Mattia Bonsignori, M.D., M.S.

Translational Immunobiology Unit

Mattia Bonsignori, M.D., M.S.

Chief, Translational Immunobiology Unit

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Mattia Bonsignori, M.D., M.S.

Major Areas of Research

  • Genetic and functional antibody evolution
  • Effect of pre-existing immunity and autoreactivity on the maturation and function of B cell responses after infection and upon vaccination
  • Immunogen selection, design, and vaccine development
  • Antibody-based prophylactic and therapeutic countermeasures
  • Immuno-monitoring
  • Development of high-throughput assays
  • Pathogens: HIV-1, flaviviruses, influenza virus, herpesviruses, betacoronaviruses, emerging pathogens

Program Description

Humoral immunity is an essential component to clear infections and robust, long-lasting B cell-mediated memory is a correlate of protection for many vaccines. However, numerous factors related to both host and pathogen can influence the quality of humoral memory upon infection and vaccination. Studying the origin, maturation and evolutionary barriers of functionally active B cell clones provides valuable information on the natural history of effective and abherrant B cell reponses and a platform for the rational selection of immunogen designs.

The mission of the Translational Immunobiology Unit is to extend the basic understanding of B cell selection, clonal expansion and maturation into memory responses; to gather information from the natural evolution of B cell responses to inform effective immunogen designs, and to identify prophylactic and therapeutic antibody-based countermeasures. Studies will encompass primarily human and non-human primate specimens, as well as murine models, and will use multiple virus models, including HIV, flaviviruses, influenza virus, herpesviruses and betacoronaviruses.



M.D., M.S., University of Insubria Medical School, Varese, Italy

Dr. Bonsignori received his M.D. and M.S. in clinical microbiology and virology from the University of Insubria Medical School in Varese, Italy. He conducted postdoctoral research in the Department of Immunology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee before being appointed research associate at the Duke Human Vaccine Institute, Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolia, where his activity focused primarily on HIV vaccine development. In 2009, he established the Laboratory of B-cell Repertoire Analysis and ultimately attained the position of associate professor of medicine. In the HIV field, Dr. Bonsignori isolated multiple broadly neutralizing antibody B cell lineages from chronically HIV-1 infected individuals and characterized antibody/virus co-evolution to rationally select immunogen candidates for sequential vaccination schemes. Dr. Bonsignori developed a high-throughput memory B cell culture system for the functional screening of memory B cells at the single-cell level and conceptualized a novel framework for steering the immune response through immunogen design based on the probability of individual mutations and their effect on antibody effector functions. He later applied some of the technologies and workflows to study B cell responses to P. falciparum and Zika virus. Before NIAID, Dr. Bonsignori supported the Duke University student COVID-19 surveillance program by establishing a high-throughput workflow for the rapid accessioning, pooling and storage of nasal swab samples that sustained the screening of up to 20,000 samples per week.  Dr. Bonsignori joined the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases in March 2021.

Selected Publications

SM, Zhang R, Montefiori DC, Henderson R, Nie X, Kelsoe G, Moody MA, Chen X, Joyce MG, Kwong PD, Connors M, Mascola JR, McGuire AT, Stamatatos L, Medina-Ramírez M, Sanders RW, Saunders KO, Kepler TB, Haynes BF. Inference of the HIV-1 VRC01 Antibody Lineage Unmutated Common Ancestor Reveals Alternative Pathways to Overcome a Key Glycan Barrier. Immunity. 2018 Dec;49(6):1162-1174.e8.

Bonsignori M, Kreider EF, Fera D, Meyerhoff RR, Bradley T, Wiehe K, Alam SM, Aussedat B, Walkowicz WE, Hwang KK, Saunders KO, Zhang R, Gladden MA, Monroe A, Kumar A, Xia SM, Cooper M, Louder MK, McKee K, Bailer RT, Pier BW, Jette CA, Kelsoe G, Williams WB, Morris L, Kappes J, Wagh K, Kamanga G, Cohen MS, Hraber PT, Montefiori DC, Trama A, Liao HX, Kepler TB, Moody MA, Gao F, Danishefsky SJ, Mascola JR, Shaw GM, Hahn BH, Harrison SC, Korber BT, Haynes BF. Staged induction of HIV-1 glycan-dependent broadly neutralizing antibodies. Sci Transl Med. 2017 Mar;9(381):eaai7514.

Bonsignori M, Zhou T, Sheng Z, Chen L, Gao F, Joyce MG, Ozorowski G, Chuang GY, Schramm CA, Wiehe K, Alam SM, Bradley T, Gladden MA, Hwang KK, Iyengar S, Kumar A, Lu X, Luo K, Mangiapani MC, Parks RJ, Song H, Acharya P, Bailer RT, Cao A, Druz A, Georgiev IS, Kwon YD, Louder MK, Zhang B, Zheng A, Hill BJ, Kong R, Soto C; NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Mullikin JC, Douek DC, Montefiori DC, Moody MA, Shaw GM, Hahn BH, Kelsoe G, Hraber PT, Korber BT, Boyd SD, Fire AZ, Kepler TB, Shapiro L, Ward AB, Mascola JR, Liao HX, Kwong PD, Haynes BF. Maturation Pathway from Germline to Broad HIV-1 Neutralizer of a CD4-Mimic Antibody. Cell. 2016 Apr;165(2):449-63.

Gao F, Bonsignori M, Liao HX, Kumar A, Xia SM, Lu X, Cai F, Hwang KK, Song H, Zhou T, Lynch RM, Alam SM, Moody MA, Ferrari G, Berrong M, Kelsoe G, Shaw GM, Hahn BH, Montefiori DC, Kamanga G, Cohen MS, Hraber P, Kwong PD, Korber BT, Mascola JR, Kepler TB, Haynes BF. Cooperation of B cell lineages in induction of HIV-1-broadly neutralizing antibodies. Cell. 2014 Jul;158(3):481-91.

Bonsignori M, Wiehe K, Grimm SK, Lynch R, Yang G, Kozink DM, Perrin F, Cooper AJ, Hwang KK, Chen X, Liu M, McKee K, Parks RJ, Eudailey J, Wang M, Clowse M, Criscione-Schreiber LG, Moody MA, Ackerman ME, Boyd SD, Gao F, Kelsoe G, Verkoczy L, Tomaras GD, Liao HX, Kepler TB, Montefiori DC, Mascola JR, Haynes BF. An autoreactive antibody from an SLE/HIV-1 individual broadly neutralizes HIV-1. J Clin Invest. 2014 Apr;124(4):1835-43.

Bonsignori M, Hwang KK, Chen X, Tsao CY, Morris L, Gray E, Marshall DJ, Crump JA, Kapiga SH, Sam NE, Sinangil F, Pancera M, Yongping Y, Zhang B, Zhu J, Kwong PD, O'Dell S, Mascola JR, Wu L, Nabel GJ, Phogat S, Seaman MS, Whitesides JF, Moody MA, Kelsoe G, Yang X, Sodroski J, Shaw GM, Montefiori DC, Kepler TB, Tomaras GD, Alam SM, Liao HX, Haynes BF. Analysis of a clonal lineage of HIV-1 envelope V2/V3 conformational epitope-specific broadly neutralizing antibodies and their inferred unmutated common ancestors. J Virol. 2011 Oct;85(19):9998-10009.

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