Special Seminar: Molecular-level analysis of the serological antibody repertoire

Jiwon Lee, Postdoctoral Fellow, McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, U. Texas — Austin

Tuesday, May 30, 2017, 3:30–4:30pm

Rm. B01, MacLean ESC (Zaleski Auditorium)

A key element of the immune system is its diverse ensemble, or repertoire, of different antibody molecules that circulate in blood and recognize a plethora of pathogenic molecules. These antibody proteins circulate in serum and impart immunity to the individual by binding and neutralizing infectious agents, or by recruiting immune effector cells to clear damaged, infected, or cancerous cells; however, in some instances, the overzealous production of self-reacting antibodies can trigger autoimmune diseases as well. Thus, understanding antibody responses in health and disease is essential for developing prophylactics and therapeutics.

Influenza virus is a persistent global threat that causes hundreds of thousands of infections and tens of thousands of deaths every year in the U.S. alone. While vaccination is the most effective means to prevent infection, it still leaves a large fraction of the population vulnerable. Using high-resolution liquid-chromatography tandem mass-spectrometry proteomics (LC–MS/MS), coupled with high-throughput B cell sequencing, we can quantitatively delineate the influenza-specific serological antibody repertoire elicited by seasonal influenza vaccination. Subsequently, we can comprehensively characterize the functional activity of the most prevalent serum antibodies. Here I will present novel insights gained from these studies, in particular focusing on the biochemical and functional properties of the monoclonal antibodies identified from human serum. I will also highlight recent work demonstrating the surprisingly static nature of influenza serological immunity (or “memory”) as monitored for 6 years across multiple vaccinations in a single study subject.

About the Speaker

Jiwon Lee is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin where he also received his PhD degree. Prior to his time at UT Austin, he received his BA in molecular and cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley. As a graduate student, Jiwon refined cutting-edge technologies and developed analytical tools for immune profiling through direct analysis of serum antibody protein molecules. His research interest focuses on understanding how antibody repertoires impact health and disease in the context of infectious disease, autoimmunity, and cancer, then applying this knowledge as a guide for engineering next-generation prophylactics and therapeutics.

For more information, contact Marge Heggison at marge.heggison@dartmouth.edu.