Faculty Profile: De La Maza, Luis

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Faculty Information Lab Information (Packet Type, Course Title, & Department) Location
De La Maza, Luis
Lab Contact:
Luis M. De La Maza
Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Medical Sciences, Room D451

Research Description

The main focus of my research is to formulate a vaccine that can protect against C. trachomatis infections. To establish the "proof of principle", that a vaccine can protect female mice against shedding and infertility, we implemented a new model by immunizing mice intranasally with live C. muridarum (previously called C. trachomatis mouse pneumonitis). My laboratory, like others, used recombinant major outer membrane protein (rMOMP), MOMP peptides and DNA MOMP plasmids for immunization. These vaccines elicited limited protection. We then considered the possibility that the protection induced by live or inactivated whole organism vaccines during the trachoma trials was due, at least in part, to conformational epitopes present in the native MOMP (nMOMP) and developed a method to purify nMOMP from C. muridarum and C. trachomatis. We showed that, immunization with nMOMP, using CpG and Montanide as adjuvants, induces strong protective immune responses against genital and intranasal C. muridarum infections in female mice and against C. trachomatis ocular challenges in non-human primates. Subsequently, we determined that C. muridarum rMOMP, in combination with the same adjuvants, delivered by a combination of mucosal and systemic routes, elicits protection in female mice against respiratory and genital challenges. Realizing that C. trachomatis vaccines will be implemented in both males and females, we implemented a new male mouse model. We demonstrated that, following an inoculation with C. muridarum in the meatus urethra, C3H/HeN male mice develop an infection similar to that resulting when C. trachomatis infects human males. Subsequently, we showed that, immunization with live C. muridarum, protected BALB/c male mice against a urethral challenge. In addition to characterizing the immunology and pathogenesis of chlamydial infections we are also performing studies to determine the structure of MOMP. Structural characterization of MOMP should help us to identify and formulate a recombinant protective antigen. The ultimate goal of our lab is to formulate a safe and efficacious vaccine that protects females and males against C. trachomatis infections.

Requirements to Participate

Background in biology, biochemistry and/or immunology.
Interest in pursuing a career in biological sciences and/or medicine.
Ability to work with experimental animals in particular mice.
Positive attitude.
Interest in teamwork.
Commitment, dedication and integrity.
3 - 4 hours per unit.

1 year Commitment.

Minimum 3 units. .

Faculty Means of Evaluation

Laboratory work: 50Pts.
Communication: 20Pts.
Lab citizenship: 20Pts.
Attendance: 10Pts.