2018 Emerging Leader Award Recipient ($100,000 grant), Michal Caspi Tal, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University
Dr. Michal Tal, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, leads the infectious disease team within Irving Weissman’s lab at Stanford University. She is studying the immunomodulatory mechanisms by which the CD47-SIRPa axis impacts immune clearance of infectious disease. She is
interested in the mechanisms of immune regulation that rein in the immune response and can be targeted to enable clearance of chronic infection. Her project, detailed below, was selected for the 2018 Emerging Leader Award, a $100,000 grant.
Recent advances in oncology research have found that a protein called CD47 prevents immune cells from engulfing and killing certain cancer cells. Dr. Tal’s ELA project explores if B. burgdorferi has a CD47 mimic and, if so, will determine the structure and sequence of that protein. She will examine how the CD47 mimic binds to a receptor on the immune cell and also screen compounds that may be able to block this interaction so that immune cells once again can engulf B. burgdorferi and eliminate it.