Yaffa Mizrachi-Nebenzahl’s major fields of interests are microbial pathogenesis and the innate and adaptive immune response to microbial infections. She has finished her Ph.D. degree in the Department of Neurobiology at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel studying the nature of growth factors involved in neuronal regeneration. She has continued her research at the NIH studying neuronal cell differentiation. She has then switched her scientific interest and studied mechanisms underlying AIDS dementia and studied HIV-1 interaction with neuronal cells at UCLA in Los Angeles, USA, as a junior faculty at the Columbia University, New York City, NY, USA. She has then been appointed as the Head of the Allergy and Immunology laboratory at Albert Einstein college of Medicine in New York, in which she continued her studies on HIV interaction with the nervous system and immune system. Upon her return to Israel to the Health Science Faculty at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, she has started her research on Streptococcus pneumoniae pathogenesis. In these studies, she has identified a group of S. pneumoniaecell wall proteins that demonstrate age-dependent antigenicity. These proteins were found to elicit protective immune response against this pathogen in the mouse model system. The natures of the adaptive immune response rendering the host resistant to S. pneumoniaechallenge were investigated and found to encompass Th1, Th2, and Th17. The function of the identified proteins in pathogenesis was studied and some were found to be involved in bacterial resistance to oxidative conditions. Other proteins from this group were found to mediate bacterial adhesion to the host. The target molecules in the host to these adhesions were identified and inhibitors were designed that demonstrated ability to interfere in bacterial adhesion in vitro and prevent and treat S. pneumoniae infection in vivo in the mouse model system. The importance of IL-1 and NCR1 to the innate immune resistance to S. pneumoniaewas also determined.
Biography Updated on 15 August 2012