Ali H. Ellebedy, PhD

Washington University in St. Louis (WU)

The ability of B cells to expand and differentiate into memory and plasma cells in response to antigenic stimulation underlies the success of most – if not all – vaccines currently in use. Despite this, and the fact that we have known about humoral immunity for centuries, we still do not have a thorough understanding of how the fate of responding B cell is determined, and how the longevity of the response is controlled. Such understanding will be key in our quest to develop vaccines that elicit broadly protective and durable immune responses. My lab is trying to address the following questions:
1) What are the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate memory B cell generation and maintenance?
2) What are the different subsets of human memory B cells? And how do they contribute to protection?
3) What are the rules for eliciting broadly neutralizing B cell responses against rapidly evolving pathogens, such as influenza viruses?