Areas of Focus

The bacteria that inhabit the human body are known as the commensal microbiota. These microbiota contribute to multiple aspects of host physiology and perhaps most saliently to the immune system at mucosal sites, which are directly adjacent to sites of high bacterial concentration.

The Hand Lab is focused upon two main aspects of mucosal immunity:

  1. Molecular and biochemical factors that can assure the success of oral vaccination against infections and
  2. Immune responses against commensal bacteria.

The latter comprises factors that lead to perturbation of the microbiome-immune relationship, including infection-induced changes, bacterial factors, nutrient-induced shifts and how these various changes in the microbiota may indicate infection and drive immune response.