Mucosal Immunology Group
In order to
advance rational HIV vaccine
designs that can efficiently
generate long-lived mucosal
immunity, better tools for
measuring mucosal immune
responses in humans are needed.
Standardization of specimen
collections has focused
primarily on mucosal secretions
to evaluate antibody responses.
By contrast, less effort has
been devoted to optimize and
standardize the collection of
mucosal secretions and tissues
to identify both innate and
adaptive cellular responses.
Thus, precise and comprehensive
characterization of mucosal
cellular immunity using
collection methods and detection
assays are critically needed.
This program will guide vaccine
and study designs to ultimately
determine which regimens
efficiently induce mucosal
HIV-specific responses, and
furthermore, which strategies
may potentially enhance HIV-1
infection through mucosal immune
the Mucosal Immunology Group
The mission of the Mucosal
Immunology Group is to identify
critical areas of need for a
Scientific Agenda that will
guide future mucosal studies.
Addressing the questions within
the Scientific Agenda will lead
to improvement and
standardization of mucosal
specimen collection for use in
clinical trials and assay
development for an enhanced
understanding of HIV-specific
cellular immunity in the mucosa.
Agenda Top Priorities
Since its establishment in 2009, the Mucosal Immunology Group (MIG) has focused its scientific efforts on addressing key technical and knowledge gaps to help inform clinical studies of mucosal immunity to HIV. Early MIG collaborative projects were aimed at developing optimized standard protocols for mucosal sample collections from the human gastrointestinal or genital tracts as well as at defining best practices for subsequent mucosal sample storage, processing and analysis by standardized assays to measure and characterize the major effector and memory mucosal immune responses to HIV in mucosal compartments.
Building on the knowledge gained from these early research collaborations, the MIG has broadened its scientific agenda in 2018 to include the following primary areas of scientific interest:
- Develop improved methodologies to interrogate and analyze the tissue microenvironment, mucosal fluids, and cellular and molecular interactions within human genital, oral, lung, and colorectal mucosa as these factors relate to HIV infection and/or immune responses to HIV.
- Develop and advance human mucosal tissue models that may more closely mimic HIV interactions in an intact mucosal environment and provide potentially more predictive value to better inform product decisions for multiple HIV preventive and therapeutic modalities.
- Evaluate the role of gut, oral, lung and genital microbiomes in modulating the effects of HIV prevention and therapeutic interventions, particularly vaccine-mediated responses, in mucosal tissues and fluids.
- Explore the dynamics of mucosal HIV latent reservoir formation in breakthrough cases/controls within HIV vaccine, immunoprophylaxis and immunotherapeutic studies, with a goal to gain insight into the contribution of pre- and post-infection immune responses on the reservoir size and kinetics.