Events Calendar

"Special" Seminar: Molecular-level Identification and Characterization of Antibody Repertoires in Health and Disease

Thursday, April 13, 2023
9:30 am - 10:30 am

Location: EER 3.646

The continuing emergence of globally circulating viruses highlights the need for a deep understanding of the durability of polyclonal antibody responses to viral infections and repeated vaccinations.  To this end, I will discuss two intertwined approaches we have developed to delineate individual antibody sequences from infected and/or vaccinated donors:  the first (BCR-Seq) uses ultradeep DNA sequencing from millions of B-cells circulating in the blood while the second (Ig-Seq) employs tandem mass spectrometry to interrogate the endpoint antibody proteins that are secreted into the serum. These partnered technologies not only provide new tools for antibody discovery but also access to a wealth of information regarding fundamental immunology questions previously intractable from examining bulk serum antibody responses or B-cells alone.  One of the more salient findings from our collective work is that antigen-experienced B-cell and serum antibody repertoires are highly disparate.  In a broad sense, humans have two distinct antibody repertoires that respond to an immune challenge:  the serological antibody repertoire that provides high affinity, endpoint protection against the challenge and a cellular antibody repertoire that casts a wide, diverse net of binding receptors ready to quickly respond to a similar re-challenge. Understanding these distinctions in the context of infectious disease and vaccines is of utmost importance for human health and improved therapeutics.  Finally, I will also present on new directions that we are taking to investigate humoral immune responses employing ex vivo B cell microfluidics and immune complex proteomic discovery.

Dr. Jason Lavinder is a research associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin.  He earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2009 from The Ohio State University, focusing on the development of high-throughput approaches to examine the sequence-structure-function relationships within proteins.  During his postdoctoral years within George Georgiou’s lab at UT Austin, he co-invented a pair of complementary technologies for high-throughput profiling of antibody repertoires using Next-Gen DNA Sequencing (BCR-Seq) and plasma antibody proteomics (Ig-Seq). Following his postdoctoral training, he took a position within the endogenous antibody discovery group at Pfizer Inc (Cambridge, MA) and subsequently, in 2018, co-founded a biotech startup in Wakefield, MA that utilizes single B cell microfluidics and yeast display for therapeutic antibody discovery.  In 2020, he returned to academia and sunshine at UT Austin on a research faculty track with a focus on antibody repertoire profiling in health and disease and continued technological development in the field of antibody discovery.

Speaker: Dr. Jason Lavinder, Research Associate (Georgiou)