Davide Robbiani studies B lymphocytes, which are crucial to immune defense because they produce infection-fighting antibodies—the key to the efficacy of most vaccines.
Using a combination of experiments with human samples, high throughput antibody cloning, and models of vaccination and infection, Robbiani aims to understand how protective antibodies are formed and to use this information to advance vaccine design.
His current work focuses on immune responses to emerging pathogens, including coronaviruses (SARS-CoV-2) and flaviviruses (Zika, Powassan, tick-borne encephalitis, and others).
These studies are conducted in association with scientists in the United States and researchers in South and Central America, Asia and Europe.
Robbiani is also interested in the malignant biology of B lymphocytes. B lymphocyte–derived cancers—leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma—frequently bear characteristic DNA aberrations.
To understand the genesis of lymphoma-associated chromosome aberrations, particularly the contribution of immune enzymes such as RAG1/2 and AID to the genomic damage associated with these events, Robbiani and his colleagues use genetics along with deep-sequencing techniques and computational analysis of human cancer genomes.
Applications from highly motivated individuals (at all levels) are accepted on a rolling basis.