Alejandro Balasz, PhD
Professor of Medicine
The Harvard Medical School,
Massachusetts General Hospital &
The Ragon Institute

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center Auditorium
303 E. Superior Street | Chicago, IL 60611
Department of Microbiology-Immunology Seminar Series
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Alejandro B. Balazs is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a Principal Investigator at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. He leads a laboratory that explores the fundamental mechanisms by which the immune system prevents the establishment of infection by employing immunological engineering as a tool to dissect the underpinnings of protection mediated by the natural immune system. His group is focused on applying this understanding to the development and implementation of novel technologies to engineer immunity as an alternative approach towards preventing or treating infection. Recent studies identifying antibodies from infected patients that can neutralize diverse strains of HIV have changed the landscape of vaccine design. While these broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) are the ultimate goal of any future vaccine, a range of approaches is being explored to generate this class of antibody de novo in patients. This presentation will focus on the use of viral vectors as a means of producing these proteins in vivo. We demonstrate that these antibodies are capable of generating potent protection against challenge with replication competent HIV in humanized mice. We also find that bNAbs are capable of suppressing actively replicating HIV infections, which may form the basis of a novel therapeutic regimen for infected patients.

Host: Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster, PhD