Robin Stephens, PhD

Malaria still kills 0.8 million people a year, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa. Vaccine work has entered a very hopeful stage, but very little is known about the factors determining immunity to this parasitic disease. Work in our laboratory focuses on the immunology and pathology of malaria infection. CD4+ Memory T and B cells are essential for effective immunity, however there are many aspects of their development and maintenance that are not yet understood. Our aim is to understand the mechanisms of protection and maintenance of these cells.

Research Interests

  • CD4+ T cell memory to blood stages of Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi (AS), mouse malaria
  • Effector function (Th1, Tfh) commitment in memory cells in malaria
  • Vaccine strategies to generate protective effector memory T cells
  • B cell memory and splenic microenvironment
  • T cell memory and cytokines in P. falciparum infection in collaboration with field laboratories
  • Techniques: Multi-color flow cytometry, microchip analysis, in vivo studies

Selected References:

The contribution of Plasmodium chabaudi to our understanding of malaria. Stephens R, Culleton RL, Lamb TJ. Trends in parasitology. 2012; 28(2):73-82. PMID: 22100995

Early Decision: Effector and Effector Memory T Cell Differentiation in Chronic Infection. Opata MM, Stephens R. Current immunology reviews. 2013; 9(3):190-206. PMID: 24790593

INF-γand IL-21 Double Producing T Cells Are Bcl6-Independent and Survive into the Memory Phase in Plasmodium chabaudi Infection. Carpio VH, Opata MM, Montañez ME, Banerjee PP, Dent AL, Stephens R. PloS one. 2015; 10(12):e0144654. PMID: 26646149

Early effector cells survive the contraction phase in malaria infection and generate both central and effector memory T cells. Opata MM, Carpio VH, Ibitokou SA, Dillon BE, Obiero JM, Stephens R. Journal of immunology . 2015; 194(11):5346-54. PMID: 25911759

Effector memory Th1 CD4 T cells are maintained in a mouse model of chronic malaria. Stephens R, Langhorne J. PLoS pathogens. 2010; 6(11):e1001208. PMID: 21124875

Search PubMed for Dr. Stephen's publications.

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