One of the areas of research aims to understand how humoral and cellular immunity is altered during pregnancy. We study the maternal immune response to the feto-placental unit using basic science to profile immune responses at the uterus in healthy and complicated pregnancies. We also study how pregnancy physiology alters the response to pathogens and vaccines, and how to optimize neonatal immunity through transplacental transfer of antibodies from mother to fetus.
Understanding how immune cells exert functions in their native context is fundamental towards deciphering engineering better defenses against viral infections or cancer. CVVR investigators collaboratively combine their deep expertise in translational immunology, viral pathogenesis and technological breakthroughs in spatial-omics to tackle intractable questions in infectious diseases.
Key breakthroughs in biological research often results from combining engineering innovative solutions to address fundamental questions. CVVR investigators are developing creative molecular tools to re-interrogate key questions in virus-host interactions and immune responses to diseases, thus enabling new insights into targetable therapeutics.
Several researchers at CVVR focus their work on the study of viruses that cause neurologic diseases, particularly JC and BK viruses. JC virus causes a devastating neurologic disease called progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) that can arise in people who are immunocompromised, such as people with AIDS or patients treated with monoclonal antibodies to suppress the immune system. CVVR faculty are researching new methods to diagnose and treat these neurologic disorders, as well as to better understand the basic science behind the pathology of these neuro-viruses. Additional work is done at CVVR to investigate other pathogens that affect the central nervous system, such as tuberculosis.
Understanding how viruses like HIV cause disease in humans is critical to better targeting new treatments and designing new vaccines. CVVR investigators explore viral pathogenesis in animal models and clinical studies to better understand how viral reservoirs are established, the kinetics of viral replication, and the impact that chronic infection has on the immune system.
One of the core areas of research at CVVR is the investigation of the immune system, with an emphasis on using basic science to leverage new concepts in vaccine design and anti-viral therapy. Many of our graduate students and postdoctoral fellows explore the fundamental mechanisms of innate and adaptive immunity, including the interplay between CD4+ and CD8+ T cell development, the role of NK cell memory in adaptive immunity, and the evolution of antibody responses following vaccination.
Center for Virology and Vaccine Research
3 Blackfan Circle
Boston, MA 02115 – USA
CVVR Clinical Trials Unit