Louis Lau

IgG Serum Avidity After Dengue Natural Infection and Vaccination: Breadth of Response and Association to Outcome

I aim to study the role of antibody avidity in the immune response to dengue virus (DENV) infection, and antibody-dependent enhancement as a result of low DENV-specific neutralizing activity, which is thought to influence progression to more severe disease in secondary heterotypic DENV infectionproblematic natural infections in hyperendemic areas. Despite the great burden of dengue disease worldwide, no antiviral therapy or vaccine is commercially available, although several vaccines are currently being tested in clinical trials. The first proof-of-concept dengue live attenuated vaccine efficacy trial that were recently published by Sanofi Pasteur showed only 30% overall efficacy, demonstrating partial (60-80%) protection towards 3 of 4 DENV serotypes with no protection against DENV2 infection despite high neutralization geometric mean titers in the serum of vaccinees against DENV2. This highlights the critical need to better understand the immune response to natural DENV infections and vaccine candidates and to identify robust correlates of protection.

Message to Sponsor

This SURF/Rose Hills fellowship is extremely critical to me as an undergraduate researcher, providing my living stipend during the summer while I work on projects based on my previous human immunology work under Dr. Eva Harris, where I studied the relationship between DENV-specific serum neutralization using dengue reporter virus particles and DENV-specific serum immunoglobulin avidity. Additionally, I helped establish an in vitro assay in the Harris laboratory to study various associations involving serum immunoglobulin avidity, and this funding allows me to optimize and further practice my areas of expertise in the lab as well as learn new fundamental techniques for the future.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Eva Harris, Public Health