In the Freund lab we are most interested in the antibody response that develops following pathogen infection. Antibodies are magnificent proteins that are secreted by B cells, and are the basis of all approved vaccines.After encountering a pathogen or an immunogen, B cells undergo a series regulated events, following which they differentiate into memory cells and plasma cells that secrete pathogen-specific antibodies.
These processes are responsible for long-term protection and memory. As part of our research, we investigate at the molecular basis of the human B cell response following infection and immunization. We focus on viruss, such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1 (HIV-1) and SARS Coronavirus 2, and on bacterial pathogens, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Our lab employs a verity of Single Cell methods to isolate pathogen-specific memory B cells from individuals, and profile them using a wide plethora of molecular, biochemical and computational tools.
We reproduce the naturally elicited neutralizing antibodies in the lab and test them in culture and animal models for their ability to inhibit and treat infection of their corresponding pathogen. Characterizing the natural antibody response to infection teaches us about the most prevalent vaccine targets and leads us to develop new antibody-based cocktails.
Natalia T Freund, PhD
Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology