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October 12, 2021-  
New study, "Human nasal wash RNA-seq reveals distinct cell-specific innate immune responses between influenza and SARS-CoV-2", published in JCI Insight.

UMass Chan MD/PhD student Kevin Gao, along with senior author Dr. Jennifer Wang, the late Dr. Robert Finberg, and colleagues, performed a small study comparing single-cell RNA-sequencing findings in freshly-collected nasal wash samples from UMass Memorial Medical Center patients diagnosed with either acute COVID or influenza to understand how upper airway immune and epithelial cell responses differ between these two respiratory viral infections. They found that age-associated B cells, which have previously been reported as enriched in blood from patients with severe COVID infection, were also enriched in COVID samples compared to influenza or healthy control samples. Additionally, they assessed for differentially expressed genes and receptor-ligand interactions across cell types; while influenza virus induces robust immune responses in both myeloid and epithelial cells, SARS-CoV-2 elicits strong immune responses in myeloid but not epithelial cells. Findings from this study of local upper respiratory tract responses to viral infection may help account for differences in course and resolution of infection in these diseases, and may lead to future research that elaborates upon mechanistic differences for disease progression. Read full text on JCI Insight.


Other Recent News

The Program in Innate Immunity welcomes our 2021-2022 T32 Trainees from the Innate Immunity Training Program and Autoimmunity and Autoinflammation Training Grant

 

Innate Immunity Training Program (IITP)

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Amanda Chan (Pathology)
Amanda is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Kenneth Rock’s lab. Her research focus is on MHC I antigen presentation in dendritic cells, macrophages and potentially non-hematopoietic cells. Amanda received her B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Rochester.

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Alexandre Dinis (Medicine)
Alex is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Egil Lien’s lab. His research focus is on determining the role of Ninjurin 1 in Caspase-8 driven host defenses against pathogens. Alex received his B.S. in Biology from Boston College.

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Xavier Gonzalez (MaPS)​
Xavier is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Javier Irazoqui’s lab. His research focus is on the nervous system regulation of intestinal host defense during bacterial infection in C. elegans. Xavier received his B.S. in Biology from Oregon State University.

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Sun-Young Lim (Medicine)
Sun is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Jennifer Wang’s lab, who also trained in Dr. Robert Finberg’s lab. Her research focus is on the role of host genes and antiviral agents to SARS-CoV-2. Sun received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Microbiology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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Katherine (Kit) Mocarski (Molecular Medicine)​
Kit is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Paul Greer’s and Dr. Robert Brown’s labs. Her research focus is on the genetic assessment of neuroinflammation throughout disease progression in ALS and genetic modification using Ms4a receptor manipulation. Kit received her B.A. in Neuroscience and Spanish from Sarah Lawrence College.

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Molly Murphy (Medicine)​
Molly is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Neal Silverman’s lab. Her research focus is on the innate immune responses to DNA virus infection in Drosophila. Molly received her B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Drew University.

Autoimmunity and Autoinflammation Training Grant (AATG)

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Roy Jung (Medicine)​
Roy is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Chinmay Trivedi’s lab. His research focus is on the role of interstitial fluid homeostasis and inflammation during development and disease. Roy received his B.A. in Neuroscience from Amherst College.

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Erica Katz (Dermatology)
Erica is a Ph.D. student in Dr. John Harris’ lab. Her research focus is on the role of regulatory T-cell adaptation of a type 1-like phenotype during vitiligo. Erica received her B.S. in Biomolecular Science from the University of Michigan.

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Benjamin Sallis (MaPS)
Ben is an M.D./Ph.D. student in Dr. Beth McCormick’s lab. His research focus is on the development and optimization of an anti-inflammatory microbial consortium for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. Ben received his B.S. in Biology and Philosophy from Boston College.

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Jeffrey Zhou (Medicine)
Jeffrey is an M.D./Ph.D. student in Dr. Kate Fitzgerald’s lab. His research focus is on the regulation and function of the NLRP1 inflammasome in humans, particularly in keratinocytes and airway epithelial cells. Jeffrey received his B.A. in Biochemistry from Columbia University.