Shouxiong Huang, Ph.D.

Shouxiong Huang, Ph.D.

Institution: University of Cincinnati

Project: Finding a New TB Vaccine

Grant(s): Innovation Award

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infects one-third of the world's population. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis is present in virtually all countries, leading to an increased risk of failed antibiotic treatment. Development of novel TB vaccines is a global priority to fight tuberculosis. Although the licensed vaccine Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) has saved many children's lives, its protection against tuberculosis is insufficient. Previous vaccine development mainly focused on conventional T cells such as peptide-stimulated lymphocytes. We will target an unconventional T cell population, called mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, which rapidly responds to other bacterial metabolites in early infection. We will determine mycobacterial metabolites for MAIT cell activation to facilitate the development of new TB vaccines.


In the first year of the project, we made significant progress in discoveries of novel metabolite molecules for inducing rapid anti-mycobacterial MAIT cell responses. We identified multiple candidate metabolites to activate MAIT cells. We will complete the structural and functional characterization of M. tuberculosis metabolites to induce anti-mycobacterial MAIT cell responses in year two to provide candidate targets for immune protection.

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