Each year the American College of Rheumatology recognizes its members' outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology through an awards program. This year an excellent researcher, instructor, mentor, practitioner & leader was awarded the 2021 Excellence in Investigative Mentoring Award. Bryce Binstadt embodies the Excellence in Investigative Mentoring Award. This award recognizes the importance of the mentor/mentee relationship. A dedicated mentor can significantly influence the successful development and career of a mentee. This award honors an active ACR or ARP member for their contributions to the rheumatology profession through outstanding and ongoing mentoring. Funding support for this award of distinction is provided by the Rheumatology Research Foundation. Dr. Binstadt is routinely recognized as a Minnesota "Top Doctor" and he is a distinguished University teaching professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Pediatrics. He has a successful lab that is working on understanding the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases with particular emphasis on immune-mediated cardiovascular disease, he is a clinical pediatric rheumatologist who cares for children with arthritis, lupus, dermatomyositis, and related rheumatologic disorders, the Director of the Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program, an Associate Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (M.D./Ph.D.), and Director of the Pediatric Physician-Scientist Training Program. CFI would like to Congratulate Dr. Binstadt on this well distinguished and deserved honor!!
Below is a list of notable happenings, awards and accolades that members of CFI have achieved this year.
The Journal of Immunology announces 2 CFI papers "The most read in 2021"
The Center for Immunology is excited to have TWO published scientific papers in The Journal of Immunology that were among the most read in 2021.
The T cell vaccine work from the Dave Masopust/Ryan Langlois/Marc Jenkins labs had not one, but two of the published articles - “Cutting Edge: Mouse SARS-CoV-2 Epitope Reveals Infection and Vaccine-Elicited CD8 T Cell Responses” and “Cutting Edge: Nucleocapsid Vaccine Elicits Spike-Independent SARS-CoV-2 Protective Immunity” - that made that list of most read in 2021. An important note is to recognize these are the same groups that have contributed much to the University’s ongoing support for Minnesota’s COVID testing efforts – which shows that our work on behalf of our communities in the state doesn’t have to take away from our academic impact. To learn more about the COVID research being done by the Center for Immunology, go here or watch a story by Chris Hrapsky from KARE-11 news on "U of M researchers studying long-term immunity for COVID-19".
CFI researchers receive awards to support innovative research ideas
Drs. Tanya Freedman and Shawn Mahmud have been granted 2021 Rheumatology Research Foundation (RRF) awards to continue their proposed ongoing research projects that could lead to important breakthroughs in discovering new treatments for clinical use. Read more...
Amanda Kabage and Dr. Alexander Khoruts are quoted in a BBC News story about how your microbiome can improve your health. Read more...
Dr. Katherine Block featured on the Graduate School web page
The Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives (OPI), located within the Graduate School, advocates for postdoctoral fellows and researchers. As part of their ongoing outreach program, they spotlight current postdoctoral fellows, Dr. Katherine Block was recently in the spotlight.
The Graduate School offers not only graduate students assistance but also advocates for postdoctoral fellows and researchers through the Office of Postdoctoral Initiatives (OPI), which is located within the Graduate School. The OPI is a collaboration with faculty, administrators, and departments across the University to provide support and resources to postdoctoral scholars as they prepare for their future careers. This month the OPI featured Dr. Katherine Block on their front page. Dr. Block works in the Jameson lab where her research is focused on lung immunity, studying how prior microbial exposures influence the efficacy of influenza vaccines and modulate the immune response to inhaled allergens. Click here (or read below) to see her spotlight and to learn more about OPI.
Spotlight on Postdocs
Dr. Katharine Block, Ph.D. is a researcher in the Center for Immunology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Block’s projects focus on lung immunity, studying how prior microbial exposures influence the efficacy of influenza vaccines and modulate the immune response to inhaled allergens. Dr. Block is also a member of the campus group Empowering Women in Science and she was recently awarded the Postdoc Achievement Award for her Service to the Academic Community from the Office of Professional Development and the UMN Postdoctoral Association. Dr. Block is driven to do research that improves our understanding of human health and disease and is motivated to make STEM welcoming to everyone.
Dr. Bryce Binstadt is awarded the 2021 Distinction for Excellence in Investigative Mentoring
The American College of Rheumatology recognizes its members' outstanding contributions to the field of rheumatology through an awards program. The 2021 Distinction for Excellence in Investigative Mentoring was awarded to Bryce Binstadt, M.D., Ph.D.
CFI Postdoctoral Fellows honored as part of National Postdoc Appreciation Week
The UMN Postdoctoral Association recognizes three CFI postdoctoral fellows for their leadership and support for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our UMN community during the celebration of National Postdoc Appreciation Week.
Dr. Milagros Silva Morales received the 2021 University of Minnesota Postdoc Award in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in our Academic Community and Drs. Katherine Block and Nicholas Jarjour have been awarded the 2021 Service to the Academic Community award from the Office of Professional Development and the UMN Postdoctoral Association during the celebration of National Postdoc Appreciation Week! The Postdoctoral Association of the University of Minnesota has put together a series of events to bring UMN postdoctoral researchers together and showcase their excellent contributions to research and the community during National Postdoc Appreciation Week (NPAW).
Drs. Silva Morales, Block, and Jarjour work tirelessly to promote DEI within CFI and the University Community and all are members of EWIS and AIRE. Their contributions improve our community on a daily basis. Dr. Silva Morales was nominated by her peers, who spoke highly of her contributions to the local UMN science community as well as her work promoting STEM at all levels of education especially to the youth in the urban areas. “Milagros is a leader within the UMN community who has put in countless hours towards diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. She empowers folks around her.” Drs. Tori Osinski and Leigh Allen. Recently, Dr. Silva Morales was interviewed for the section International Biomedical Researchers Spark Innovation at the U as part of the Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion newsletter, which highlights several international students that play an important role in advancing healthcare innovations through research at the U every month. "By improving our cultural competence, we collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures," Dr. Silva Morales said. "In turn, we improve the understanding of our coworkers and patients’ belief systems and values, have better research teams, and provide better patient care."
A brief history of Dr. Robert Good's impact on the Center for Immunology and how his laboratory door became the entryway to research being conducted within CFI. Read more...
The Office of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion newsletter highlights several international students that play an important role in advancing healthcare innovations through research at the U every month. Recently, postdoctoral fellow Milagros Silva Morales, Ph.D. was interviewed in the section International Biomedical Researchers Spark Innovation at the U. "By improving our cultural competence, we collaborate effectively with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures," Dr. Silva Morales said. "In turn, we improve the understanding of our coworkers and patients’ belief systems and values, have better research teams, and provide better patient care." Read more.
Marco Pravetoni leads a trial of a University of Minnesota's opioid vaccine
The Star Tribune's Jeremy Olson, reports on the first-of-its-kind clinical trial in the Marco Pravetoni lab looking at the safety and efficacy of a vaccine designed to block the effects of oxycodone, a common opioid prescription painkiller. Read more...
Meagan Rollins Named 2021-2022 Dennis W. Watson Fellowship Recipient
Congratulations to the 2021-2022 Dennis W. Watson fellowship award winner, MICaB graduate student Meagan Rollins.
The recipient of the 2021-2022 Dennis W. Watson fellowship is MICaB graduate student Meagan Rollins. The Watson Fellowship is an annual competitive award for microbiology track students beginning their fourth year of study in the MICaB program and have as their faculty advisor a member of the microbiology faculty or MICaB microbiology track faculty. The student receives a one-year non-renewable fellowship in addition to a $500 cash award. Congratulations Meagan!
Meagan is a fourth year graduate student in Ingunn Stromnes lab. Her current research emphasis is understanding mechanisms of T cell exhaustion and engineered T cell immunotherapy for the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
Associate professor Sara Hamilton Hart’s research about the advances in the study of immune response with pet store mice is featured in an LMP website story here. Read more...
Congratulations to Lucy Sjaastad on receiving the 2021 Pfizer Junior Investigator Award
Lucy Sjaastad a 4th-year MICAB graduate student in Dr. Michael Farrar’s lab was awarded the Pfizer Junior Investigator Award for Most Promising Research Presentation at their Cytokines 2021 Hybrid Meeting. Along with a monetary award the highest scoring trainees are invited to participate in a Pfizer symposium. The symposium will feature a networking event to introduce the award winners to associated research groups within Pfizer and expose the trainees to potential collaborations and career opportunities in industry. The awards are sponsored by Pfizer in recognition of the next generation of cytokine & interferon researchers! Lucy studies regulatory T-cell (Treg) development and functions during infection. Recently, Lucy and her collaborators identified a unique population of Tregs that express a strong interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) signature. These Tregs are present in mice at steady-state and expand in the lungs and draining lymph nodes during infection with influenza A virus. Interestingly, ISG-Tregs emerge earlier during infection and express a distinct T-cell receptor repertoire but the function of these cells is unknown. Using a novel mouse model that enables inducible depletion of ISG-Tregs, Lucy and her colleagues aim to dissect the function of these Tregs during influenza infection.
Milcah Scott is awarded a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship
CFI would like to congratulate Milcah Scott, a predoctoral student in the Masopust Lab. Milcah was awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship for her work on a suite of contemporary and complementary whole animal, cellular and molecular approaches to better define the transcriptional programs and phenotypes of stringently-identified, bona fide tissue resident memory CD8 T cells (TRM). Refined analyses of TRM will broaden our understanding of how TRM are generated and maintained in tissues and are key to addressing deficiencies in our understanding of how (TRM) effect pathogen protection, tumor control, and autoimmune pathogenesis. The purpose of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Predoctoral Fellowship award is to enable promising predoctoral students to obtain individualized, mentored research training from outstanding faculty sponsors while conducting dissertation research in scientific health-related fields to enhance the individual’s potential to develop into a productive, independent research scientist.
AIRE begins a new Postdoctoral Fellow Seminar Series
Association of Immunologists for Racial Equity (AIRE, formerly ReJUS) is excited to announce the establishment of a new invited postdoctoral fellow seminar series. The series will begin in the summer of 2021 and run through the rest of the year
The seminar series is an effort to pique the interest of outstanding postdoctoral fellows from underrepresented minority backgrounds as they begin their faculty searches in CFI and to provide an opportunity to network with the CFI community. The invited postdoctoral fellows will have the opportunity to present their research at a seminar via Zoom and to meet with up to three CFI faculty members. We believe that having a diverse group of scientists and trainees in an inclusive environment is essential for scientific excellence. Any questions can be directed to AIRE.
For more information on speakers and dates of seminars refer to the front page of the CFI website or the AIRE website.
Congratulations to Dr. JT Greene for his American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellowship
J.T. Greene, Ph.D. from the Freedman lab was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the American Cancer Society to support his ongoing research and training. The Cancer Society awards researchers who are within 3 years of receiving a doctoral degree initial funding to start training for an independent career in cancer research. J.T. was also awarded The Ben G. Zimmerman Travel Award from the Department of Pharmacology, this award supports the participation (poster or oral presentation) of graduate students and postdoctoral trainees at scientific conferences.
Congratulations to the winners of the UMN Graduate Schools 2021 Best Dissertation Award! A student from each of four groups – arts and humanities, biological and life sciences, physical sciences and engineering, and social sciences and education – was chosen by faculty from the broad disciplinary area. Selections were based on the originality and importance of the research, as well as the potential for the student to make an unusually significant contribution to their field. Read more...
UMN "Legends in Pathology" Video Series
The department of Laboratory, Medicine, and Pathology has begun a video series called the"Legends in Pathology" that highlights the careers of their faculty. Many of the faculty are members of the Center for Immunology. Each story is a rich history of accomplishments that go back decades and are the building blocks of UMN research. To watch all the videos go here.
The most recent faculty member to be profiled was Dr. Harry Orr. Dr. Orr is a professor and the James Schindler and Bob Allison Ataxia Chair in Translational Research in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, he directs the Institute of Translational Neuroscience, and is a member of the Division of Molecular Pathology and Genomics and a faculty member of the Center for Immunology. His research is focused on the molecular genetics of neurodegenerative diseases, principally the autosomal dominant form of spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA1). Orr and his colleagues cloned the SCA1 gene and found that the disease is caused by the expansion of an unstable, repeated cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) sequence in DNA. The length of the trinucleotide repeat is associated with when symptoms develop. Orr and colleagues are currently exploring molecular approaches to treating patients with SCA1.
Dr. Kris Hogquist has been named a 2021 Distinguished Fellow of AAI
Dr. Kris Hogquist has been Kris has been named a 2021 distinguished Fellow of the American Association of Immunologists(AAI). This program is one of the highest honors bestowed by AAI. Members are recognized for their distinguished careers in the field of immunology; the new class of distinguished fellows has shown exceptional leadership to the immunology community at a national or international level; notable distinction as an educator and outstanding scientific contributions, as well as their service to AAI. It honors active, long-term members (25 or more years) who have demonstrated one or more of the following: excellence in research accomplishment in the field of immunology; exceptional leadership to the immunology community in academia, foundations, nonprofits, industry, or government at a national or international level; notable distinction as an educator.
Election as a Distinguished Fellow occurs annually and is among the highest honors bestowed by AAI. Distinguished Fellows bear the designation "DFAAI."
CFI would like to congratulate Dr. Hogquist on a well-deserved honor. Meet the class of 2021. The Virtual IMMUNOLOGY2021™ was held May 10–15, if you missed the awards presentation, click here. Past Recipients.
CFI would like to recognize all the hard work done by several labs over the last few months. While the world shut down, CFI continued to work hard. Thank you all for your dedication. Read more...
AAI bestows their highest honor the Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Marc Jenkins
The American Association of Immunologists (AAI) has bestowed their highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award on Dr. Marc Jenkins.
The AAI Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by the AAI Council upon an AAI member. This award recognizes a deserving member for a career of scientific achievement and for contributions to AAI and fellow immunologists. The award will be presented to Dr. Marc Jenkins on Monday, May 10, 2021 at the annual AAI meeting.
One of the goals of the Association of Immunologists for Racial Equity (AIRE, formerly ReJUS)at the CFI is to improve our knowledge of the history of racism and present-day impact of racism and how it affects our ability to access a common set of resources, including access and opportunities in STEM fields. AIRE will also link with other organizations such as EWIS and qualified professionals to provide diversity and bias training. Read more..
Bryce Binstadt, MD, PhD is named director of Pediatric Rheumatology in the Department of Pediatrics
Congratulations to Dr. Bryce Binstadt, he was recently named the director of the Pediatric Rheumatology division in the Department of Pediatrics. Pediatric Rheumatology is the specialty focused on the evaluation and care of children with arthritis and related diseases. Dr. Binstadt is a physician-scientist who cares for children with arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, and related rheumatologic disorders and heads a laboratory in the Center for Immunology, focusing on understanding the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases with particular emphasis on immune-mediated cardiovascular disease. Dr. Binstadt is also the Director of the Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program, an Associate Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program (M.D./Ph.D.), and Director of the Pediatric Physician-Scientist Training Program. He is routinely recognized as a Minnesota "Top Doctor" and he is a distinguished University teaching professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School’s Department of Pediatrics.
Marc Jenkins Featured in Minnesota Medicine Magazine article about "What's next in COVID vaccine?" by Linda Picone
Dr. Marc Jenkins was recently interviewed by Linda Picone for a piece in Minnesota Medicine Magazine. Read the whole piece, "What's Next in COVID Vaccine?"
Research into future vaccines
The development of initial COVID vaccines has not stopped research at the University of Minnesota on several models that use different mechanisms to stop the virus proteins.
The March/April 2021 issue of Minnesota Medicine Magazine interviewed Drs. Susan Kline and Marc Jenkins about the development of vaccines and subsequent distribution and what the future will look like as COVID research carries on. Dr. Jenkins talks about the current vaccine projects that several labs within CFI are currently working on to protect against COVID and any future forms of the virus. Read the entire article written by Linda Picone here.