Dr. Frances Lund was born and raised just outside of Chicago, Illinois, and attended the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. She completed her undergraduate studies in microbiology in 1987 and moved to Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, for her graduate work. She obtained her Ph.D. in Immunology in 1992 and accepted a post–doctoral immunology fellowship in Palo Alto, California, at DNAX Research Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology. DNAX, an academic–focused research institute originally started by Stanford researchers and acquired by Schering Plough, pioneered studies of cytokines and chemokines. These proteins, which are considered to be the primary soluble mediators of acute and chronic inflammatory processes, have been a primary focus of Dr. Lund’s research studies. In 1997, Dr. Lund moved to the Trudeau Institute, and started her own research lab. At Trudeau, Dr. Lund and her scientific partner, Dr. Troy Randall, developed research programs studying immune responses to pathogens, allergens and autoantigens with a special focus on the role of chemokines and cytokines in immunity and inflammation. Dr. Lund also continued her studies of CD38, an enzyme that regulates inflammation, metabolism and oxidative stress and is the target of the recently U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved multiple myeloma drug, Darzalex®. In 2008, Drs. Lund and Randall joined the University of Rochester as professors within the Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology. There she developed additional research programs in autoimmunity and allergy and began her work in human translational immunology. In 2012, Drs. Lund and Randall and their joint labs were recruited to University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where Dr. Lund currently serves as the Charles H. McCauley Professor and Chair of the Department of Microbiology.
Dr. Lund’s research has focused on identifying the key players that suppress or exacerbate mucosal inflammatory responses with the long-term goal of developing therapeutics to treat immunopathology associated with chronic infectious, allergic and autoimmune disease. Her lab was the first to popularize the notion that B cells, when activated in the presence of different cytokine micro–environments, acquire distinct effector functions that are biologically important. One of her lab’s major projects is characterizing the roles that cytokine–producing “effector” B cells play in modulating inflammation and T cell-mediated immune responses to pathogens, autoantigens and allergens.
A second area of focus by the Lund lab is how inflammatory signals regulate the balance between the development of the antibody-producing long-lived plasma cells and the memory B cell compartment with lymphoid tissues. The lab also studies how these cells are maintained long-term at inflammatory sites. In particular, Dr. Lund’s group is evaluating how changes in the epigenome of B cells influences their differentiation potential following primary and secondary encounters with antigen. Dr. Lund’s current research program combines fundamental mechanism based science with translational studies and focuses on inflammatory disease processes associated with autoimmunity (Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis), neurologic and cognitive disorders (Alzheimer’s disease), cancer (hematologic and solid tumor) and pulmonary disease (allergy and infection).
Dr. Lund and her lab have published more than 120 articles in top research journals.