Oral Vaccination

Oral vaccination can provide effective protection against infection. However, in low-income countries where oral vaccines are most vital, they have been found to be largely ineffective. Our lab seeks to identify the factors important for effective oral vaccination.

The effectiveness of vaccination depends on the development of long-lived T and B cells. Critically, for effective protection, these cells need to reside at the mucosal surfaces they aim to protect. Unfortunately the molecular and biochemical signatures necessary for survival and differentiation at these sites are unknown and therefore are a main focus of the lab.

The failure of oral vaccination in low-income countries has been associated with a chronic autoinflammatory enteropathy. We recently developed a model of enteric infection with Yersinia pseudotuberculosis that leads to chronic damage to the gut-associated lymphatics and lymph nodes, ultimately reducing the effectiveness of oral vaccination. We are planning to investigate the mechanisms of this defect and their relationship to human disease.