Prof Bali Pulendran
Sponsored by the Society for Leukocyte Biology
Dr. Pulendran is a Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine of the Emory University School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in immunology from the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of the University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, and did his post-doctoral training at Immunex Corporation in Seattle, Washington. The overall goal of our research is to understand how the innate immune system regulates adaptive immune responses to pathogens and, harness this knowledge in the design of vaccines and therapeutics. Towards this end, we are using an integrative systems biological approach that use high throughput assays (transcriptomics, micro RNA expression, metabolomics) combined with computational approaches, in the following intertwined areas of research:
1) Dendritic cell control of adaptive immunity.
2) Innate control of “self” – “non-self” discrimination in the intestine.
3) Learning immunology from vaccination.
In related work, we have designed synthetic vaccines that recapitulate one of the most salient features of successful live vaccines: the ability to induce persistent antibody responses that last a lifetime. We designed a synthetic nanoparticle based vaccine that resembled a virus in size and composition (multiple TLRs). Such particles induced lifelong antibody responses in mice. We are currently performing experiments in non-human primates to assess the efficacy of these nanoparticles in inducing protective immunity against HIV and malaria.