NIBR
POSTDOCTORAL PROGRAM

ETraggiaiElisabetta Traggiai, PhD
Biologics Center
Basel, Switzerland

Antibodies are essential to the humoral immune response against pathogens, constitute one of the first lines of defense against re-infection, and can persist over time in the absence of antigens. The cellular basis of serological memory is represented by memory B cells and plasma cells. In recent years, an emerging need is to develop methods to analyze human B cell responses, in order to understand their regulation in normal as well as pathological situations such as autoimmune disorders, immunodeficiency, and infection diseases. One of the main limitations in studying B cell physiology is that mature B cells, naïve as well as memory, can be cultured in vitro with CD40L, cytokines, BCR triggering, TLR agonists, but when the cells respond to these stimuli, they develop into terminally differentiated plasma cells. This process is accompanied by cell cycle arrest, precluding the generation of long-term B cell lines. Most of my research focuses on understanding the innate mechanisms that contribute in the regulation of human B cells, and how these mechanisms are implicated in both protective as well as autoimmune responses.

Thus, three main research activities are being developed in the lab:

  1. Understanding the innate mechanisms that control human B cell responses
  2. Dissecting the role of B cells in autoimmunity and immunodeficiencies, in particular by studying human monogenic autoimmune diseases
  3. Developing a B cell selection platform with high-throughput culture methods and molecular sequencing approaches, such as single-cell PCR and next-generation sequencing of DNA from different species

Selected Publications

Immortalization of human B cells: analysis of B cell repertoire and production of human monoclonal antibodies
Traggiai E.
Methods Mol. Biol. 2012 901: 161-170

Homeostastic expansion of autoreactive immunoglobulin secreting cells in the rag2 mouse model of Omenn Syndrome
Cassani B, Poliani PL, Marrella V,Sauer AV, Schena F, Strina D, Wardemann H, Facchetti F, Mirjam van der Burg, Vezzosi P, Grassi F, Traggiai E, Villa A.
J Exp Med. 2010 Jul 5;207(7):1525-40

An efficient method to make human monoclonal antibodies from memory B cells: potent neutralization of SARS coronavirus.
Traggiai E, Becker S, Subbarao K, Kolesnikova L, Uematsu Y, Gismondo MR, Murphy BR, Rappuoli R, Lanzavecchia A.
Nat Med. 2004 Aug;10(8):871-5.

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