Horizons in Biology and Medical via Webex: Dissecting human antibody responses. Useful, basic and surprising findings
Lanzavecchia's laboratory investigates the mechanisms of antibody-mediated resistance to infectious diseases. Using high-throughput cellular screens they isolated potent and broadly neutralizing antibodies that can be used for prophylaxis and treatment of infectious diseases and as tools for vaccine design. They also addressed fundamental aspects of the antibody response, such as the role of somatic mutations in affinity maturation and the relationship between infection and autoimmunity.
Surprisingly, while studying the antibody response to the malaria parasite, they discovered a new type of antibodies generated by the insertion of genomic DNA encoding pathogen receptors into antibody genes. In new Lanzavecchia's laboratory in Milano, they will combine cellular and molecular approaches to gain fundamental insights into the organization and dynamics of human memory B cell repertoires and will explore new strategies to engineer antibodies and B cells to improve and exploit their therapeutic efficacy.