Microbiome Research Fellow
Dr. Amenyogbe’s research interests centre around the concept of host resilience. Simply put, the paradigm that the outcome of an infection, or the response to a vaccination depends not only on the infectious microbe or type of vaccine, but on the immune fitness of the host that receives it. With this, the translational focus of her research program is to improve host immune fitness to increase resilience to a wide range of potential infections at once. Her focus is on vulnerable populations that disproportionately suffer from infectious death. Specifically, this includes pregnancy and the newborn period, and in low-income settings where vulnerable populations are most likely to suffer from infectious disease.
To accomplish this, Amenyogbe uses animal models combined with mining big data from human studies. Her program aims to better understand how our microbial environment, or gut microbiome, impacts on our immune fitness. Her previous work identified correlations between the gut microbiome and systemic immunity in children around the world that may hold the clue to improve outcome of infection or vaccination.
Her research also includes the non-specific, or pathogen-agnostic effects of vaccines. This involves understanding broad effects that vaccines have on host immunity unrelated to their impact on pathogen-specific immunity. For example, Amenyogbe’s previous research showed how BCG, the vaccine against tuberculosis, reduces risk to die from newborn sepsis within days of being given.
Amenyogbe currently mentors one Master’s and one PhD student, serves for the Telethon Kids Institute Early-Mid Career Researcher Council, and teaches the basics of R programming to her scientific community.