Graduate Students

Roland Strong

The Strong lab's focus is structural molecular immunology: using biophysical approaches, particularly macromolecular crystallography, to study receptor/ligand interactions mediating immunity; current projects focus on NK and T cell receptors, immunorecognition of bacterial siderophores & AIDS vaccine development.  NK and T cells directly mediate anti-viral responses and are subject to a variety of viral evasion strategies.  Applicable ongoing studies include how virally-encoded proteins interfere with inducible markers of cellular distress, such as how the CMV UL16 protein blocks signaling through MIC proteins to NK cells and how CMV UL18 acts as a decoy ligand for various NK receptors, including LIR-1 and NKG2C.  As part of developing a humoral AIDS vaccine, we are studying the biophysical basis of neutralization by anti-HIV antibodies such as 4E10, a target of our immunogen-design effort.   4E10, an MPER-specific antibody, has been shown to bind to both HIV Env and viral membrane determinants, suggesting that both may be necessary for its broad neutralization properties.  However, we have shown that neutralization and specific membrane interactions are separable