Grant Awarded to Study How Memory T-Cells are Generated in the Context of Infection

August 3, 2015

Every time we get infected or vaccinated our body triggers an immune response that generates memory B and T cells. These memory cells live for long periods of time in our bodies and protect us from disease in the case of re-infection. Memory T cells are not only important in the fight against bacterial and viral infection but also against cancer.

Yet, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which these cells are generated, function and retain their long-life is limited. Dr. Emma Teixeiro, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology has received a 5 year $1.79 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH to study how pathogen-derived antigenic signals govern the generation and function of these memory T cells in the context of infection.

The NIH awarded Dr. Teixeiro’s research project based on its “high clinical significance due its involvement in vaccine development and autoimmune disease”. Remarkably, Dr. Teixeiro’s grant is based on breakthrough data generated by her team of graduate and undergraduate students in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology.

Dr. Teixeiro is also working in collaboration with Dr. Mark Daniels, PhD at the University of Missouri to apply their group’s findings to improve tumor therapies. Her group also collaborates with important immunologists and bacteriologists outside of the University of Missouri. Dr. Teixeiro expects that these shared efforts will soon provide important advances in the field that can aid in the design of better vaccines and improve cancer immunotherapies.