People

Elizabeth “Betzi” Norton,  MPH, PhD

Assistant Professor

Research Interests: Mucosal immunity, Immunologic mechanisms of vaccination, Enhancement of protective immunity with vaccine adjuvants, impact of age or underlying chronic disease on immunologic function.

Mucosal surfaces constitute the largest and most important interface between the body and the outside environment. In addition to maintaining normal physiology, the mucosa must prevent entry, infection, and dissemination of dangerous pathogens. The innate and adaptive immune responses play pivotal roles in preventing or limiting infections. An effective vaccine can enhance this mucosal immunity without the risks and sequelae associated with primary infection.

Vaccine adjuvants can facilitate the induction and/or enhancement of protective mucosal immunity to co-administered or co-delivered antigens through their capacity to act as an immunostimulant. Some of the most potent mucosal adjuvants are the bacterially derived ADP-ribosylating enterotoxins including heat-labile toxin from Escherichia coli (LT), its mutants or subunits. This enterotoxin promotes induction of antigen-specific sIgA antibodies and long lasting memory to co-administered antigens when administered mucosally.

My research focus is mucosal immunity and immunologic mechanisms of vaccination. In particular, I am interested in how infection or vaccination can target specific cell populations involved in antigen transport and processing, enhance Th17 cell development and induce IgA production. Two particular areas of interest are mucosal administration and vaccine adjuvants, either of which can optimize protective immune responses at key mucosal surfaces.


Eduardo Valli, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests: During his PhD research, he studied thyroid hormone signaling on cancer cells and responses of immune cells during alteration of thyroid levels in a mouse model. He specialized in Tregs, studying changes in their activity during experimental hypothyroidism. In his current postdoctoral role, he is applying his previous experience of cultured immune cells to address the mechanism of adjuvanticity of LT derived proteins.


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Robin Baudier, MFA

Laboratory Manager, MSPH in Biostatistics student

Research Interests: Exploring the effects of aging and immune activation through RNA-sequencing, microbiome 16s sequencing, cluster analyses, and flow cytometry.

 


Amanda Harriett, MPH

Doctoral Student, BMS Program

Research Interests: Improvement and validation of vaccine adjuvants through exploration of production methods, purification techniques, stabilization and novel assay design.

 


 

Victoria Carle

Undergraduate student worker

 

 

 


 

Margaret Nowakowska, BS

Graduate student trainee

 

 

 

 


 

William Provosty, BS

Medical Student

 

 

 

 


 

Previous Norton Lab Members:

 


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Lauren Kodroff, BS

Doctoral Student, Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Aging Studies

Research Interests: The gut microbiome and how it impacts inflammation, aging, and vaccine outcomes.


Monica Blazek

De Bakey Scholar, Medical Student

 

 


Luke Davis

Undergraduate Trainee

 

 


Nick Anzalone

Masters of Immunology and Microbiology Student Trainee

 

 


Keenan Ramsey

Undergraduate Student Worker

 

 


Joel Rosenblum

Undergraduate Trainee

 


Saba Qurban, MS

Masters of Immunology & Microbiology Student Worker

 


 

Clairissa Mulloy, MS

Laboratory Technician


Rong Fan, MPH

Masters of Public Health Student Worker


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