James Kobie, PhD
University of Rochester
Title: "Understanding the B cell Response to SIV/HIV in Non-Human Primates"
Description: Inducing a protective B cell response to HIV is clearly a major strategy for vaccine mediated eradication and possible therapy for HIV. Unfortunately, little is known about the HIV-specific humoral response outside of characterizing serum antibodies during infection or following vaccination. Efforts thus far to extrapolate clinical correlates of humoral protection from long term non-progressing patients that can be applied to vaccine design, have been informative about broadly neutralizing antibodies, but do not adequately reveal details of the cellular development, differentiation, and multitude of factors that comprise the humoral response to HIV especially during the early stages of infection which is the target of vaccine-induced immunity. Utilizing non-human primates will enable us to precisely track the development, fate, function, and specificity of the B cell response to HIV/SIV in relation to viral mutation and generation of neutralizing antibodies, providing critical information for future design of HIV vaccination strategies.
Mentors: Dr. Nancy Haigwood (Oregon National Primate Research Center) has profound expertise in examining the relationship of the HIV Envelope protein and neutralizing antibody development, as well as the use of non-human primates for HIV research, and the ESI award is the ideal structure for our first formal collaboration. Dr. Michael Keefer (University of Rochester) provides a wealth of expertise as an HIV clinician with extensive experience in designing and conducting HIV vaccine clinical trials and has been integral in facilitating my HIV research efforts and engagement with the HIV research community for several years. Dr. Ignacio Sanz (University of Rochester) has extensive expertise in the study of human antibodies and B-cells, and has served as my primary mentor for over three years as we have been collaborating to examine the human B cell response to HIV.