The profound success of pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis and HIV in causing disease depends on their ability to successfully utilize the host’s cellular machinery for their own advantage to avert its immune system. Understanding these pathways or processes essential for the life cycle of these pathogens is crucial, as it represents potential targets for new drug strategies.
Lab news and events
Our study on COVID-19 and cannabinoids was featured on late-night shows:
Fikadu was also the first scientist to appear on the iconic Ethiopian late-night talk show Seifu on EBS:
Paper of the Year!
So delighted to learn that our article that describes how SARS-CoV-2 hijacks lipid metabolism pathways has been selected as Paper of the Year by NIH NIEHS.
Our study on M. tuberculosis ESAT-6 and nonobody is online: See the full paper here:
ESAT-6 undergoes self-association at phagosomal pH and an ESAT-6 specific nanobody restricts M. tuberculosis growth in macrophages. Bates TA, Trank-Greene M, Nguyenla X, Anastas A, Merutka IR, Dixon SD, Shumate A, Groncki AR, Parson MA, Barklis E, Burke JE, Shinde U, Ploegh HL, Tafesse FG. bioRxiv. 2023:2023.08.16.553641. doi: 10.1101/2023.08.16.553641.
Our paper that describes a potent alpaca-derived nanobody that neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 variants is now published in iScience
So excited to share our new study that is published at JAMA. We show that the immune response of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is age-dependent. Thanks to our Collaborators- the Curlin and Messer lab. Here is the link to the Article.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, called out our findings that show people previously infected with the novel coronavirus stand to get a much greater benefit of protection against new variants if they’re vaccinated. Watch the White House briefing from May 4 (he shares our work about 14 minutes into the full video).
In collaboration with the lab of Eric Barklis we published a new study in the Virology Journal. We showed that nanobodies that bind the HIV-1 Capsid protein block viral assembly and infectivity. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of targeting HIV proteins, including the Gag/Capsid, with nanobodies to inhibit HIV-1 infection. Here is the link to the Article.
Our pre-print that shows the escape of SARS-CoV-2 variants (UK/B.1.1.7 and South Africa/B.1.351) from humoral immunity elicited by vaccine and natural infections is now in medRxiv.
From TB to COVID-19: An OHSU lab uses alpaca antibodies to shift gears
Zika Virus: Master Membrane Manipulator. Click here to read our blog.
Our paper that describes the role of Sphingolipids in the entry of M. tuberculosis is now accepted for publication in mBio. See the accepted manuscript in Biorxiv.
Our collaborative work with the lab of Sarah Fortune (Harvard School of Public Health) and Bryan Bryson (MIT) on the mechanism of how GM-CSF signaling controls Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection is published in Nature Communications.
Event: Fikadu G. Tafesse is giving a talk about our recent work on the Webinar Series on Sphingolipid Biology.
Event: Fikadu G. Tafesse is one of the invited speakers at the upcoming SLB meeting "Host-Microbial Interactions in Health and Disease: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"
Event: Our PacTB (Pacific Tuberculosis Pathogenesis and Host-Response Research Retreat) meeting this year is in UC Berkley
Congratulations to the Tafesse lab. They've received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their research project, Nanobodies as a Targeted-Therapeutic Against Mtb.
Professor Tafesse is featured as part of OHSU's Onward campaign.
Flaviviruses, such as Zika and Dengue virus, manipulate the lipid content of host cells to replicate and cause disease. Read our new review.
Fikadu discussed the potentials of nanobodies as therapeutics against infectious diseases in "How can one farm in Oregon end two epidemics in Africa?" on the podcast "ONE future"
Highlights of our recent work by different News outlets
- New York Times: Fikadu had an insightful conversation with New York Times reporter Dani Blum about Long Covid and repeat infections. Our understanding is still limited, but her article sheds some light. You can find the full article here.
- Nature News: highlighting our recent Science Immunology paper.
- NBC News: Fikadu discussed our recent work, How much Covid immunity is out there? Figuring out is crucial — and complicated
- Fortune: Two paths to ‘super immunity’ – Fikadu Tafesse, Ph.D., says, “It makes no difference whether you get infected and then vaccinated, or if you get vaccinated and then a breakthrough infection.”
- Additional coverage by The Oregonian, Fortune, CNN, CBS Radio story picked up by broadcast outlets nationwide, Medical News Today, KITV (Honolulu), KXL, KGW, Coos Bay World, Patch, Pharmacy Times, KATU story posted by WKRC in Cincinnati, KPTV, HealthEuropa, Earth.com, MSN, Healthline, RT (Russia), expert cites findings in KCRA (Sacramento) story picked up by other news outlets around the country, iHeart radio story picked up by outlets across the country, OHSU News
- We went viral: Our study that shows cannabinoids block SARS-CoV-2 infection by binding the spike protein went viral and covered by hundreds of News outlets world-wide including the New York Post, Insider, Fortune, Forbes and Boston Globe. Also see the videos from Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel on the left!
- Many outlets reported: “Super immunity”- Our recent JAMA paper about breakthrough infection after COVID-19 vaccination has gotten substantial news coverage, including USA Today, Forbes, FOX News, The Hill, MSN, Bussiness Insider the BBC World (TV) and many others (more than 200 outlets worldwide).
- The New York Times: If You’ve Had Covid, Do You Need the Vaccine?
- The Wall Street Journal: Fully Vaccinated and Had Covid-19? No Rush for a Booster Shot, Experts Say
- Reuters: Vaccine protects COVID-19 survivors against variants; virus' spike protein damages blood vessels
- The Lund Report: Variants Spread And Cases Rise In Oregon, Increasing Need For Vaccination
- Portland Business Journal: OHSU study shows Covid vaccine less effective against variants of concern
- OHSU: Vaccination protects previously infected people from coronavirus variants