Dr. Otto Yang
Dr. Otto Yang has spent over 20 years as a professor at UCLA (after 5 years at Harvard) studying the immune system and its response to HIV and other viruses, as well as its role in rejection of transplanted organs. He was among the first to work on “chimeric antigen receptors” that have now revolutionized cancer treatment. His laboratory focuses on the “cellular immune system” which included killer T cells that clear virus-infected cells and cancer cells, but that also have key roles in transplanted organ rejection and autoimmune diseases. His work is relevant to development of vaccines and immunotherapies.
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Yang’s efforts have turned to research on SARS-CoV-2 immunology and running treatment trials. He has been a lead investigator running trials of treatments including agents such as remdesivir and leronlimab, as he was among the first to show that immunity against SARS-CoV-2 appears to wane quickly.
During the course of his career, he has been the primary mentor for 10 PhD students, including 3 MD-PhD students, and co-mentored dozens more students and advanced trainees. He also remains an active physician seeing patients for the Division of Infectious Diseases, and has published over 170 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts.
Dr. Yang’s UCLA Health biography can be found here:
Dr. Peter Anton
Dr. Anton is a beloved physician and researcher bringing innovation and caring to the treatment of HIV AIDs. As the Director of the Mucosal Immunology Program and Core Director of the UCLA Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and the Mucosal Immunology Core Laboratory (MICL), Dr. Anton has [PETER TO SUPPLY TEXT].
After medical training at Case Western Reserve University and Harvard, Dr. Anton pursued a clinical-research career focused on gastrointestinal ‘mucosal’ immunology in the settings of inflammation and infection. Dr. Anton’s clinical care clinics over the past 3 decades have specialized in management of chronic care of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (e.g.: Crohn’s disease & ulcerative colitis) and HIV enteropathy. The direct patient care strongly informed the direction of his translational research, results of which reflect back to improved clinical care. Research efforts in mucosal inflammation is uniquely enhanced in the doctor’s ability to sample (biopsy) diseased and healthy tissue, permitting direct observation.
Dr. Anton and colleagues identified how sexually-acquired HIV spreads rapidly in the immune system by exploiting the high numbers of HIV-targets (activated CD4 T cells). He and Dr. Otto Yang collaborated in the first HIV vaccine trials (2005-6) focused on functionally active, durable responses in the colorectal mucosa. This emphasis on the rectal lining in HIV (later shown to be ~20-200 times more susceptible to infection than vaginal exposure) brought a shift in perspectives in HIV pathogenesis research.
Dr. Anton and colleagues initiated the first NIH-sponsored drug development program for a rectal microbicide to prevent/reduce HIV infection which is being advanced to Phase 2 trials. Dr. Anton has been the Principal Investigator or co-PI on over 30 clinical trials including numerous Phase I clinical prevention trials for HIV-prevention. Current research is now focused on anti-viral containing implants for longer-acting products.
Over the years, Dr. Anton has mentored college pre-med students participating in laboratory activities with many advancing to earning their MDs. Among the 36 Fellows/Post-doctorates spending 1-3 months with Dr. Anton and his team, 7 MD or MD-PhD physicians have spent 1-3 years pursuing d translational mucosal immunology; all have remained as leaders in academic medicine. As with Dr. Yang, Dr. Anton has continued his clinical activities seeing patients with IBD, HIV, other chronic immune conditions, and has published over 110 peer-reviewed manuscripts.
Dr. Anton’s UCLA Health biography can be found here:
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