Dr. Matthew Yousefzadeh Receives Two Awards

CCTI principal investigator, Dr. Matthew Yousefzadeh has received a pilot award from the Oklahoma Nathan Shock Center.

The progressive decline of immune function with age, known as immunosenescence, plays a pivot role in not only the aging process but also susceptibility to infections and reduced vaccine responses. Therefore it is critical to find interventions to potentially correct the age-related deficits in immune function. The potent mTOR inhibitor rapamycin has been shown to extend lifespan in mice and reduce age-related pathologies. Over the past decade the use of rapamycin or analogs of rapamycin have been investigated for its ability to rejuvenate aged immune systems. Treatment of elderly human participants with a rapalog was able to significantly enhance antibody titer levels to the annual influenza vaccination as well as reduce immune exhaustion markers.

This award from the Oklahoma Nathan Shock Center will provide bioinformatic analysis for RNA sequencing work performed on rapamycin-treated samples at the Human Immune Monitoring Core at CCTI. The bioinformatic analysis will enhance our ability to understand which immune cell types are deriving a biological benefit from rapamycin treatment. This will then allow our laboratory to investigate those immune populations using functional endpoints to determine if rapamycin is restoring functionality that is lost with age (ex. restoration of T cell cytotoxicity that can occur with age).

Additionally, Dr. Yousefzadeh was elected by the American Aging Association as the 2024 Senior Trainee Advocate . The Senior Trainee Advocate serves as Chair of the Trainee Advocate Committee, as well as performs all duties as one of the Board and Executive Committee Representatives of the Trainee Chapter for the American Aging Association. The Senior Trainee Advocate’s major tasks will be to work with other trainees and with the other Trainee Advocates to plan and organize activities which will promote career development in age-related fields, and to serve as a liaison between the Trainee Chapter and the Board of Directors, although the Trainee Advocate Committee will assist and advise as requested or needed.