WMed to welcome Elizabeth Leadbetter, PhD, in November for Seminars in Investigative Medicine

Dr. Elizabeth Leadbetter
Elizabeth Leadbetter, PhD

The medical school will welcome Elizabeth Leadbetter, PhD, in November as the featured speaker for Seminars in Investigative Medicine.

Dr. Leadbetter will present “iNKT-cell dependent Tbet+ B cells accumulate in adipose tissue and exacerbate metabolic disease” during the free event, which will be held from noon to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10, at the W.E. Upjohn M.D. Campus in downtown Kalamazoo.

Dr. Leadbetter is an associate professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics at UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine. The research in her lab has two long-term goals: To thoroughly investigate the mechanisms and nature of cooperation between iNKT and B cells during responses to model and bacterial lipid antigens and to extend these finding to inform the development of a new family of lipid-based vaccine candidates.

Her studies focus on the fascinating interplay between innate and adaptive immune responses. Dr. Leadbetter’s initial studies in immunology were the first to describe the activation of autoreactive B cells by immune complexes containing antibodies and self-DNA, through the co-ligation of the B cells receptor and Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9).

She later established a research program that applied this same concept to a new innate player, the lipid-antigen-secific invariant NK T (iNKT) cell. These studies currently include studies of model lipid, protein, and polysaccharide antigens in murine models of infection, metabolic disease, and autoimmunity; including clinically relevant vaccine studies harnessing iNKT and B cell cooperation for protection.

Seminars in Investigative Medicine is a research seminar series at WMed aimed at bringing together the community of investigators both within – and outside — the medical school. In December, the medical school will welcome Robert Binder, PhD, professor of Immunology and director of the Graduate Program in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh.