New Grant Awards for Immunity Research

Robin Orozco (assistant professor) was awarded a Chemical Biology of Infectious Disease (CBID) CoBRE research grant entitled Chemical inhibition of PTPN22 to boost anti-viral immunity. Therapeutically targeting immune regulatory proteins is an effective way to overcome the immune exhaustion associated with chronic viral infections. This project aims to identify, define, and biologically validate a molecule that will target the PTPN22 protein to boost the anti-viral immune response. Successful completion of this project could lead to improved therapy options, and may enable development of a new tool to understand the biological impact of PTPN22 during disease. This work will be completed in collaboration with Dr. Anu Roy of the Infectious disease Assay Development Core, and Dr. David Johnson of the Computational Chemical Biology Core.


Dr. Orozco was also awarded a pilot grant from the Center for Genomics, entitled Pro-autoimmune allele of PTPN22 influences immune cell functions during virus infection. Mice expressing an allelic variant of Ptpn22 have enhanced anti-viral immunity, but it is not known how the variant drives immune cell activation during virus infection. This study will investigate the functional differences between wild type and Ptpn22 mutant alleles during virus infection, focusing two key anti-viral immune cells, CD8 T-cells and dendritic cells.