W. Gerald Teague, MD, the Ivy Foundation Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Director of the Child Health Research Center, and Jie Sun, PhD, Harrison Distinguished Teaching Professor of Medicine and Associate Director for Scientific Programs, Carter Immunology Center, were awarded $3.38 million in funding to study the lower respiratory mucosal immune response to infection and vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 in children with asthma. This grant will extend an ongoing effort started by Dr. Sun and Jinyi Tang, PhD, Research Associate, Carter Immunology Center, published in Science Immunology last year, which found that current mRNA vaccines induce sub-optimal mucosal immunity in vaccinated individuals, and mucosal booster vaccination is necessary to establish robust sterilizing immunity in the respiratory tract against SARS-CoV-2, including infection by variant strains of concern.
Dr. Teague has been an investigator in the Child Health Research Center since its inception, with strong support of its vision to generate fundamental new knowledge and the transfer of knowledge to develop novel therapies for the treatment of diseases in children. Dr. Teague’s focus has been on human subjects studies dedicated to understanding mechanisms of severe asthma in childhood, with an emphasis on lung fluid inflammatory signatures and how they inform asthma phenotypes. Dr. Sun’s work centers on mucosal immunity in infection, vaccination, and cancer. This new award will facilitate new collaborations into the interdependence of dysregulated airway epithelial innate and adaptive immune responses in asthma and how they alter responses to viral infections and vaccination by the Teague and Sun groups.