Doctor of Philosophy, Stanford University, MI-PHD (2016)
Bachelor of Arts, University of California Berkeley, Molecular and Cellular Biology (2011)
Preterm labor and infections are the leading causes of neonatal deaths worldwide. During pregnancy, immunological cross talk between the mother and her fetus is critical for the maintenance of pregnancy and the delivery of an immunocompetent neonate. A precise understanding of healthy fetomaternal immunity is the important first step to identifying dysregulated immune mechanisms driving adverse maternal or neonatal outcomes. This study combined single-cell mass cytometry of paired peripheral and umbilical cord blood samples from mothers and their neonates with a graphical approach developed for the visualization of high-dimensional data to provide a high-resolution reference map of the cellular composition and functional organization of the healthy fetal and maternal immune systems at birth. The approach enabled mapping of known phenotypical and functional characteristics of fetal immunity (including the functional hyperresponsiveness of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells and the global blunting of innate immune responses). It also allowed discovery of new properties that distinguish the fetal and maternal immune systems. For example, examination of paired samples revealed differences in endogenous signaling tone that are unique to a mother and her offspring, including increased ERK1/2, MAPK-activated protein kinase 2, rpS6, and CREB phosphorylation in fetal Tbet(+)CD4(+) T cells, CD8(+) T cells, B cells, and CD56(lo)CD16(+) NK cells and decreased ERK1/2, MAPK-activated protein kinase 2, and STAT1 phosphorylation in fetal intermediate and nonclassical monocytes. This highly interactive functional map of healthy fetomaternal immunity builds the core reference for a growing data repository that will allow inferring deviations from normal associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes.
View details for PubMedID 27793998
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5125527
Recovery after surgery is highly variable. Risk-stratifying patients based on their predicted recovery profile will afford individualized perioperative management strategies. Recently, application of mass cytometry in patients undergoing hip arthroplasty revealed strong immune correlates of surgical recovery in blood samples collected shortly after surgery. However, the ability to interrogate a patient's immune state before surgery and predict recovery is highly desirable in perioperative medicine.To evaluate a patient's presurgical immune state, cell-type-specific intracellular signaling responses to ex vivo ligands (lipopolysaccharide, interleukin [IL]-6, IL-10, and IL-2/granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor) were quantified by mass cytometry in presurgical blood samples. Selected ligands modulate signaling processes perturbed by surgery. Twenty-three cell surface and 11 intracellular markers were used for the phenotypic and functional characterization of major immune cell subsets. Evoked immune responses were regressed against patient-centered outcomes, contributing to protracted recovery including functional impairment, postoperative pain, and fatigue.Evoked signaling responses varied significantly and defined patient-specific presurgical immune states. Eighteen signaling responses correlated significantly with surgical recovery parameters (|R| = 0.37 to 0.70; false discovery rate < 0.01). Signaling responses downstream of the toll-like receptor 4 in cluster of differentiation (CD) 14 monocytes were particularly strong correlates, accounting for 50% of observed variance. Immune correlates identified in presurgical blood samples mirrored correlates identified in postsurgical blood samples.Convergent findings in pre- and postsurgical analyses provide validation of reported immune correlates and suggest a critical role of the toll-like receptor 4 signaling pathway in monocytes for the clinical recovery process. The comprehensive assessment of patients' preoperative immune state is promising for predicting important recovery parameters and may lead to clinical tests using standard flow cytometry.
View details for DOI 10.1097/ALN.0000000000000887
View details for Web of Science ID 000365483600009
View details for PubMedID 26655308
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4681408
Immune cells function in an interacting hierarchy that coordinates the activities of various cell types according to genetic and environmental contexts. We developed graphical approaches to construct an extensible immune reference map from mass cytometry data of cells from different organs, incorporating landmark cell populations as flags on the map to compare cells from distinct samples. The maps recapitulated canonical cellular phenotypes and revealed reproducible, tissue-specific deviations. The approach revealed influences of genetic variation and circadian rhythms on immune system structure, enabled direct comparisons of murine and human blood cell phenotypes, and even enabled archival fluorescence-based flow cytometry data to be mapped onto the reference framework. This foundational reference map provides a working definition of systemic immune organization to which new data can be integrated to reveal deviations driven by genetics, environment, or pathology.
View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1259425
View details for PubMedID 26160952
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4537647
Delayed recovery from surgery causes personal suffering and substantial societal and economic costs. Whether immune mechanisms determine recovery after surgical trauma remains ill-defined. Single-cell mass cytometry was applied to serial whole-blood samples from 32 patients undergoing hip replacement to comprehensively characterize the phenotypic and functional immune response to surgical trauma. The simultaneous analysis of 14,000 phosphorylation events in precisely phenotyped immune cell subsets revealed uniform signaling responses among patients, demarcating a surgical immune signature. When regressed against clinical parameters of surgical recovery, including functional impairment and pain, strong correlations were found with STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription), CREB (adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate response element-binding protein), and NF-κB (nuclear factor κB) signaling responses in subsets of CD14(+) monocytes (R = 0.7 to 0.8, false discovery rate <0.01). These sentinel results demonstrate the capacity of mass cytometry to survey the human immune system in a relevant clinical context. The mechanistically derived immune correlates point to diagnostic signatures, and potential therapeutic targets, that could postoperatively improve patient recovery.
View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009701
View details for PubMedID 25253674
Despite clear differences in immune system responses and in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases between males and females, there is little understanding of the processes involved. In this study, we identified a gene signature of immature-like neutrophils, characterized by the overexpression of genes encoding for several granule-containing proteins, which was found at higher levels (up to 3-fold) in young (20-30 y old) but not older (60 to >89 y old) males compared with females. Functional and phenotypic characterization of peripheral blood neutrophils revealed more mature and responsive neutrophils in young females, which also exhibited an elevated capacity in neutrophil extracellular trap formation at baseline and upon microbial or sterile autoimmune stimuli. The expression levels of the immature-like neutrophil signature increased linearly with pregnancy, an immune state of increased susceptibility to certain infections. Using mass cytometry, we also find increased frequencies of immature forms of neutrophils in the blood of women during late pregnancy. Thus, our findings show novel sex differences in innate immunity and identify a common neutrophil signature in males and in pregnant women.
View details for DOI 10.4049/jimmunol.1601855
View details for PubMedID 28179497
Low-grade, chronic inflammation has been associated with many diseases of aging, but the mechanisms responsible for producing this inflammation remain unclear. Inflammasomes can drive chronic inflammation in the context of an infectious disease or cellular stress, and they trigger the maturation of interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Here we find that the expression of specific inflammasome gene modules stratifies older individuals into two extremes: those with constitutive expression of IL-1β, nucleotide metabolism dysfunction, elevated oxidative stress, high rates of hypertension and arterial stiffness; and those without constitutive expression of IL-1β, who lack these characteristics. Adenine and N(4)-acetylcytidine, nucleotide-derived metabolites that are detectable in the blood of the former group, prime and activate the NLRC4 inflammasome, induce the production of IL-1β, activate platelets and neutrophils and elevate blood pressure in mice. In individuals over 85 years of age, the elevated expression of inflammasome gene modules was associated with all-cause mortality. Thus, targeting inflammasome components may ameliorate chronic inflammation and various other age-associated conditions.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nm.4267
View details for Web of Science ID 000393729000009
View details for PubMedID 28092664
Sulfomenaquinone (SMK) is a recently identified metabolite that is unique to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) complex and is shown to modulate its virulence. Here, we report the identification of the SMK biosynthetic operon that, in addition to a previously identified sulfotransferase stf3, includes a putative cytochrome P450 gene (cyp128) and a gene of unknown function, rv2269c. We demonstrate that cyp128 and stf3 are sufficient for the biosynthesis of SMK from menaquinone and rv2269c exhibits promoter activity in M. tuberculosis. Loss of Stf3 expression, but not that of Cyp128, is correlated with elevated levels of menaquinone-9, an essential component in the electron-transport chain in M. tuberculosis. Finally, we showed in a mouse model of infection that the loss of cyp128 exhibits a hypervirulent phenotype similar to that in previous studies of the stf3 mutant. These findings provide a platform for defining the molecular basis of SMK's role in M. tuberculosis pathogenesis.
View details for DOI 10.1021/acsinfecdis.6b00106
View details for Web of Science ID 000388161300007
View details for PubMedID 27933784
Endogenous intestinal microbiota have wide-ranging and largely uncharacterized effects on host physiology. Here, we used reverse-phase liquid chromatography-coupled tandem mass spectrometry to define the mouse intestinal proteome in the stomach, jejunum, ileum, cecum and proximal colon under three colonization states: germ-free (GF), monocolonized with Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron and conventionally raised (CR). Our analysis revealed distinct proteomic abundance profiles along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Unsupervised clustering showed that host protein abundance primarily depended on GI location rather than colonization state and specific proteins and functions that defined these locations were identified by random forest classifications. K-means clustering of protein abundance across locations revealed substantial differences in host protein production between CR mice relative to GF and monocolonized mice. Finally, comparison with fecal proteomic data sets suggested that the identities of stool proteins are not biased to any region of the GI tract, but are substantially impacted by the microbiota in the distal colon.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ismej.2015.187
View details for Web of Science ID 000374377200014
View details for PubMedID 26574685
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5029216
Single-cell technologies have immense potential to shed light on molecular and biological processes that drive human diseases. Mass cytometry (or Cytometry by Time Of Flight mass spectrometry, CyTOF) has already been employed in clinical studies to comprehensively survey patients' circulating immune system. As interest in the "bedside" application of mass cytometry is growing, the delineation of relevant methodological issues is called for. This report uses a newly generated dataset to discuss important methodological considerations when mass cytometry is implemented in a clinical study. Specifically, the use of whole blood samples versus peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), design of mass-tagged antibody panels, technical and analytical implications of sample barcoding, and application of traditional and unsupervised approaches to analyze high-dimensional mass cytometry datasets are discussed. A mass cytometry assay was implemented in a cross-sectional study of 19 women with a history of term or preterm birth to determine whether immune traits in peripheral blood differentiate the two groups in the absence of pregnancy. Twenty-seven phenotypic and 11 intracellular markers were simultaneously analyzed in whole blood samples stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS at 0, 0.1, 1, 10, and 100 ng mL(-1) ) to examine dose-dependent signaling responses within the toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) pathway. Complementary analyses, grounded in traditional or unsupervised gating strategies of immune cell subsets, indicated that the prpS6 and pMAPKAPK2 responses in classical monocytes are accentuated in women with a history of preterm birth (FDR<1%). The results suggest that women predisposed to preterm birth may be prone to mount an exacerbated TLR4 response during the course of pregnancy. This important hypothesis-generating finding points to the power of single-cell mass cytometry to detect biologically important differences in a relatively small patient cohort. © 2015 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.
View details for DOI 10.1002/cyto.a.22720
View details for PubMedID 26190063
Fluorescent cellular barcoding and mass-tag cellular barcoding are cytometric methods that enable high sample throughput, minimize inter-sample variation, and reduce reagent consumption. Previously employed barcoding protocols require that barcoding be performed after surface marker staining, complicating combining the technique with measurement of alcohol-sensitive surface epitopes. This report describes a method of barcoding fixed cells after a transient partial permeabilization with 0.02% saponin that results in efficient and consistent barcode staining with fluorescent or mass-tagged reagents while preserving surface marker staining. This approach simplifies barcoding protocols and allows direct comparison of surface marker staining of multiple samples without concern for variations in the antibody cocktail volume, antigen-antibody ratio, or machine sensitivity. Using this protocol, cellular barcoding can be used to reliably detect subtle differences in surface marker expression. © 2014 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry.
View details for DOI 10.1002/cyto.a.22573
View details for PubMedID 25274027