The innate immune system is designed to protect us from microbial invasion; however not all microbes are harmful, and often it is best to avoid, or tailor, responses so that the immune system does not itself cause disease. Failure in regulation of immune responses leads to chronic inflammation and autoimmunity.
The overall theme of our research is to understand how innate immune receptors are regulated. This is important for human health because although most innate immune receptors detect unique molecular structures present on microbes and not in the host, a few detect highly conserved structures such as nucleic acids (DNA and RNA). Transmembrane receptors that detect DNA and RNA belong to a family of innate immune receptors called Toll-like receptors (TLRs).
Toll-like Receptor Regulation
We believe that identification of regulatory events for TLRs will reveal proteins or pathways that are therapeutic targets for interfering with TLR function and will lead to new treatments for autoimmune diseases such as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. We recently discovered that microenvironmental mechanics regulate TLR signaling and macrophage function. Findings from our study can be found in our recent paper.
Cornell PACE and Rising Stars Programs
Dr. Leifer and Dr. Hector Aguilar-Carreno are co-Directors of Cornell's new Program for Achieving Career Excellence (PACE), and the Rising Stars Program. These programs are funded by an NIAID/NIH R25 educational grant. The goal of the PACE program is to provide our early career faculty in the area of allergy and infectious diseases skills and opportunities to ensure their success as faculty at Cornell. The Rising Stars Program has a goal of enriching the diversity of applicants for faculty positions here at Cornell by providing support and pre-interview opportunities for underrepresented minority researchers. If you are interested in PACE or Rising Stars, please see out website, or contact Dr. Leifer or Dr. Aguilar-Carreno.
January 2019 POSITION AVAILABLE!
The Leifer lab has a position open for a student or postdoctoral fellow to work in collaboration with the Putnam lab on outer membrane vesicle (OMV) platforms for vaccines. The Leifer lab will investigate the innate immune stimulatory activity, both in vitro and in vivo, of various engineered OMVs. Interested candidates should send their CV, contact information for three references, and a short research interest statement to Dr. Leifer.
January 2019 Dr. Leifer filmed a pro-vaccination spot for the Immunization Coalition of Tompkins County.
December 2018 The last Immune podcast of the year was recorded. You can find Immune here: microbe.tv/immune
December 2018 The Leifer lab was funded, along with the Stokol and Nishimura labs, to study interactions between cancer cells and macrophages.
CONGRATULATIONS Erika Gruber for starting her faculty position as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology at NC State College of Veterinary Medicine.
October 2018 The Leifer lab was funded. along with the Putnam and August labs) to investigate the innate immune response to a novel combination-adjuvant vaccine platform. The goal is to develop broadly neutralizing antibodies to influenza, but the project will be both basic and translational. Trainees interested in a postdoctoral fellow position should contact Dr. Leifer for further information.
October 2018 The Cornell Institute of Host-Microbe Interactions and Disease (CIHMID) is soliciting applications for postdoctoral fellowships.
Details can be found at http://cihmid.cornell.edu/postdoc.html
September 2018 Dr. Leifer and Dr. Aguilar-Carreno are awarded an R25 to support a major program to hire diverse faculty and promote the professional development and success of early career NIAID researchers at Cornell--Cornell PACE
September 24, 2018 Erika's paper is highlighted in Faculty of 1000
July 30, 2018 Cornell covers Erika Gruber's recent paper
July 2018 Josh Jones begins his rotation in the Lab.
June 26-27, 2018 Dr. Leifer co-hosts the Immunology in Health and Disease Symposium with Dr. Pascual from Weill Cornell.
June 4, 2018. Ali Aygun joins the lab for the summer!
June 1, 2018. Dr. Leifer will be recording IMMUNE live at the American Society of Virology Conference. Stay tuned for more details.
May 24, 2018. Summer 2017 Intern Tuan Phan's exciting review on HHV-6 is published in Bone Marrow Transplantation: doi:10.1038/s41409-018-0225-2
April 18, 2018. Erika Gruber's paper is published at International Immunology: https://doi.org/10.1093/intimm/dxy027
October 23, 2017. Dr. Leifer recorded the premier episode of the new podcast, IMMUNE. Look for the launch on November 7, 2017.
August 28, 2017. Welcome to our new undergraduate, Ali Aygun.
July 1, 2017. Christa Heyward completed her post-doctoral position in our lab. Best of luck!
May 2017. Congratulations to Mark Derbyshire and Sean Callagy on their graduation from Cornell!
April 2017. Erika Gruber's manuscript was selected as Cornell's nominee for the Phi Zeta Research Award in Basic Research.