Immunology and Allergy


William Lane, M.D., Ph.D.

Medical Need

Exposure to non-self red blood cells (RBCs) and platelet (PLT) antigens during transfusion or pregnancy can lead to the development of alloantibodies, that can cause clinically significant and even fatal complications. Therefore, antigen typing of both recipient and donor RBCs and platelets is vital and improves transfusion practice and outcomes. Current clinical methods for antigen typing use serology and molecular detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms (serology/SNPs), but these have limitations. To overcome these limitations, we are developing new typing methods using next generation sequencing (NSG).

Current Research

  1. We are validating a whole genome sequencing (WGS) based RBC and PLT antigen typing algorithm.
  2. We are developing gene specific NGS based antigen typing assays for clinical use.
  3. We are developing modern FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) based standards for antigen typing result transmission.
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Deepak Rao

Deepak A. Rao, M.D., Ph.D.

Medical Need

There is an expanding array of biologic therapies that can be used to treat autoimmune diseases, including B cell depletion, T cell costimulation blockade, and neutralization of specific cytokines (TNF, IL-1, and others). However, there are no tools to help predict which therapy will work best in an individual patient. We are using high-dimensional analyses of patient blood and tissue samples to identify active immune pathways in individual patients that guide selection of effective therapies.

Current Research

  1. What are the most prominent pathologic cell phenotypes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis and lupus?
  2. Are there immunologically distinct subsets of rheumatoid arthritis patients who respond to distinct therapies?
  3. Which pathways are most important in driving autoimmune T cell-B cell interactions?
  4. Which inflammatory diseases involve expansion of T peripheral helper cells?
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Soumya Raychaudhuri

Soumya Raychaudhuri, M.D., Ph.D.

Medical Need

The immune system, and its regulation is the center to a wide range of diseases including autoimmune diseases, cancer, infectious, and even metabolic diseases. Dysregulation of CD4+ T cells leads to greater risk of rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes, and tuberculosis. Each of these diseases affect different populations worldwide – but confer disability, morbidity, and mortality even with state of the art treatment.

Current Research

  1. We are devising computational and immunological tools to query the immune system to assess the health of CD4+ T cell subpopulations and functional response.
  2. We are using human genetics and genomics to define CD4+ T cell factors associated with disease.
  3. We are using the same tools to define dysfunction of these cell population in health and disease in order to define early stage diagnostics and markers of treatment response.

More at: Immunogenomics at HMS

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