Batista

Facundo D. Batista, PhD

Lab Info:

Principal Investigator: Facundo D. Batista, PhD

Email: fbatista1@mgh.harvard.edu

Category: Group Leaders, Members

Dr. Facundo D. Batista is the Phillip T. and Susan M. Ragon Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Harvard Medical School and the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard. He also serves as the first Associate Director of the Ragon Institute.

 

Dr. Batista is a world leader in the study of B-cell immunology and antibody responses. Historically, his group has focused on understanding B-cell receptor (BCR) function, including BCR signaling dynamics, inhibitory and stimulatory regulation by co-receptors, and interactions with the cortical cytoskeleton. These studies have challenged the previous conception of BCR activation as a mere receptor-ligand interaction by elucidating the complex interplay of membrane components that influence BCR function. Dr. Batista has also investigated B-cell activation in vivo, including the location of B cells during and after antigen recognition and how they interact with other cells. These insights will lead to improved methodologies for boosting B-cell responses in human disease.

 

Since joining the Ragon Institute in 2016, Dr. Batista’s focus has turned further toward applied immunology. Recent work involves the role of B-cell metabolism, including autophagy and mitochondrial metabolic reprogramming, in driving B-cell response. Dr. Batista has also developed a one-step, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated strategy to generate knock-in mice expressing specific human immunoglobulin genes. These models, known as ‘Cas9-humanized mice,’ are engineered to encode broadly neutralizing antibodies and can be used to evaluate immunoresponses to specific antigens. Dr. Batista’s group has already developed over 40 such mouse models, with the hope that they will assist antigen selection efforts and inform vaccine clinical trials.

 

Dr. Batista has served on the editorial boards of various journals, including Science. He was elected to the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) Young Investigator Programme in 2009 and granted full EMBO membership in 2013. He is also the recipient of the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award and a fellow of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2018.

 

Dr. Batista was the main scientific co-founder of BliNK Therapeutics, a startup leveraging his work on in vitro activation of B cells to develop therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.

 

Prior to joining the Ragon Institute, Dr. Batista was a Professor at Imperial College London and a Member of the Francis Crick Institute (formerly the London Research Institute). He trained with Michael Neuberger as a postdoctoral EMBO fellow at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK. Dr. Batista received a PhD from the International School of Advanced Studies in Trieste, Italy, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 

Selected publications

Gaya, M., Castello, A., Montaner, B., Rogers, N., Reis e Sousa, C., Bruckbauer, A., & Batista, F. D. Inflammation-induced disruption of SCS macrophages impairs B cell responses to secondary infection. Science, 2015; 347(6222), 667-672.

 

Mattila PK, Feest C, Depoil D, Treanor B, Montaner B, Otipoby KL, Carter R, Justement LB, Bruckbauer A, Batista FD. The actin and tetraspanin networks organize receptor nanoclusters to regulate B cell receptor-mediated signaling. Immunity. 2013;38(3):461-74.

 

Thaunat O, Granja AG, Barral P, Filby A, Montaner B, Collinson L, Martinez-Martin N, Harwood NE, Bruckbauer A, Batista FD. Asymmetric segregation of polarized antigen on B cell division shapes presentation capacity. Science. 2012;335(6067):475-9.

 

All publications via PubMed