Leyn Shakhtour

Characterization of humoral immune responses to influenza

Project Abstract

Influenza virus continues to be responsible for widespread illness and death in susceptible populations despite the presence of licensed antivirals and vaccines for flu. Influenza is a febrile respiratory disease of humans that can lead to complicated disease with secondary bacterial pneumoniae in patients with risk factors such as age, pregnancy, or underlying respiratory issues such as COPD. Recent work in the Crowe lab and others has identified monoclonal antibodies from recovered influenza patients with potent or broadly-reactive neutralizing efficacy against influenza viruses. Further characterization of the molecular interactions of these antibodies with viral envelope glycoproteins will allow optimization of antibody structure increasing potency and breath in a therapeutic antibody product. This information can also drive rational vaccine design improving the protective efficacy of current influenza vaccines. . The goal of the research in the Crowe lab is to identify and characterize human monoclonal antibodies from the peripheral blood of recovered patient donors. Using advanced cloning and expression techniques, we will elucidate the interaction of neutralizing (and non-neutralizing) monoclonal antibodies to influenza virus for their binding affinity, neutralizing potency, and protective efficacy against infectious virus in cell-based and animal based models. This work will allow development of important therapeutics and inform influenza vaccine design with the goal of preventing or treating influenza in susceptible populations.

Training Plan

The student will be supervised daily by multiple senior members of the Crowe lab, with regular (bi-weekly meetings with Dr. Crowe with the research team to allow for development and discussion of ideas, research plans, and evaluation of results and data.


Primary: Jim Crowe


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Summer Immersion 2018