(Speaker Term: 7/1/12 - 6/30/14)
Department of Biology
The University of Texas at San Antonio
One UTSA Circle, M.B.T Room 1.242
San Antonio, TX 78249-0062
LECTURE TOPICS AND DESCRIPTIONS
Host Immune Responses Against Pulmonary Fungal Pathogens
The lungs are a gateway for numerous fungal pathogens that are ubiquitous in our environment. Exposure to these fungal pathogens oftentimes goes unnoticed due to the activation of our robust immune systems which sequester and control these microbes before significant damage occurs. Still, there are many situations in which host immunity becomes compromised thereby providing an opportunity for typically innocuous fungal organisms to become established and cause disease or for dormant infections to reawaken. This lecture will review the main aspects of innate and adaptive immune responses against pulmonary fungal pathogens and the potential for vaccines to prevent pulmonary fungal infections.
Potential for the Development of Vaccines Against Mycoses in Immune Compromised Individuals
Numerous experimental studies have demonstrated an ability to enhance immune responses against fungal infections in immunologically intact hosts. The current challenge is to elicit protective anti-fungal immune responses in immune suppressed hosts without inducing over exuberant immune responses resulting in host damage. This lecture is intended to provide an overview of the progress and remaining challenges towards developing vaccines to prevent fungal infections.
Induction of Protective Immunity Against Experimental Pulmonary Cryptococcosis in Immune Compromised Hosts
Cryptococcus neoformans, the predominant causative agent of cryptococcosis, is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that primarily causes life-threatening meningoencephalitis in individuals with impaired T cell function (i.e., individuals with AIDS, lymphoid malignancies, and recipients of immunosuppressive therapies). A vaccine to prevent cryptococcosis will have to overcome a myriad of challenges such as the need to 1) confer protection in the presence or absence of intact immunity, and 2) induce protection that endures during the subsequent development of immune suppression. The purpose of this lecture is to highlight the potential for developing therapies to induce protection against cryptococcosis in immune compromised hosts.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH – Floyd L. Wormley Jr.
Dr. Wormley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He received his B.S degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. Subsequently, he earned his M.S. and doctorate degrees from Louisiana State University Health Science Center also in New Orleans, LA. He joined UTSA in 2005 after completing postdoctoral studies in the Department of Medicine/Division of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. Dr. Wormley’s research program utilizes the human fungal pathogens Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii as model organisms to study host-fungal interactions for the purpose of developing novel immune therapies and/or vaccines to treat and/or prevent invasive fungal infections. His research is supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Army Research Office of the Department of Defense. He is a member of the UTSA South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases and a standing member of the AIDS-Associated Opportunistic Infections and Cancer (AOIC) NIH study section. Dr. Wormley is also an active American Society for Microbiology (ASM) member and an energetic member of ASM’s Committee on Microbiological Issues Impacting Minorities.
ASM MEMBERSHIP AFFILIATION – Floyd L. Wormley Jr.
Primary Division: F (Medical Mycology)
Secondary Division: E (Immunology)