Researcher | Research Overview
Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on the Vaccine Development and the immune mechanism of protection against important human pathogens, including Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, etc.
B- and T-cell mediated responses are two important arms of adaptive immunity, which provide different protection mechanisms against infectious diseases. Antibodies directed to the secreted toxins and the surface molecules, e.g. polysaccharides (PS) and membrane proteins, are highly effective against invasive infection of pathogens, whereas the immunity mediated by CD4+ T-cells, such as Th1 and Th17 cells, plays critical roles in the control and elimination of mucosal and intracellular pathogens.
Dr. Zhang has developed a novel technology, the multiple antigen presenting system (MAPS), which provides an efficient and effective platform to elicit comprehensive B- and T-cell immunity against PS and protein antigens. This technology has wide-range implications to the development of novel vaccines against many important human pathogens for which both humoral and cellular immunity play critical roles in protection. Candidate vaccines against a variety of pathogens, including S. pneumoniae, S. aureus, M. tuberculosis, and Salmonella typhi , have been designed and evaluated. Potent immune responses specific to the target pathogens have been observed in animals received candidate vaccines. Further preclinical studies on the protection of these vaccines against disease in animal models are ongoing. Roles of humoral and cellular immunity in the protection against different target pathogens are also investigated. In addition to the vaccine development, I am also interested in using MAPS platform as a research tool to study how immune system responds differentially to various antigens and the underlying mechanisms. I wish to evaluate the effects of various chemical, physical and molecular properties of antigens in the activation of antibody and cellular immune responses, and to identify co-factors that can facilitate or inhibit specific type of humoral or cellular immunity.
Researcher | Research Background
Fan Zhang received her PhD from Tsinghua University in China. She undertook Postdoctoral training first in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, and then in the Division of Infectious Disease at Boston Children’s Hospital.