University at Buffalo
The Witebsky Center

The Witebsky Center
University at Buffalo
Bacteriology Host-Microbe Interactions Immunology Parasitology Virology
The Witebsky Center The Witebsky Center

Participating Faculty:
Richard B. Bankert, V.M.D., Ph.D., Terry D. Connell, Ph.D., Kate Rittenhouse-Olson, Ph.D.,Stefan Ruhl, Ph.D.,D.D.S., Michael Russell, Ph.D., Elizabeth Wohlfert, Ph.D.

The immunological research pursued by members of the Center is diverse and ranges from the basic cell biology of the immune response and inflammation, to mechanisms of defense against infections and tumors, and the development of mucosal vaccines. Besides the research undertaken by Center members resident within the Center facility in the Biomedical Research Building (Drs. Bankert, Russell, and Connell), several Asssociate Members whose laboratories are located elsewhere contribute greatly to the spectrum of immunological research at University at Buffalo.

The Bankert laboratory is concerned with tumor immunity and the immunotherapy of human cancer. SCID-mouse models have been developed for the engraftment of human tumors with the autologous tumor infiltrating lymphocytes, and these are being exploited to comprehend the inflammatory and immunoregulatory processes taking place within the tumor microenvironment. Immunotherapeutic strategies are also being investigated, including targetted cytokine delivery to tumors to enhance T cell- and NK cell-dependent anti-tumor immunity, and dendritic cell-based vaccination strategies for lung cancer and B-cell lymphomas.

The Russell laboratory is broadly concerned with mucosal immunology, the generation and functions of secretory and circulating IgA antibodies, mucosal immune responses against bacterial infections, and novel approaches to mucosal vaccine development. Specific studies focus on the mechanism of action of gram-negative bacterial enterotoxins as mucosal adjuvants and coupled antigen delivery agents. Current applications of these technologies are in the development of vaccines against dental caries and gonorrhea. The Connell laboratory has been collaborating with the Russell laboratory over the mechanisms underlying the immunomodulatory activity shown by the type II heat-labile enterotoxins of E. coli in comparison with the better known type I cholera toxin. It is hoped that these studies will lead to the design of safe and effective adjuvants applicable to the development of new generations of oral or intranasal vaccines.

Dr. Garrett-Sinha's laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry studies the development of B cells and the signalling pathways involved in B cell maturation.

Dr. Rittenhouse-Olson's laboratory in the Department of Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences focuses on carbohydrate immunology and the effect of photodynamic therapy in the regulation of the immune response.

Dr. Murphy's laboratory in the CTRC studies chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including the immune response against the bacteria implicated in exacerbations of this condition and the development of vaccines against the infections.

Several of the immunologists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute play significant roles in the activities of the Center and collaborate with on-site members. These include Drs. Bangia, Clements, and Repasky. In addition, Center members at Buffalo General Hospital (Drs. Schwartz, Nair, and Bernstein) or Children's Hospital (Drs. Ballow and Faden) have research programs in immunology