Cellular and molecular mechanisms of trained immunity in major pulmonary infectious diseases

Meakins-Christie Laboratories, Research Institute of McGill University Health Center, Montreal, Quebec

Research topic

Our lab focuses on investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the cross-talk between innate and adaptive immunity to major pulmonary infectious diseases, such as influenza and tuberculosis. Although seasonal influenza is not a major risk to the general population, influenza virus has a high rate of mutation which leads to constant antigenic changes. Drastic antigenic variation may occur through genetic re-assortment of RNA genome segments between two strains of influenza viruses. When these new strains are introduced into a human population, a devastating pandemic can ensue. TB is already a devastating disease, infecting one third of the population, killing approximately two million people annually. Host survival during infection in vital organs, such as the lung, requires a delicate balance between host resistance, which is essential for detecting and eliminating the pathogens, and host tolerance, which is critical in minimizing collateral tissue damage. Thus, understanding the regulatory mechanisms involved in these different arms of immunity is essential for the future development of an effective therapy or vaccine.

Research Foci:

  1. Host defense (Resistance & Tolerance) against influenza and TB
  2. Hematopoietic Stem Cells in Infection and Vaccine
  3. Trained Innate Immunity
  4. Macrophage Cell Death Programs
  5. Metabolism in Infectious Diseases
  6. Eicosanoids in Infectious Diseases

Group leader

Associate Professor Maziar Divangahi 

Group members

  • Dr. Nargis Khan, postdoctoral fellow
  • Dr. Erwan Pernet, postdoctoral fellow
  • Dr. Eva Kaufmann, postdoctoral fellow
  • Jeffrey Downey, PhD-candidate
  • Orsolya Lapohos, Master student
  • Kim Tran, Master student

Selected publications

  • Kaufmann E, Sanz J, Dunn JL, Khan N, Mendonça LE, Pacis A, Tzelepis F, Pernet E, Dumaine A, Grenier JC, Mailhot-Léonard F, Ahmed E, Belle J, Besla R, Mazer B, King IL, Nijnik A, Robbins CS, Barreiro LB, Divangahi M. BCG Educates Hematopoietic Stem Cells to Generate Protective Innate Immunity against Tuberculosis. Cell. 2018 Jan 11;172(1-2):176-190.e19.
  • Divangahi M. Are tolerance and training required to end TB? Nat Rev Immunol. 2018 Nov; 18(11):661-663

Financial support