Boyd Lab Research

We develop and apply new experimental "wet lab" methods and "dry lab" data analysis approaches to study human B cell responses and antibody repertoires across a wide range of immunological contexts. Lab members are typically involved in all aspects of carrying out experiments, generating data, and analyzing and visualizing the results. Active project areas include:

Allergic Diseases

Our investigations of human allergy, particularly severe food allergies such as peanut allergy, are focused on identifying the pathways that lead to production of IgE antibodies, determining which allergen-specific IgE clonotypes are pathogenic, and analyzing the protective mechanisms responsible for successful allergy immunotherapy. We analyze the B cells in both human blood and other disease-relevant tissue sites, such as the gastrointestinal tract for food allergies, and nasal mucosa for aeroallergies. Much of this work is done in collaboration with Drs. Kari Nadeau and Steve Galli, together with other members of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University, and is supported by an endowment from Dr. David A. Crown.

Immune Responses to Parasites

In this project area, we are studying adaptive immune responses to the hookworm Necator americanus, a helminth parasite. The focus of this work is analysis of primary infections with hookworm, and characterization of IgE responses as well as potential modes of immune modulation in this infection. This work is a collaboration with Drs. Jeffrey Bethony and David Diemert of the George Washington University.

Human Vaccine Responses

We are studying B cell responses and immunological memory to influenza vaccination and several other vaccines, to identify mechanisms leading to protective immunity, and to understand age-related changes in vaccine efficacy. Understanding the basis for successful immune responses could lead to improved vaccination strategies. In this work, we collaborate with Dr. Mark Davis and colleagues at the Stanford Human Immune Monitoring Center.

B cell responses to infectious diseases

We study human B cell responses to a variety of viral and bacterial infectious diseases, including HIV and Ebola virus, in collaboration with the CHAVI-ID consortium, Dr. Savita Pahwa (University of Miami), and Dr. Rafi Ahmed and colleagues (Emory University), among others. 

Antibody repertoires across the human lifespan

We are analyzing the effects of environmental and infectious disease exposures on development of the infant and child immune system, in collaboration with Dr. Julie Parsonnet and colleagues at Stanford. At the other extreme of human age, we seek to better understand the immunological changes associated with human aging, and ways that elderly individuals can be better protected from infectious diseases.

B cell responses in transplantation

We are studying the effects of organ or stem cell transplantation and immunosuppression on antibody responses, to identify correlates of successful transplants, and adverse events such as the development of Epstein-Barr virus-associated lymphomas post-transplant. In addition, we are analyzing the B cells that make antibodies against glycan antigens in the context of transplantation and in normal immunological development.