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Postbac Seminar Series: May 16, 2019

Series: Science Skills; Speaking

May 16, 2019

This event is recommended for: Postbacs.

Science isn't complete until the results have been shared with others, and talking about your results is one of the important ways of making them public. The Postbac Seminar Series provides a unique opportunity for two Postbacs each month to present their research to a diverse audience of their peers.  The atmosphere is relatively informal and non-threatening.  The series allows Postbacs who attend to learn about the different types of biomedical research being conducted at the NIH while meeting other postbacs.  Read more about the seminar series.

This month's presenters are:

Farrah Karimipour (NCI)

Title: The role of TCR affinity in mediating tumor regression with adoptive T cell therapy

Summary:  With T cell receptor (TCR) therapy, patient T cells are re-directed against known tumor antigens using TCR gene therapy vectors. Infusion of TCR-engineered cells has yielded successful clinical responses for metastatic cancer, but the role of TCR affinity in mediating tumor regression is not fully understood. Utilizing two syngeneic mouse models, we demonstrate that tumors are killed in order of antigen strength by cytotoxic T cells in vitro and in vivo. Cumulatively, these findings suggest that adoptive T cell therapy with high-affinity TCR interactions engenders the most appreciable tumor regressions.

Bio:  Farrah graduated from Florida State University in 2018 with a Bachelors of Science degree in biology and a minor in chemistry. During this time, in the lab of Dr. Hengli Tang, she completed an honors thesis in the cellular and molecular mechanisms of Zika virus’ pathogenicity, and an internship at the Scripps Research Institute studying gamma-delta T cells. Now as a post-baccalaureate fellow at the National Cancer Institute, Farrah studies adoptive T cell therapy for treating human cancers.

Sarah Wong (NIA)

Title: Cycles of dietary restriction extend lifespan and confer protection against xenograft tumor growth in mice

Summary:  Chronic caloric restriction (CR) has previously been demonstrated to confer healthspan benefits across organisms from rodent models to humans. However, CR raises concerns with adherence in the clinical setting and fasting mimicking diet (FMD) regime has been proposed as a promising alternative. FMD cycles between low caloric intake and ad-libitum diet, rejuvenating metabolic processes and immune system function. Our study in mice compared two components: first, diet composition, using two different isocaloric FMD dietary strategies that either mimicked a plant-based diet or a Western diet; and second, the timing of feeding, comparing these FMD fasting regimes to chronic caloric restriction groups, ultimately determining the impact on healthspan.

Bio:  Sarah graduated from the University of Southern California in 2018, receiving a B.S. in Human Development and Aging and a minor in Chemistry. Her undergraduate research in the lab of Dr. Kelvin Davies focused on sex-specific differences in adaptation to oxidative stress in the model organism of Drosophila melanogaster. At the NIA, she is part of the Translational Gerontology Branch and in the lab of Dr. Rafael de Cabo, investigating dietary interventions and its conferral of healthspan and lifespan benefits with aging in various model organisms. She plans to pursue an MD-PhD in the future.


Sufia Bakshi (NIAMS)

Title: MyD88 S222R mutation implicated in a case of severe juvenile arthritis

Summary:  MyD88 is an adaptor protein that connects Toll-like receptor and IL-1 receptor signaling to NF-kB activation. My project is concerned with Myd88 S222R, a germline gain-of-function mutation that was found in a pediatric patient with severely erosive and progressively deforming arthritis. Our patient was non-responsive to traditional first-line therapies, such as methotrexate, NSAIDs, and corticosteroids. She also had a neutrophil-predominant infiltrate in her joints, as opposed to the lymphocytic infiltrates typically observed in juvenile cases. In vitro studies showed that Myd88 S222R resulted in higher baseline NF-kB activation and a strong neutrophilic chemokine signature. We introduced this mutation into C57BL/6 mice using CRISPR/Cas9. While the mice did not develop spontaneous arthritis, they exhibited a more severe arthritic phenotype using both collagen-induced and collagen antibody-induced arthritis models.

Bio:  Sufia received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Case Western Reserve University in 2018. Shortly thereafter, she joined the lab of Keith A. Sikora in NIAMS. She is applying to MD/PhD program in Immunology for Fall 2020.