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  • Alfred E.Mann Department of Biomedical Engineering - Seminar series

    Wed, May 01, 2024 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Alfred E. Mann Department of Biomedical Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Paula Cannon, Ph.D. , Distinguished Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in the Keck School of Medicine of USC

    Talk Title: Move over CAR T cells -“ engineering B cells to express custom molecules

    Abstract: We use CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to reprogram B cells to express custom antibodies and antibody-like molecules. These include broadly neutralizing antibodies that can control HIV, but which are not made in response to candidate HIV vaccines. To do this, we developed a simplified gene editing protocol that inserts custom antigen-recognizing domains into constant regions of the immunoglobulin locus, resulting in molecules that mimic the heavy chain only antibodies found in Camelids. This approach preserves the important features of natural antibody expression, allowing engineered B cells to respond to matched antigens and differentiate into antibody-secreting cells. I will present our data evaluating this approach in ex vivo human tonsil organoids and in non-human primates, and describe the flexibility and potential applications of this new type of immune cell therapy.

    Biography: Paula Cannon, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology in the Keck School of Medicine of USC. She obtained her PhD in bacterial gene transfer from the University of Liverpool in the UK and did postdoctoral work on HIV and gene therapy at both Harvard and Oxford Universities. Dr. Cannon uses gene editing technologies such as CRISPR/Cas9 to manipulate immune cells, with the goal of developing cell therapy treatments for HIV, cancer and other chronic diseases. Most recently, her group has been editing B cells to express completely customized molecules, such as antibodies that can neutralize multiple different strains of HIV. Such a platform could turn B cells into factories in the body to secrete antibodies with desirable properties, including those that are not easily generated by vaccination. Dr. Cannon is well known as a gene therapist and will become the president of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy in 2024.

    Host: Peter Wang

    Location: Corwin D. Denney Research Center (DRB) - 146

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Carla Stanard

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