WELCOME TO THE COLLINS LAB
We are interested in understanding the molecular details of human adaptive immunity to arbovirus infection, how immune responses affect clinical outcomes of infection, and how knowledge can be translated into valuable public health tools such as vaccines and diagnostic tests.
Translational Arbovirology Research
The goal of our research is to reduce the burden of human disease caused by mosquito- and tick-borne viruses, particularly those transmitted by Aedes aegypti. Our work radiates from a central interest in understanding the immunology of host-pathogen interactions and its impact on driving protective versus pathogenic responses. To do this, we work in three key domains across the translational spectrum, seeking to take our research “banco a campo” (from the bench to the field).
Adaptive immune memory is an evolutionary feature of higher vertebrates that can provide protection against reinfection by the same pathogen. This protection is primarily mediated by T and B cells and the effector molecules they produce. We are interested in identifying the molecular targets of protective immune responses against arboviruses, and how these responses may be similar or different following vaccination compared to natural infection.
Serologic determination of arbovirus infection status is critical to many public health activities. Because a large proportion of arbovirus infections cause mild or no symptoms (inapparent infections), detection of antibodies elicited by prior infections is often the only option for determining prevalence and incidence of these pathogens in a population. However, the diagnosis of arbovirus infections, particularly closely related flavivirus can be complicated by serologic cross-reactivity. Our two-pronged approach involves 1) implementing existing methods for serologically detecting arbovirus infection in the most effective way possible to answer epidemiologic questions (see Applied Epidemiology) while 2) simultaneously working to develop improved serodiagnostic assays.
There are many unanswered questions that need to be addressed in order to achieve better control and prevention of illness due to arbovirus infection. These problems range from assessing baseline population immunity, conducting effective surveillance for introductory or epidemic transmission events, to assessing efficacy of interventions designed to reduce arbovirus transmission. We leverage our capacity in arbovirus serology to collaborate with colleagues and partners who share mutual research goals that are ultimately related to reducing arbovirus infections globally.
500 Irvin Ct Suite 200, Decatur, GA 30030