Northwestern Events Calendar


Department of Microbiology-Immunology: Alejandro Balazs, PhD

When: Tuesday, October 1, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: Simpson Querrey Biomedical Research Center, Auditorium, 303 E. Superior Street, Chicago, IL 60611 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Dr. Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster   (312) 503-5240

Group: Department of Microbiology-Immunology Seminars/Events

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Title: Escapability of HIV Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies is the Major
Driver of Therapeutic Efficacy

Speaker: Alejandro Balazs, Phd, Harvard University

Host: Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster, PhD


Dr. Alejandro B. Balazs is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at
Harvard Medical School and a Principal Investigator at the Ragon
Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, MA. Dr. Balazs received
his PhD from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral research at
the California Institute of Technology prior to joining the faculty at
Harvard Medical School in 2014. He leads a laboratory that explores the
fundamental mechanisms by which the immune system prevents the
establishment of infection by employing immunological engineering as a
tool to dissect the underpinnings of protection mediated by the natural
immune system. His group is focused on applying this understanding to
the development and implementation of novel technologies to engineer
immunity as an alternative approach towards preventing or treating

Recent studies identifying antibodies from infected patients that can
neutralize diverse strains of HIV have changed the landscape of vaccine
design. While these broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) are the
ultimate goal of any future vaccine, a range of approaches is being
explored to generate this class of antibody de novo in patients. This
presentation will focus on the use of viral vectors as a means of
producing these proteins in vivo. We demonstrate that these antibodies
are capable of generating potent protection against challenge with
replication competent HIV in humanized mice. We also find that bNAbs
are capable of suppressing actively replicating HIV infections, which
may form the basis of a novel therapeutic regimen for infected patients.

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