Identification and Characterization of Norovirus Antibodies
In the Crowe lab we use a wide variety of cellular and biological techniques to decipher the humoral immune response to various infectious diseases. Our current studies revolve around infections caused by viruses such as HIV, Ebola, dengue, influenza and Chikungunya; and bacterial toxins such as those produced by Clostridium difficile and Bordetella pertussis, among others. I am particularly interested in norovirus, the leading viral cause of acute gastroenteritis. There are no specific antiviral drugs for this infection and therapeutic options are limited to supportive oral rehydration. There are currently no licensed vaccines available to prevent infection by norovirus. Therefore, I would like to identify and characterize antibodies capable of binding and neutralizing the virus. Using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from patients who have been infected by the virus I will be able to identify and isolate monoclonal antibodies with such capabilities. The epitopes recognized by such antibodies and the mechanism of action will help us understand norovirus pathogenesis and informs in designing effective vaccines.