The Innate Immunity community is comprised of individuals from different Institutions worldwide and includes the following members:
Maziar Divangahi is a Professor of Medicine at McGill University. Dr. Divangahi is the Associate Director of the Meakins-Christie Laboratories, Co-Leader of the Respiratory Program at McGill University Health Centre, and a member of the McGill International TB Centre. He is an internationally recognized pulmonary immunologist and the overarching focus of his research program is to investigate the regulatory mechanisms involved in innate and adaptive immunity against two major pulmonary pathogens, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, influenza virus (H1N1), and to understand the critical differences between protective and deleterious immune responses. He is currently investigating how to harness the power of innate immunity in vaccine against tuberculosis via reprogramming of hematopoietic stem cells. Throughout his career, he has published in outstanding journals and received numerous awards, including a CIHR New Investigator Award, FRQS Award, and most recently the CIHR Foundation grant. He is currently holding the Strauss Chair in Respiratory Diseases.
Shabaana Khader received her PhD in Biotechnology from Madurai Kamaraj University, India and then carried out her Post-doctoral training at the Trudeau Institute, NY, where she studied host immune responses to tuberculosis. Dr. Khader’s work has demonstrated a critical role for the cytokine Interleukin-17 and Th17 cells in vaccine-induced immunity to tuberculosis, as well as described seminal roles for IL-12 cytokines in tuberculosis. Dr. Khader then joined the University of Pittsburgh in 2007 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics where her lab continued to study the role of cytokines in vaccine-induced immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In 2013, Dr. Khader and her research team moved to the Department of Molecular Microbiology at the Washington University in St. Louis, where she is now Professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology.
Luis Barreiro received his undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Biotechnology at Lusófona University, Lisbon, Portugal. In 2008, he obtained his PhD in Human Population Genetics from the University of Paris VII, followed by a post-doc in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. From 2011 to 2018 he held an Assistant professor position at the University of Montreal, as well as a researcher position at the CHU Sainte-Justine. In 2018 the Dr. Barreiro’s lab moved to the University of Chicago where he is currently an Associate Professor in Genetic Medicine. Dr. Barreiro’s work pioneer the use of functional genomic data combined with population genetic tools to characterize the genetic and epigenetic basis of inter-individual differences in immune response to infectious agents, notably
Nelita du Plessis
Dr Nelita du Plessis is an infectious disease immunologist at the Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group, heading the Innate Immunity lab. She completed her undergraduate studies in Molecular Genetics and completed her PhD in Biomedical Sciences at Stellenbosch University in 2012. She has a keen interest in innate immunity in the context of Tuberculosis (TB) and helminth infections, particularly the impact of regulatory myeloid cells (RMC), such as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), on host immunity. Her research focuses on developing myeloid-targeted host-directed therapies for TB; host immune responses at the lung infection site of people with-/without- TB exposure or disease; and optimization of biomimetic technologies for 3D TB infection models. Her work integrates cellular and genetic technologies to unravel mechanisms of immune susceptibility and protection in TB.
Markus Maeurer studied medicine at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and the University Hospital in Zurich, received his MD registration 1989, the ECFMG (USA), in 1990 and earned his PhD summa cam laude with a thesis about complement and autoimmune responses at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. He was a postdoc at the Dept of Medical Microbiology 1989-92, then at UPMC (Pittsburgh, PA, USA) at the Dept of Surgical Oncology 1992-1994, was board-certified 1996 as a specialist in Medical Microbiology in Mainz, Germany and served there till 1997 as a PI in infectious disease research. Associate Prof 1998; full professor 1999 at the Univ of Mainz; 2000-2004 Vice Dir of the Diagnostic Laboratories. 2005-2012 Prof at the Microbiology and Tumor cell Biology Center (MTC) at Karolinska Stockholm and attending physician for clinical immunology at the national center for infectious disease control in Stockholm, Sweden. 2012-2017 Senior Physician at CAST (Center for allogeneic stem cell transplantation) at the Karolinska Hospital and Dir of the Div Therapeutic Immunology, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. 2018 Dir of the Immunotherapy program of the Champalimaud foundation, Lisbon, Portugal and Co-Dir of the Immunotherapy Program at the KHNW, Frankfurt, Germany. Dr. Maeurer has authored more than 280 scientific published manuscripts and 13 book chapters, he reviews grant applications for several countries/agencies as well as scientific manuscripts for scientific journals. His main interests are HDT (host directed therapies with an emphasis on T-cell responses) to achieve better clinical outcome for patients with infections or with cancer.
Dr. Mayer-Barber received her PhD from the University of Würzburg, Germany for studies carried out at the Trudeau Institute followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at the NIH. In 2015 she became an Earl Stadtman Tenure-Track Investigator at NIH, NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Immunology and Microbiology. Her research focuses on the function and regulation of innate effector cells, inflammatory cytokines and lipid mediators during pulmonary infections, the immunological mechanisms of host protective versus host detrimental inflammation and the translation of basic observations into novel host-directed immunotherapies and vaccine adjuvants. Her approach employs cellular immunological techniques together with high dimensional multicolor flow cytometry to address these issues in animal models of Tuberculosis as well as patient studies.
In 1997, Olivier Neyrolles obtained his PhD in Microbiology from the University of Rennes, France, followed by two post-docs in Douglas Young’s lab at Imperial College (London, UK), and in Brigitte Gicquel’s lab at Institut Pasteur (Paris, France). Since 2007, he holds a senior research director position at CNRS and is group leader and deputy director at the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology in Toulouse, France. Dr. Neyrolles’ work focuses on host-pathogen interactions in tuberculosis, including mycobacterial evolution, physiology and virulence, and innate immunity to
Dr. Elisa Nemes trained (M.Sc and PhD) in T cell immunology in the context of HIV infection at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy, and at the University of Paris VI, France. In 2008-2010 she worked as post-doctoral scientist in Cameroon, in the framework of an Italian Cooperation Program to support the startup of research projects and to reinforce the technology transfer at CIRCB (“Chantal Biya International Reference Centre for Research on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Management”), where she contributed to research projects focused on pediatric immune responses to HIV and M. tuberculosis. Dr. Elisa Nemes moved to South Africa in 2011, where she joined the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) at the University of Cape Town as post-doctoral scientist first, and currently as Senior Scientist. She is involved in the scientific supervision of clinical trials of new tuberculosis vaccines, development of immunodiagnostics of M. tuberculosis infection and basic immunological studies on adaptive and innate immunity to M. tuberculosis in HIV infected and uninfected children. Dr Nemes is centrally involved in collaborative projects aimed at defining immune correlates of risk of TB disease in BCG vaccinated infants and correlates of risk of BCG/TB IRIS in HIV+ children.
Mihai Netea was born and studied medicine in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. He completed his PhD at the Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, on studies investigating the cytokine network in sepsis. After working as a post-doc at the University of Colorado, he returned to Nijmegen where he finished his clinical training as an infectious diseases specialist, and where he currently heads the division of Experimental Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Nijmegen University Nijmegen Medical Center. He is mainly interested in understanding the factors influencing variability of human immune responses, the biology of sepsis and immunoparalysis, and the study of the memory traits of innate immunity.
Dr. Larry Schlesinger’s lab studies human macrophage biology and the pathogenesis of tuberculosis and diseases due to other intracellular pathogens that subvert lung immune mechanisms. They have made important contributions to our understanding of human innate immune recognition by PRRs (esp. C-type lectins) and phagocytic receptors, phagocytosis, intracellular trafficking, mycobacterial glycolipids in pathogenesis and host adaptation, and, in particular, the role of surfactant in lung innate immunity for infectious agents. Discoveries from the lab have led to greater insight into the unique attributes that soluble and cellular components of the innate immune system of humans bring to the microbe-host interface, translating them into drug discovery platforms.
Reinout van Crevel
Dr. Reinout van Crevel is an infectious disease specialist and professor of Global Health and Infectious Diseases in Nijmegen (Netherlands). His TB research integrates patient studies and laboratory sciences, aiming for understanding susceptibility and immunopathology and improving clinical management and outcome. He has a longstanding collaboration with partners in Indonesia and Romania, with access to cohorts of specific TB phenotypes (‘early clearance’, LTBI, diabetic TB, TB meningitis.). His interest in the field of TB vaccine research includes assessing the potential role of BCG-induced trained immunity in innate resistance to TB.
Dr. Ramakrishna Vankayalapati, Chair for the Pulmonary Immunology Department at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UTHSCT) joined UTHSCT in April of 1999 as a Postdoctoral Fellow from the University of Toronto, Canada. From 2001-2003, he served as Instructor; from 2004-2007 as Assistant Professor; and then from 2007-2013 as Associate Professor. He was named Interim Chair for the Center for Pulmonary and Infectious Disease Control (CPIDC) in September of 2013, and in September of 2014 his title changed to Chair and Professor of the Pulmonary Immunology Department (previously CPIDC), as well as the holder of the Margaret E. Byers Cain Chair for Tuberculosis Research. He also serves as reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Heart Association, and the Medical Research Council in South Africa. Over the past decade, Dr. Vankayalapati has spearheaded research work on the role of natural killer (NK) cells in human tuberculosis. He has published more papers on this topic than any other scientist in the world, most of them in the prestigious Journal of Immunology. He has made important contributions to our understanding of how NK cells contribute to immune defense against tuberculosis. In addition to his substantial work on NK cells, he has gained expertise in studying the role of T regulatory cells, which are important in suppressing protective immunity to many pathogens. While at UTHSCT, Dr. Vankayalapati has received funding from the NIH for his research. He has also received funding from the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation to “Identify immunologic markers of persons at highest risk of progression of latent tuberculosis infection to tuberculosis.” He is also collaborating with doctors at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Hyderabad, India.
Dr. Ramnik Xavier is Director of the Center for Computational and Integrative Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Core Institute Member, Co-Director of the Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program, and Co-Investigator of the Turning the Tide Against Tuberculosis project at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. With Dr. Mihai Netea, he is actively investigating the role of trained immunity in tuberculosis. Dr. Xavier is also interested in identifying host factors and regulatory nodes that restrain Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and mechanisms that enable M. tuberculosis persistence. These areas of focus will contribute to our understanding of tuberculosis pathophysiology and pinpoint new targets for the development of improved diagnostic and therapeutic approaches.