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Richard Malley MD
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Richard Malley, MD

Department: Medicine
Research Centers: Infectious Diseases Research Center
Hospital Title: Senior Associate Physician in Medicine
Academic Title: Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
Research Area: Pneumococcal pathogenesis and immunity
vaccine development
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Research Overview

Richard Malley's laboratory studies the acquired and innate immune responses to the common human pathogen, Streptococcus pneumoniae. A major area of interest of the laboratory is the development of alternatives to the expensive and serotype-dependent pneumococcal vaccines. Starting with the mucosal application of killed whole unencapsulated pneumococci, Malley and colleagues have identified a novel mechanism of immunity to pneumococcal colonization that may have important implications for the generation of immunity to this pathogen: the generation of specific IL-17A-producing CD4+ T cells that greatly reduce the duration and density of nasopharyngeal colonization. The Malley laboratory is working to further define this mechanism of protection. A related effort is also focused on the identification of novel B- and T- cell-dependent antigens, which may lead to novel vaccine candidates. With funding from PATH, and in collaboration with colleagues at the Harvard School of Public Health, Instituto Butantan in Brazil and University of Goteburg, Sweden, the Malley laboratory is pursuing the development of killed, whole cell vaccines for use in developing countries.

Another area of interest concerns the interplay between acquired and innate immunity to the pneumococcus. Data from the Malley laboratory show that the recognition of an important toxin of pneumococci--the cholesterol-dependent cytolysin pneumolysin-- occurs via Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). More recent data have focused on another component of pneumococcus that potently activates TLR2. Further studies are being performed to determine the specific pathways that are involved in the TLR4- and TLR2-mediated pro-inflammatory activities of these two pneumococcal antigens, the role of these interactions in the development of acquired immunity to pneumococcus, and the possibility of developing novel adjuvants based on these molecules.

About Richard Malley

Richard Malley received his MD degree from Tufts University School of Medicine. He completed an internship, residency and fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital.

Key Publications

  • Malley R, Trzcinski K, Srivastava A, Thompson CM, Anderson P, Lipsitch M. (2005) CD4+ T cells mediate antibody-independent acquired immunity to pneumococcal colonization. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Mar 29;102(13):4848-53.

  • Basset A, Thompson CM, Hollingshead SK, Briles DE, Ades EA, Lipsitch M and Malley R. Antibody independent, CD4+ T cell-dependent protection against pneumococcal colonization elicited by intranasal immunization with purified pneumococcal proteins. Infect Imm, 2007 Nov;75(11):5460-4. Epub 2007 Aug 13.

  • Trzciński K, Thompson CM, Srivastava A, Basset A, Malley R, and Lipsitch M. Protection against nasopharyngeal colonization by Streptococcus pneumoniae is mediated by antigen-specific CD4+ T cells. Infection and Immunity, 2008, Jul15; 47(2):289-91.

  • Lu YJ, Gross J, Bogaert D, Finn A, Bagrade L, Zhang Q, Kolls JK, Srivastava A, Lundgren A, Forte S, Thompson CM, Harney KF, Anderson PW, Lipsitch M, Malley R. Interleukin-17A mediates acquired immunity to pneumococcal colonization. PLoS Pathogens, 2008, Sep 19;4(9):e1000159.
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