Shelby O'Connor, PhD

Portrait of Shelby O'Connor, PhD
Assistant Professor
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
585 Science Dr
Madison, WI 53711
(608) 890-0843
Focus Groups: 
PhD, Cellular and Molecular Biology, UW-Madison
Research Summary: 
Host and vaccine-elicited immune responses to SIV/HIV; Changes to SIV/HIV host immune responses during co-infection with a second pathogen
Research Detail: 

My research lab is interested in understanding the host immune response to HIV and the effect that HIV-infection has on host immunity to other pathogens. HIV+ immunocompromised individuals cannot mount robust immune responses like those who are otherwise healthy. We use nonhuman primates with defined host MHC genetics to understand key factors of immunity against SIV, a virus closely related to HIV. We are also developing novel SIV virus stocks to improve our understanding of viral compartmentalization and viral evolution, in vivo. In addition, we are collaborating with others to develop nonhuman primate co-infection models to identify factors that contribute to failed host immunity to M.tuberculosis in animals who have an ongoing SIV infection.

My lab is currently focused on two major research areas: 

SIV pathogenesis and vaccine projects: We have two ongoing SIV projects. In one project, we are developing and testing a barcoded SIV virus stock to evaluate viral compartmentalization and viral evolution in macaques. In our second project, we are determining whether CD8 T cells targeting epitopes that are conserved among circulating viral strains are more or less effective at destroying virus particles than CD8 T cells that target epitopes that accumulate immune escape variants. We hope these studies will identify which T cell responses should be elicited by a successful SIV/HIV vaccine. 

SIV/Mtb co-infection studies: HIV+ individuals rapidly become sick after co-infection with secondary pathogens, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). We are interested in understanding why HIV+ immunocomprimised individuals are unable to control bacterial replication. We hope these studies will help identify critical therapeutic interventions to prevent HIV+ individuals from becoming sick with tuberculosis.

Selected Publications: 
Gellerup, D., A. Balgeman, C. W. Nelson, A. Ericsen, M. Scarlotta, A. L. Hughes, and S. O’Connor. 2015. Conditional immune escape during chronic SIV infection. J Virol. 90: 545-52. PMC4702533. 26491171.
Sutton, M.S., Burns, C.M., Weiler, A.M., Balgeman, A.J., Braasch, A.T., Lehrer-Brey, G., Friedrich, T.C., and O'Connor, S.L. 2016. Vaccination with live attenuated SIV protects from mucosal, but not necessarily intravenous, challenge with a minimally heterologous SIV. J Virol. PMC Journal -- in process. 26962218.
Harris, M.*, Burns, C.M.*, Becker, E.A., Braasch, A.T., Gostick, E., Johnson, R.C., Broman, K.W., Price, D.A., Friedrich, T.C., and O'Connor, S.L. Acute CD8 T cell responses that select for escape variants are needed to control live attenuated SIV. (2013) Journal of Virology. In Press.
O'Connor, S.L., Becker, E.A., Weinfurter, J.T., Chin, E.N., Budde, M.L., Gostick, E., Correll, M. Gleicher, M. Hughes, A.L., Price, D.A., Friedrich, T.C., and O'Connor, D.H. (2012) Conditional CD8+ T cell escape during acute simian immunodeficiency virus infection. J Virol. 86(1): 605-609.
Budde, M.L.*, Greene, J.M.*, Chin, E.N., Ericsen, A.J., Scarlotta, M., Cain, B.T., Pham, N.H., Becker, E.A., Harris, M., Weinfurter, J.T., O'Connor, S.L, Piatak, M. Jr, Lifson, J.D., Gostick, E., Price, D.A., Friedrich, T.C., and O'Connor, D.H. (2012) Specific CD8+ T cell responses correlate with control of simian immunodeficiency virus replication in Mauritian cynomolgus macaques. J Virol 86(14): 7596-604.
Becker, E.A., Burns, C.M., Leon, E.J., Rajabojan, S., Friedman, R., Friedrich, T.C., O'Connor, S.L., and Hughes, A.L. (2012) Experimental analysis of sources of error in evolutionary studies based on Roche/454 pyrosequencing of viral genomes. Genome Biol Evol 4(4): 457-465.
Hughes, A.L., Becker, E.A., Lauck, M., Karl, J.A., Braasch, A.T., O'Connor, D.H., and O'Connor, S.L. (2012) SIV Genome-wide Pyrosequencing Provides a Comprehensive and Unbiased View of Variation within and outside CD8 T Lymphocyte Epitopes. PLoS One 7(10): e47818.
O’Connor, S.L., Lhost, J.J., Becker, E.A., Detmer, A.M., Johnson, R.C., MacNair, C.E., Wiseman, R.W., Karl, J.A., Greene, J.M., Burwitz, B.J., Bimber, B.N., Lank, S.M., Tuscher, J.J., Mee, E.T., Rose, N.J., Desrosiers, R.C., Hughes, A.L., Friedrich, T.C., Carrington, M., and O’Connor, D.H. (2010) MHC Heterozygote Advantage in Simian Immunodeficiency Virus-Infected Mauritian Cynomolgus Macaques. Sci Transl Med. 2: 22ra18.