Our body surfaces inhabit a myriad of microbes, our microbiota, which is composed of viruses, bacteria, archaea, and fungi. These commensal microorganisms live with us in a mutualistic relationship. At our mucosal body surfaces the density and diversity of the microbiota is one of the highest in the body. The Mucosal Immunology group is interested how B cells and their antibodies control this diverse microbiota and to protect from infection by pathogens at mucosal sites.
We use human samples and germ-free or gnotobiotic mouse models that possess a microbiota with defined composition of bacterial strains. These reductionist models allow us to address our questions at mechanistic and molecular detail. We pair those models with single cell B cell receptor repertoire analysis and monoclonal antibody testing to functionally define how the humoral immune system contributes to a mutualistic host-microbe relationship.
Our long-term goals are
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