Kellie Jurado, Ph.D.

Title
Presidential Assistant Professor of Microbiology
Department
Microbiology
Institution
University of Pennsylvania
Address
3450 Hamilton Walk 474A Stemmler Hall
City, State, ZIP
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone
215-573-6378
Email
[email protected]
Website
https://www.jurado-lab.com/
Research field
Immunology
Award year
2021

Research

The Jurado lab will examine how cells in the placenta protect an embryo from rejection by the maternal immune system. Pregnant females face a unique immunological challenge: While they must be able to eliminate infections, they must also avoid mounting an immune attack on their genetically dissimilar, developing embryos. This delicate negotiation is carried out by cells in the placenta, which can suppress the activity of maternal immune cells through immunosuppressive ligands. Now, using a suite of cutting-edge techniques in cell and molecular genetics, genomics, and immunobiology, I will catalog all of the immune modulatory molecules produced by placental cells and determine how they dampen the activity of activated immune cells in organoids and in pregnant female mice infected with Zika virus. I will then assess how blocking these protective responses affects the health and survival of mouse embryos. Because some tumors co-opt these immunosuppressive systems to avoid being eliminated by the host, this work could lead to novel ways to target cancers as well as autoimmune disorders.

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