Laura Richert-Spuhler, PhD
Laboratory of Dr. Nichole Klatt
University of Washington Department of Pharmaceutics
Washington National Primate Research Center
During chronic HIV/SIV infection, homeostatic cells which produce IL-17 and IL-22 are significantly lost from the gastrointestinal tract and are not fully reconstituted in response to antiretroviral therapy. Importantly, the loss of these immune cell subsets has been directly correlated to epithelial barrier damage, which leads to microbial translocation and chronic immune activation. Dr. Richert-Spuhler has been working toward elucidating some of the underlying mechanisms, and the kinetic associations between homeostatic cell loss and resultant downstream effects.
Laura Richert-Spuhler received her Ph.D. in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from Montana State University in 2012, studying how past pathogen exposure modulates an individual’s future immune responses to unrelated antigens and pathogens. She has now transitioned to the laboratory of Dr. Nikki Klatt, whose program explores the mucosal mechanisms of immune dysfunction during lentiviral infection. Dr. Richert-Spuhler’s primary focus in the Klatt lab has been to identify the very early/acute immune mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions that are responsible for downstream aberrant responses in infected individuals.