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Journal of Blood & Lymph
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Igor M. Belyakov
Igor M. Belyakov Igor M. Belyakov
Department of Internal Medicine
Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and Biological Sciences
University of Michigan Medical School

After receiving his M.D. with honour from the Vladikavkazs Medical Institute, Russia, in 1983, Igor Belyakov obtained his Ph.D. in Immunology from the the Chelyabinsk Medical School, Russia. In 1993, he received his Sc.D. degree (in immunology and medicine) from the Institute of Immunology, Moscow, Russia, on the basis of research on the effect of Chernobyl radiation on the human immune system. In 1993, he started a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, and then joined the Molecular Immunogenetics and Vaccine Section of the National Cancer Institute in 1996. Currently Dr. Belyakov is a faculty member in the Department of Internal Medicine in the University of Michigan, School of Medicine. He is a member (Academician) of Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (2009) and member of the American Association of Immunologist (1999). He received the USSR Society of Radiobiology Honor Award in 1992, Fellow Award for Research Excellence (FARE Award) in 2002, National Institute of Health, Fellowship Advancement Award, Division of Clinical Sciences, National Cancer Institute, NIH in 2000. A major focus of his research has been cytotoxic T lymphocytes, mucosal immunity and mucosal vaccines, especially for HIV.

Research Interest

Dr.Belyako area of expertise is in mucosal immunology, basic mechanisms of inflammation, animal models of infection and tumors, viral immunology, pathogen-associated cancers, the immunology of host-pathogen interactions, and development of vaccines against chronic infectious diseases and cancer. He has made significant contributions to elucidating new fundamental principles governing T cell activation, regulation, and effector function. He uses these new fundamental principles to develop more effective mucosal vaccines and immunotherapy strategies for pathogens causing infectious diseases in human and animals (including HIV-1, SIV, Poxvirus, RSV, and others). Highlights of Dr.Belyakov research include demonstration that mucosal immunization with a synthetic, multideterminant HIV peptide construct plus cholera toxin adjuvant induced long-lasting, antigen-specific memory in both the inductive (Peyers patch) and effector (lamina propria) mucosal sites, as well as in systemic sites (Belyakov et al. Proc. Natl. Acad.Sci., Vol.95, pp1709-1714, 1998). He presented the first direct demonstration of the importance of mucosal cytotoxic T lymphocytes in protection against mucosal transmission of virus (Belyakov et al. J. Clin. Invest. 1998. Vol.102, pp2072-2081). Mucosal viral transmission was dependent on CD8+ CTL that had to be present in the mucosal site to be effective and systemic CTL were not sufficient. This result has important implications for vaccine development, in that if a vaccine is going to protect against mucosal transmission of virus, it will likely have to induce specific CTL at the mucosal sites of exposure, and not just in the systemic circulation. He also demonstrated that the choice of mucosal adjuvant affects the cytokine enviroment, and the mucosal response and protection can be enhanced by manipulating the cytokine environment with synergistic cytokine combinations incorporated in the vaccine


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