The host-immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection varies. Some individuals have a strong immune response, resulting in a cytokine storm and debilitating physical symptoms. Others experience only mild symptoms, if any at all. Understanding the host-immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is important for vaccine development efforts, interpreting disease pathogenesis, and calibrating future pandemic control measures. This webinar will explore recent discoveries about the way the immune system responds to SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Topics to be covered

-Adaptive immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 and common cold coronaviruses
-T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern

  • 1623174712-7b1faab8413eb9d1
    Daniela Weiskopf, PhD
    Research Assistant Professor, Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research, La Jolla Institute for Immunology
    Daniela Weiskopf researches T cell response to viral pathogens. In 2009, she received her PhD in immunology from Innsbruck Medical University, Austria, where she analyzed posttranslational modifications of virus-derived epitopes and the modulation of T cell immune responses during aging. Weiskopf completed her postdoctoral training at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology (LJI) where she characterized human dengue virus-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses in samples following experimental dengue vaccination. These studies led to the development of dengue-specific epitope megapools (MPs) that allow the testing of virus-specific T cells in small amounts of blood, irrespective of HLA restriction of the donor and infecting serotype. Weiskopf also studies Zika and Chikungunya virus-specific T cell responses and the effects of pre-existing immunity against dengue virus to subsequent Zika virus infection. As a research assistant professor in the Center for Infectious Diseases and Vaccine Research at LJI, Weiskopf focuses on the characterization of SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell responses.
  • 1623174800-fbdc6f6552686ab5
    Alessandro Sette, DSc
    Professor and Member, Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research, La Jolla Institute for Immunology
    Alessandro Sette has experience in biotech and academia investigating immune responses and developing disease intervention strategies against cancer, autoimmunity, allergy, and infectious diseases. Sette's research group focuses on epitopes. Sette oversaw the design and curation of the national Immune Epitope Database, a freely available, widely used bioinformatics resource that catalogs all human and animal epitopes for allergens, infectious diseases, autoantigens, and transplants, and includes epitope prediction tools that accelerate immunology research around the world. Sette’s research group uses their knowledge of epitopes to define the hallmarks of a beneficial immune response associated with effective vaccines. Sette’s infectious disease interests include SARS-CoV-2, dengue, Zika Chikungunya, herpesviruses, poxviruses, Lassa fever, HIV, and hepatitis viruses, and bacterial pathogens such as tuberculosis and Bordetella pertussis. Sette earned his doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Rome and completed his postdoctoral training at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver, Colorado. In 1988, Sette joined Cytel in La Jolla, and was appointed adjunct assistant professor at The Scripps Research Institute. He founded Epimmune in 1997, where he served both as vice president of research and chief scientific officer until 2002 when he joined LJI as the head of the Division of Vaccine Discovery. Sette also heads the Center for Infectious Disease at LJI.