Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Soumya Yandamuri, MSE, PhD has been awarded the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Postdoctoral Fellowship. The grant, “Isolation and characterization of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein monoclonal antibodies,” funds three years and will begin in July 2021.
Dr. Yandamuri, currently a Yale Center for Clinical Investigation Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin O’Connor, PhD, researches autoantibody biology in neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein antibody disease (MOGAD).
MS is an autoimmune disease marked by demyelination of the central nervous system. Considering the efficacy of B cell depletion therapy and the presence of cerebrospinal oligoclonal bands, B cells likely contribute to disease pathogenesis. However, very little is understood about the role of B cells and antibodies in MS.
Dr. Yandamuri aims to elucidate B cell pathoimmunology of MOGAD. MOGAD is an autoimmune demyelinating disease like MS, but it is distinguished by the presence of autoantibodies specific for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), a component protein of myelin in the central nervous system.
“A better understanding of the role of B cells and the antibodies produced in [autoimmune demyelinating conditions] is an important component of understanding the enigmatic etiology of these diseases,” she said.
In essence, further study of the pathogenic mechanisms of autoantibodies present in MOGAD might provide insight into treatment for MOGAD, as well as other demyelinating conditions, like MS.
Congratulations, Dr. Yandamuri!