Frances E. Lund, PhD, Charles H. McCauley Professor and Director of the HSOM Immunology Institute & Troy D. Randall, PhD, The Meyer Foundation William J. Koopman Endowed Chair Professor in Immunology, Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology are husband and wife and research partners. The two immunologists, who met as graduate students at Duke University, recently joined UAB from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York State, where both held appointments as Professors in the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Drs. Lund and Randall are interested in identifying the fundamental mechanisms that control protective immunity to pathogens and understanding how these mechanisms are subverted in the settings of autoimmunity, allergy and cancer.
Dr. Lund is most well known for the work from her laboratory showing that B lymphocytes have a larger role in the immune response than previously appreciated. While scientists have long recognized that B cells make antibodies that label bacteria and viruses for destruction by the immune system, Dr. Lund’s group showed that B cells also produce chemical signaling molecules called cytokines and demonstrated that the cytokines made specifically by B cells can alter the magnitude, duration and quality of the immune response that is generated in response to pathogens, allergens and autoantigens. Today her laboratory focuses on developing methods to identify and eliminate B cells that contribute to autoimmune or allergic disease pathogenesis while maintaining the protective pathogen-specific B cell subsets.
Dr. Randall has a special interest in researching immune tolerance, the mechanism by which the immune system allows transplants – whether solid organ or bone marrow – to be successful. At UAB he will extend this research into cancer immunology, studying why the body does not effectively fight off cancerous cells as it does other foreign agents. Additionally, Randall is pioneering work on immune defenses located in the lung mucosa and the omentum, a membrane in the abdomen.