Engineering the Innate Immune Response to Infection

Friday, May 3, 2013 - 2:00pm
Fung Auditorium, Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall
Scott I. Simon, Ph.D.

Professor of Biomedical Engineering

University of California, Davis

Engineering the Innate Immune Response to Infection


To protect an organism against infection of skin and musculoskeletal tissue, the innate immune system has evolved mechanisms to dynamically fine-tune the number of polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) produced and emigrated from the bone marrow (BM) to reach vascular sites of tissue insult. Typically, PMN migrate intoStaphylococcus aureus (SA) infected tissues and phagocytose the infecting organisms. However, when SA is in high abundance or persistent due to biofilm formation, excess PMN can damage skin, and connective tissue. Moreover, the increasing emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains such as methicillin resistant SA has complicated the treatment of these infections and has created a serious public health threat. This seminar focuses on the dynamics of PMN recruitment and survival at sites of injury that involves local production from bone marrow–derived ckit+-hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) and regulation of PMN activation state and lifetime in an infected wound. Since PMNs are required for bacterial clearance but also contribute to aberrant inflammation, this seminar will discuss immunomodulatory strategies that optimize the innate immune response to bacterial clearance while promoting wound healing.


Dr. Simonreceived his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego in 1988. Postdoctoral training in Immunology and Inflammation Biology was initiated at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, and completed at the University of New Mexico and the National Flow Cytometry Resource at Los Alamos National Laboratory. He then joined the faculty at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine’s Section of Leukocyte Biology, Dept of Pediatrics in Houston, TX, where he remained for 7 years. Dr. Simon was recruited as one of the founding faculty in a new Biomedical Engineering department at UC Davis in 1999, and rose to the rank of full Professor in 2002. He currently serves as Vice Chair of the department and Deputy Editor of the Annals of Biomedical Engineering. He has a longstanding interest in the mechanisms governing leukocyte adhesion and signaling during inflammatory disease. An Established Investigator of the American Heart Association, his work now focuses on the role of inflammation and white blood cell recruitment in cardiovascular and infectious diseases. His group has developed novel microfluidic vascular mimetic lab-on-a-chip diagnostics for assessing biomarkers that predict the onset of inflammatory disease.