Research Project: What Precursors Become Lung-Resident CD4 Memory that Protect Against Respiratory Infections or Cause Lung Pathology?
basic biologic mechanisms
Funded by the Jeanette Casano Catalyst Award
Respiratory infections, including the COVID-19 and influenza pandemics as well as yearly influenza outbreaks, are leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Lung damage caused by the pathogen and by strong immunity against the pathogen are often the causes of morbidity. Our research will define what generates an immune cell type located in the lung, known as CD4 T resident memory (CD4 Trm), which can provide frontline protection against respiratory infections. CD4 Trm confer long-lasting immunity even against mutating viruses. Lung-resident CD4 Trm can rapidly protect against respiratory infections but may also cause lung damage. We will explore their mechanisms of both protection and damage. This will give us new insights into designing vaccines that efficiently induce protection, while minimizing inadvertent lung damage. It will also inform interventions to reduce lung damage in patients with severe respiratory infections.