Drs. Boyden and Ortega Win Travel Awards for the 2020 Annual Association of Immunology Meeting

March 16, 2020

Drs. Ortega, Karandikar and Boyden

Dr. Alex Boyden, from Dr. Nitin Karandikar’s laboratory, has won a podium presentation and travel award to present his research entitled “Myelin-specific CD8 T cells require IFNγ responsiveness to optimally suppress CNS autoimmunity” at the American Association of Immunologists annual meeting in Honolulu, HI May 8-12, 2020. This work demonstrates that immune autoregulatory CD8 T cells themselves are the target of a critical and previously unappreciated autocrine/paracrine IFNγ pathway, which these cells utilize to optimally inhibit paralysis during a mouse model of multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Sterling Ortega, Associate of Pathology, has won the AAI Minority Scientist Travel Award and will be presenting “Ischemic Factors Precipitate a Shift in Immune Cell Populations at the Site of Cerebrovascular Blockage”. This work stems from a collaboration with Drs. Santiago Ortega-Gutierrez (Department of Neurology) and Daniel Tranel (Department of Neuroscience).  The incidence of stroke has risen over the past decade and will continue to be one of the leading causes of adult disability and death worldwide. Reperfusion therapy using intravenous Alteplase within 3-4.5 hours or endovascular thrombectomy (a technique performed here at UI by Dr. Ortega-Gutierrez) for large vessel occlusion remains the only proven stroke therapy during the acute phase. But a select set of patients still exhibit poor recovery of neurological function, despite active cortical reorganization. The mechanisms that underlie this neurological dysfunction is still poorly understood. Subsequent to ischemic injury, a massive inflammatory response is seen for days, which exacerbates neuropathology in stroke models. The central goal of this project is to determine if early changes in immune cells near the site of occlusion can be used as predictors of long-term neurofunctional decline using standard, low-cost flow cytometry.  This project is funded, in part, from grants from the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine and Institute for Clinical and Translational Science.

The Karandikar Lab will also present two additional posters at the meeting. These include Alex Boyden’s “A novel B cell-dependent multiple sclerosis model using extracellular domains of myelin proteolipid protein” and Michael Crawford’s “Novel role for T-helper 17 signature cytokine, IL-17, in inducing CD4 effector resistance to immune suppression”.

For more details of the projects in the lab, visit:  https://karandikar.lab.uiowa.edu/research.