My research interests center on the immunopathogenesis of HIV and malaria in childhood. The broad goal of my research program is to identify correlates of protective immunity to these pathogens in order to guide the rational design of vaccines and immunomodulatory therapies. I am also interested in understanding how chronic infection triggers immunoregulatory mechanisms that interfere with pathogen clearance and the development of sterilizing immunity. My research group studies the human immune response to malaria in the context of large cohorts of naturally exposed individuals, primarily in eastern Uganda. As a pediatrician, I have a particular interest in infant immune development and how the immune response of infants differs from that of adults. Studies underway in my lab currently focus on the correlates of naturally acquired antimalarial immunity, the use of blood stage malaria chemoprevention to enhance the functional quality of plasmodium-specific CD4 T cells, and the impact of in utero malaria exposure on fetal tolerance induction and subsequent immunity. Lastly, we are investigating the role of gamma-delta T cells and other non-classical T cell populations in the immune response to malaria.
Margaret Feeney, MD, MMSc