Major Areas of Research
- Molecular biology and bioinformatic platforms for next generation sequencing (NGS) of immune repertoires, whole transcriptomes, and targeted genomic regions.
The Vaccine Research Center (VRC) is designing, producing, and testing candidate immunogens aimed at eliciting broadly neutralizing HIV/SIV Env-specific antibodies. At the core of this effort lies the requirement to elicit antibodies that use particular IgH and IgL chain gene pairs that undergo a sequential series of somatic hypermutations to achieve effective function. The evolution of such antibodies, and thus the effectiveness of the vaccine, needs to monitored using a variety of molecular techniques that include the sequencing of Env-specific B cell IgG genes. The VRC has established the Genome Analysis Core (GAC) to develop and perform innovative sequencing techniques specifically targeted at immune respertoire analysis. These sequencing technologies are also being used to evaluate candidates for other vaccines, such as influenza and respiratory syncyticial virus, including those undertaken with VRC intra- and extramural collaborators. In addition, the SCL performs T-cell receptor repertoire sequencing, whole transcriptome sequencing, and targeted sequencing of specific genomic regions. The GAC has developed computational tools to analyze NGS data using the NIAID high-performance computing cluster.
For more information on research conducted by Dr. Douek, visit the Human Immunology Section.
Dr. Douek studied medicine at the Universities of Oxford and London, receiving academic scholarships from both institutions. He then practiced internal medicine and became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians (London) in 1993. He was awarded a Wellcome Trust Clinical Graduate Training Fellowship to pursue a Ph.D. in immunology at the University of London, which he earned in 1997. He completed his postdoctoral work at the Rockefeller University and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, where he was named assistant professor in infectious diseases (2000). Dr. Douek was appointed to a tenure-track position in the VRC Laboratory of Immunology in November 2000. He was converted to a tenured senior investigator position in February 2007, the year in which he was presented with the World AIDS Day Award. He serves as chief of the Human Immunology Section at the VRC. He initiated the establishment of the Genome Analysis Core and serves as its Chief.