Dynamics of Immune Responses

Dynamics of immune responses


Group leader

Matteo Iannacone


Armenise harvard

This group seeks to dissect the complex dynamics of host-virus interactions with a particular focus on the development and function of adaptive immune responses. Since it is still beyond the reach of even the most sophisticated in vitro methodology to simulate the complex interplay of physical, cellular, biochemical, and other factors that influence cell behavior in microvessels and interstitial tissues, we make use of intravital microscopy. This technique is complemented by more traditional molecular, cellular and histological approaches, thus characterizing host-virus interactions at the molecular, single cell- and whole animal-level.

Research activity

Our lab is dedicated to unraveling the intricate dynamics of immune responses to pathogens and tumors. Our work spans four primary research areas:

  1. HBV Infection: We aim to understand the emergence of dysfunctional adaptive immune cells in chronic hepatitis B and develop strategies to transform them into effective antiviral agents. Utilizing advanced imaging, high-dimensional flow cytometry, and single-cell sequencing, we explore the dysfunctional adaptive immune cells' proteogenomic landscape. Our goal is to uncover and target the dysregulated pathways, contributing to new concepts in adaptive immunity and viral pathogenesis with the potential to guide the development of innovative treatments for chronic HBV infection.

  2. COVID-19 Research: We are creating novel animal models and platforms to dissect the factors influencing COVID-19 severity, including the pathogenesis of anosmia and long-term infection consequences. Our efforts include the development and characterization of new protease inhibitors against COVID-19, facilitated by our cutting-edge BSL-3 animal facility equipped with multiphoton intravital microscopes and other sophisticated tools for real-time lung physiology assessment.

  3. B Cell Dynamics: This research avenue focuses on the diversity of B cell responses across various viral infections. Through specialized animal models, we investigate B cell activation dynamics and interactions with other immune cells, uncovering distinct cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate B cell behavior and humoral responses across different pathogens.

  4. Immune Cell Behavior in Liver Tumors: Our research into CD8+ T cells' role in combating liver tumors examines their migration, antigen recognition, and effector functions at an unprecedented single-cell level using advanced imaging techniques. We seek to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that enable CD8+ T cells to target and function within liver tumors, providing new insights into overcoming tumor-induced immune evasion.

Through these diverse yet interconnected projects, our lab aims to generate foundational knowledge and innovative therapies to combat infectious diseases and cancer, highlighting the adaptive immune system's role in health and disease.

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