CCIV Grand Rounds - Dr. Donna Farber

Donna Farber, PhD, from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, visited Emory in April for CCIV’s Pediatric Grand Rounds. Her talk, “Tissue-mediated development of adaptive immunity in humans,” occurred on April 20th, 2022. The event was the first Pediatric Grand Rounds to use a hybrid format since the start of the pandemic, with Dr. Farber also visiting with CCIV faculty and trainees throughout the day.

Dr. Farber is the George H. Humphreys Professor of Surgical Sciences, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Division Chief of Surgical Sciences at Columbia University. She is also a fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Farber’s research program focuses on immunological memory and memory T-cells as essential mediators of protective immunity. Currently, Dr. Farber’s lab is using total transcriptome profiling and bioinformatics approaches to study the mechanisms for how memory T-cells become targeted to and maintained in the lung.

As part of the NIH-funded "Human Immunology Project Consortium," Dr. Farber’s work involves immunologists, molecular biologists, and computational biologists across five institutions to study human adaptive and innate lymphocyte compartmentalization and maintenance in tissues throughout the lifespan. This research is facilitated by rapid access to tissues from organ donors when they cannot be used for clinical purposes. Dr. Farber also has ongoing studies on infant immunity and memory T-cells in relation to vaccines. These studies are looking at how protective responses can be established in babies who are most susceptible to infection & immune pathologies.

Dr. Farber’s Grand Rounds in April explored the ways the COVID-19 pandemic afforded scientists with the opportunity to study immunity to a novel pathogen in both adults and children at the same time. A highlight of her talk included her discussion of tissue resident memory in children. Dr. Farber highlighted the ways in which children handle some respiratory illnesses much more efficiently than adults, and offered potential reasons based on her lab’s studies of T and B-cell immunity.

Dr. Farber’s visit to Emory and Children’s was a great success, and we are grateful to her for making the trip. Both the Grand Rounds talk and lunch with trainees had among the highest attendance at similar CCIV events to date! §