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Zhenming Xu, Ph.D.
Tel: (210) 567-3964
Fax: (210) 567-6612
Ph.D., University of Southern California (2002)
B lymphocyte activation and differentiation in the antibody response; host immune response to infection, cancer and vaccination; Toll-like receptors and other immune receptors in B cells; autophagy in signal transduction/integration in immunity.
B cells and high-affinity class-switched (mature) antibodies are central to host immunity and immune memory elicited by infectious pathogens, tumoral cells and vaccines. The research in our laboratory aims to understand how B cells are activated to undergo immunoglobulin class switch DNA recombination (CSR) and somatic hypermutation (SHM) as well as to differentiate into long-lived memory B cells or antibody-secreting plasma cells. Our studies focus on identification of B cell-activating innate and adaptive stimuli, including those directly derived from microbial components (such as ligands for Toll-like receptors) and those produced by other host immune cells. They will also identify sensing receptors of such stimuli and address the B cell-intrinsic role of those receptors and downstream signaling molecules in mediating the effective antibody responses. Finally, we would like to understand the complex mutual influence of different signal transduction pathways, particularly those pertinent to NF-kB regulation (both positive and negative) in B cell homeostasis and differentiation. A disruption of the balance of these pathways would lead to B cell dysregulation that contributes to a range of pathological conditions, from immunodeficiency and immunoageing to autoimmune diseases and generation of atopic IgEs that mediate allergy. Overall, our studies are highly relevant to the development of antibody-centered vaccines and development of autoantibody-centered therapeutics for autoimmune diseases. They are also relevant to the development of new therapeutics for B cell neoplasia and lymphomagenesis, as frequently associated with microbial infections and inflammation.
American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
Travel award, the 14th International Meeting on Molecular Biology of Hepatitis B Viruses 1999
Charles Heidelberger Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, U.S.C. 2001
Travel award, the 9th International Meeting on HCV and Related Viruses 2002
Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, N.I.H. 2005-2008
Travel award, the 95th American Association of Immunologists Annual Meeting 2008
Travel grant award for early career faculty, AAI IMMUNOLOGY 2014™ Meeting 2014
Associate Editor, Autoimmunity (publisher: Informa Healthcare) 2013
Guest Editor, “TLRs in autoantibody responses” monographic issue, Autoimmunity 2014
Lab Rooms: 5.037V Lab Phone: (210) 567-3957