Most experiments we design will provide understanding of the underlying B cell response (basic) while at the same time resulting in monoclonal antibodies that can inform on vaccine design or be developed directly for therapies (translational).
For example, we might identify a novel differentiation of B cell that expands following an influenza vaccination. We will produce monoclonal antibodies from the population to verify specificity. At the same time we will perform functional assays, sequence the immunoglobulin repertoire, and characterize the transcriptome of the new B cell type by RNAseq. The goal will be to determine the role and importance of the B cell subset in the overall immune response. We will also determine the specificity and activity of the antibodies. If, for example, an antibody protects against a wide variety of influenza strains, we will attempt to identify the epitope and mechanism of action in hopes of identifying more widely protective epitopes or to develop the antibodies themselves as drugs.
With this in mind, we have several scientific specialties in the lab, including people trained as immunologists, molecular biologists, and virologists/vaccinologists. We also have growing expertise in bioinformatics, primarily for analyses of immunoglobulin genes at the single cell and high-throughput levels and for analyzing RNAseq data sets.