Jondle to present at annual meeting of the American Association of Immunologists

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School of Medicine & Health Sciences


Christopher Jondle, a graduate student mentored by Assistant Professor Jyotika Sharma, PhD, in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, had his abstract accepted for an oral presentation at Immunology 2016, the annual meeting of the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) to be held in Seattle in May. The AAI will provide partial support for his travel to the meeting.

The title of his abstract is “Impact of Klebsiella pneumoniae on efferocytosis of polymorphonuclear cells.” Klebsiella is a type of bacteria that can cause different types of infections, including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis. Jondle’s research looks at how Klebsiella affects the ability of polymorphonuclear cells (the main cells involved in the body’s immune reaction) to ingest and remove dead cells from the bloodstream.

“The importance of this work can be assessed by the fact that Chris was also invited for an oral presentation to the prestigious Gordon Research Conference held at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, in June 2015,” said Sharma. “I feel proud to see that our students are working on cutting-edge science that is being recognized nationally and internationally.”

Jondle also has recently published in the AAI’s peer-reviewed Journal of Immunology a paper on a separate research project. That paper, titled “Macrophage Galactose-Type Lectin-1 Deficiency Is Associated with Increased Neutrophilia and Hyperinflammation in Gram-Negative Pneumonia,” with Jondle as first author, describes the role of a C-type lectin receptor (CLR), MGL-1 in orchestrating host immune response in bacterial pneumonia and sepsis. This is the first report of MGL-1 function in sepsis. Pneumonic sepsis is a deadly immune disorder frequently associated with whole-body inflammation and currently has no therapies.

Sharma is internationally recognized for her research on sepsis, a life-threatening medical condition that results from a systemic inflammatory response by the body to fend off a severe infection or to recover from a traumatic injury. There are currently no therapies for this condition. Since joining UND in 2011, Sharma’s work on this area of research has been continuously funded by grants from the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, the leading funding agency in the United States.

In November 2015, the National Institutes of Health granted $1.7 million to Sharma to examine the most common type of infection-fighting white blood cell—neutrophils—that are the first responders for combatting bacterial infections like pneumonia. The five-year R01 grant is the highest level of research supported by the NIH.

The AAI has invited Sharma to chair a session at Immunology 2016, where she will serve as a Block Symposium Chair for the Bacterial and Parasitic Infection and Immunity session.