthetic peptidome libraries for comprehensive, quantitative profiling of antibodies;
- display of ORFeome libraries for antigen discovery, protein-protein interaction studies, and drug target identification;
- ultrasensitive, multiplex RNA quantification techniques to monitor gene expression and detect microbes;
- pooled genetic screening to elucidate immune cell function and identify new therapeutic targets.
The Larman Laboratory uses these and other approaches to identify opportunities for monitoring and manipulating immune responses.