Job has been filled!!!
Antibodies! The ongoing pandemic has put them on everyone’s mind. They have become synonymous with immunity and successful vaccination. The adaptive immune response can provide perfectly fitting antibodies for anything you can imagine, given enough time, repetitive exposure, and some magic. Surprisingly, there are still many black boxes in the process of antibody generation. If you are interested in solving mysteries, you should apply! Adaptive immunity balances on the edge of self-recognition. This is useful to respond to threads that resemble self, such as cancer. But, recognition of self can also prove problematic and result in auto-immunity. Subtle changes in this process have enormous effects. Luckily, this delicate balance is tightly regulated. Yet, there is great therapeutic potential in the ability to nudge this equilibrium in the right direction.
Germinal Centers (GC) are the central hubs where B cells fine-tune the affinity of their B cell receptor (BCR, membrane bound antibody). This affinity maturation is crucial for effective antibody responses as well as memory formation. It has long been known that activated GC stain positive with peanut agglutinin (PNA), while inactive follicles do not. Additionally, Solanum tuberosum agglutinin (STA) stains cellular subsets in the activated GC as well. Agglutinins bind specific sugar groups, such as sialic acids and other glycans. These sugar groups specifically change during active GC formation and glycans are known to signal in immune responses. This project will focus on the effect of sugar groups on adaptive immunity.
For this project, we seek an independent, motivated ‘immunologist to be’ to develop and perform cell based assays to establish the influence of glycan modifications on B- and T-cell GC responses using a variety of experimental approaches, including confocal microscopy, single cell RNA sequencing, and flow cytometry.