The mission of the Chemical Immunology Research Center (CIRC) is to learn the chemical and physical principles underlying immune interactions, with emphasis on the ability of antibodies to catalyze chemical reactions and B and T cell receptors to react covalently with electrophilic antigens.
These newly discovered phenomena are of interest both for understanding the physiological function of the immune system and the development of novel therapies and vaccines for human diseases that have hitherto remain intractable to conventional treatment approaches.
CIRC participants are engaged in research and development in the following fields: study of immunological defense by naturally occurring catalytic antibodies in infection by Human Immunodeficiency Virus-1, Hepatitis Virus C and Staphylococcal aureus; development of catalytic monoclonal antibodies and electrophilic vaccines to these pathogens; study of the role of catalytic antibodies to amyloid beta peptide in Alzheimer’s Disease and development of monoclonal antibodies for immune therapy against cognitive dysfunction; development of electrophilic analogs of alloantigens and autoantigens for inducing therapeutic B and T cell tolerance; study of crystal structures of chemically reactive antibodies; and, study of the reaction pathways employed by catalytic and irreversibly binding antibodies using enzymology and immunochemical methods.
Director, Chemical Immunology Research Center
Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
McGovern Medical School at UTHealth