Congratulations to Bruce Klein, MD, on the competitive renewal of his National Institutes of Health – National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH-NIAID) R01 grant entitled, “Mechanisms of antifungal vaccine immunity.” This project, which is starting its 15th year, addresses the role and action of IL-17 producing CD8+ T cells (Tc17 cells) that mediate vaccine immunity against lethal fungal pneumonia in CD4+ T-cell deficient hosts. This work tackles an unmet need: developing and understanding vaccines against fungi. It breaks new ground about anti-fungal memory immunity in CD4 deficient hosts, the role of Tc17 cells, and how these cells develop and their developmental pathways can be harnessed by adjuvant to protect immune deficient patients.
Dr. Klein was also awarded $413,875 from the National Institutes of Health – National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH-NIAID) for his R21 grant, “Tracking anti-fungal CD4+ T cells in vivo.” Systemic fungal infections represent a significant and growing public health problem. In the US, invasive fungal infections are now one of the 10 leading causes of death (7th) ahead of mortality due to tuberculosis. This study work tackles the significant unmet need of developing better ways to prevent these infections, by elucidating basic mechanisms of protective immunity against fungal pathogens so that the knowledge can be harnessed for disease prevention and therapeutic strategies.