About the Episode

When Galit Alter, PhD, immunologist and virologist, began her career during the peak of the HIV/AIDS crisis, there were few researchers who were studying the immune system in the context of infectious diseases. During this time, she quickly became curious about how the human body and immune system fights different viruses and how uncovering this knowledge could significantly impact the way that medicine and vaccines are developed. 

In this episode of Charged, Dr. Alter, a self-described "virus hunter," talks about the mechanisms by which the immune system fights disease, how she and her team created a novel serology tool that profiles the body's antibody response to both viruses and vaccines, and how this tool was employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

About the Guest

Galit Alter, PhDis an immunologist and virologist, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a group leader at the Ragon Institute of MGHMIT and Harvard. 

Dr. Alter's research focuses on defining the pathways that result in the targeted production of protective antibody glycans to enhance the production of antibodies that can potently block infections. Dr. Alter’s lab has developed a novel approach to probing humoral immunity that she termed ‘systems serology’. Dr. Alter uses this novel-omics platform to profile the remarkable diversity of antibodies generated in response to pathogens or vaccines and their abilities to leverage the immune system to fight disease. 

Dr. Alter is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Mass General Research Scholars Award, and a member of the American Association of Microbiology since 2019. 

Dr. Alter received a BSc and PhD at McGill University and completed postdoctoral training in the Partners AIDS Research Center at Mass General. 

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