Eline Tjetske Luning Prak, MD, PhD

faculty photo
Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Facility Director, Human Immunology Core, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Co-Director, Immunology Core, Center for AIDS Research, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Director, Immune Health CLIA Lab
Director, Clinical Immunology Laboratory, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP)
Department: Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
405B Stellar-Chance Laboratories
422 Curie Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: (215) 746-5768
Fax: (215 ) 573-6317
Lab: (215) 746-5769
A.B. (Molecular Biology)
Princeton University , 1988.
Ph.D. (Immunology)
University of Pennsylvania, 1996.
University of Pennsylvania, 1996.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Dr. Luning Prak studies the antibody repertoire in health and disease.

Key words: antibody, antibody repertoire, V(D)J recombination, receptor editing, immunoglobulin, autoimmunity, clone tracking, minimal residual disease

Description of Research
Antibodies are proteins produced by B lymphocytes that are important for immune defense, but also serve as ubiquitous biomarkers for immunity and disease. The proliferation of B cells derived from a single precursor cell (i.e., a clone) can reflect a robust immune response, an autoimmune disease process or herald B cell malignancy. Each B cell usually makes only one kind of antibody and each person has about 100 billion different B cells (this collection is called the antibody "repertoire"). My lab studies the B cell repertoire by sequencing the DNA rearrangements that create antibodies. These DNA rearrangements are diverse; hence, when sufficiently similar rearrangements are observed, they are likely to derive from B cells that are clonally related. By studying the clonal landscape of the human B cell repertoire using next-generation sequencing (NGS), we hope to better understand how B cells mature and evolve in different organs in health and disease. We are also harnessing this knowledge to create clinical lab tests that identify and track B cell clones.

Rotation Projects
1. An anatomic atlas of large B cell clones in the human body. By sequencing antibody heavy chain variable regions in different tissues of organ donors, we can trace how large B cell clones are distributed in the body. So far, we have found two major networks of clones, one in the blood/bone marrow/spleen/lung and another in the gastrointestinal tract. We also observed that the B cells in the GI tract, and especially the jejunum, have more somatic hypermutations. One of the most interesting aspects of this work was the finding that some individuals, but not others, had very large standing B cell clones. We are focusing on defining the antigens drive the formation of these clones by capturing their antibodies and characterizing their antigenic specificity.

2. Ontogeny of human B cell subsets. How human B cell subsets, particularly memory B cells (MBCs), develop and evolve remains poorly understood. We have been studying human B cell subset maturation in the blood and have published several papers describing how B cell subsets shift with time, with age, and during autoreconstitution following chemotherapy or immunosuppression. In this ongoing project, we have been tracking individual clones through different B cell subsets sorted from blood, bone marrow and other human tissues. These studies reveal a surprising degree of clonal sharing between subsets, suggesting that differentiation is not unidirectional or that certain subsets have cells with self-renewal and/or maintenance capacities, or that our definitions of the subsets are flawed.

3. Clone tracking and B cell subset analysis in autiommunity. Our longstanding hypothesis, based upon our work and the work of others, is that patients with certain forms of autoimmunity harbor pathogenic expanded B cell clones. We hope to define pathogenic B cell clones that expand during disease flares and potentially gain insights into their subset of origin and manner of tolerance breakdown, building upon our ongoing work in autoimmunity. In this ongoing project, we are tracking clonal lineages in blood and in some cases tissues from individuals with different autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus and type 1 diabetes.

4. Clone tracking in malignancy. We are interested in developing and validating robust next generation sequencing (NGS) based methods to identify and track malignant and non-malignant B cell clones and lymphocyte subsets in patients with hematologic malignancies including multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, acute lymphoblastic leukemia and other malignant and pre-malignant conditions. In addition to developing minimal residual disease NGS assays, we are studying the non-malignant B and T cell repertoires in cancer patients. Features of the non-malignant immune repertoire, such as its diversity and degree of somatic hypermutation, may inform immune therapies and provide prognostic information.

Lab and core lab personnel:
Wenzhao Meng, PhD
Dora Chen
Aaron Rosenfeld
Michelle Xu
Patricia Tsao, MD, PhD
Ling Zhao, MD, PhD
Yang Zhu Du, MD, PhD
Ping Wei, MD
Zheng Cui, PhD
Zhenyu Huang, MD, PhD
Yinan Lu
Hongen Wang

Description of Clinical Expertise

Molecular Immunology- I have expertise in next-generation sequencing based assays of immune repertoires and computational analysis of the immune repertoire. Iimmune repertoire profiling can be used clinically for the evaluation of immunodeficiency, for diagnosis of B or T cell malignancy or lymphoproliferative disorder and for minimal residual disease evaluation. I co-chair a working group that is establishing data standards for NGS immune repertoire profiling studies (part of the international Adaptive Immune Receptor Repertoire (AIRR) Community).

Flow Cytometry- I have expertise in clinical and translational immunophenotyping experiments. I direct a core lab (Human Immunology Core) that develops and performs multicolor immunophenotyping panels for early-phase clinical trials. I am especially familiar with human B cell lymphocyte maturation, but also provide input into the design of immunophenotyping panels for malignant B and T cell disorders. I also serve as a consultant to HUP allergy immunology physicians who use clinical flow cytometry data as part of an immunodeficiency evaluation.

Autoimmune and infectious disease serology- I have expertise in autoimmune serology, autoantibody profiling and serologic assays for infectious diseases including lyme disease. I help direct the Clinical Immunology laboratory at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, which performs a wide range of assays.

HLA typing and allosensitization evaluations- I have expertise in HLA and anti-HLA immune responses, and provide input into clinical test design, evaluation and test reporting for the HLA lab at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Description of Other Expertise

Research advisor to students at all levels

Mentoring of MSTP students, senior residents, fellows and junior faculty

Scientific consultation-- providing researchers and clinicians with assistance in experimental design, appropriate immunology tests to support their research or clinical objectives

Selected Publications

Chong, E.A., Kumashie, K.G., Chong, E.R., Fabrizio, J., Gupta, A., Svoboda, J., Barta, S.K., Walsh, K.M., Napier, E.B., Lundberg, R.K., Nasta, S.D., Gerson, J.N., Landsburg, D.J., Gonzalez, J., Gaano, A., Weirock, M.E., McAllister, C.M., Awofalaju, M., John, G.N., Kammerman, S.C., Novaceck, J., Pajarillo, R., Lundgreen, K.A., Tanenbaum, N., Douma, S., Drapeau, E.M., Adamski, S., D'Andrea, K., Pattekar, A., Hicks, A., Korte, S., Sharma, H., Herring, S., Williams, J.C., Hamilton, J.T., Bates, P., Hensley, S.E., Luning Prak, E.T., Greenplate, A.R., Wherry, E.J., Schuster, S.J., Ruella, M. and L.A. Vella: Immunologic predictors of vaccine responsiveness in patients with lymphoma and CLL. Journal of Infectious Diseases. Oxford Academic, March 2024.

T. Narasaraju, I. Neeli, S.L. Criswell, A. Krishnappa, W. Meng, V. Silva, G. Bila, V. Volk, Z. Serhiy, G.L. Bowlin, N. Meyer, E. T. Luning Prak, M. Radic, R. Bilyy.: Neutrophil activity and extracellular matrix degradation: drivers of lung tissue destruction in fatal COVID-19 cases and implications for long COVID. Biomolecules. MDPI, 14(236), February 2024.

Anderson, E., Powell, M., Yang, E., Kar, A., Leung, T., Sison, C., Steinberg, R., Mims, R., Choudhury, A., Espinosa, C., Okoye, N.C., Choi, E.J., Marder, G., Narain, S., Gregersen, P.K., Mackay, M., Diamond, B., Levy, T., Zanos, T.P., Khosroshanhi, A., Sanz, I., Luning Prak, E.T., Bar-Or, A., Merrill, J., Arriens, C., Pardo, G., Guthridge, J., James, J., Payne, A., Utz, P.J., Boss, J.M., Aranow, C. and A. Davidson: A real-world observational study of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination shows both safety and efficacy in subjects with autoimmune diseases. Journal of Autoimmunity in press, 2024.

Horvath, S., Huang, Z., Koelper, N.C., Martinez, C., Tsao, P.Y., Zhao, L., Goldberg, A.B., Hannum, C., Putt, M.E., Luning Prak*, E.T. and C.A. Schreiber* (*equal contributions, co-senior authors): Induced abortion and the risk of Rh sensitization. JAMA 330(12): 1167-1174, September 2023 Notes: Top 20 Clinical Research Achievement Award publication.

Matsumoto, R., Gray, J., Rybkina, K., Oppenheimer, H., Levy, L., Friedman, L.M., Khamaisi, M., Meng, W., Rosenfeld, A.M., Guyer, R.S., Bradley, M., Chen, D., Atkinson, M.A., Brusko, T.M., Brusko, M., Connors, T.J., Luning Prak, E.T., Hershberg, U., Sims, P.A., Hertz, T. and D. L. Farber: Induction of bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue is an early life adaptation for promoting human B cell immunity. Nature Immunology 24(8): 1370-1381, August 2023.

Skarke, C., Lordan, R., Barekat, K., Naik, A., Mathew, D., Ohtani, T., Greenplate, A.R., Grant, G., Lahens, N.F., Gouma, S., Troisi, E., Sengupta, A., Weljie, A. M., Meng, W., Luning Prak, E.T., Lundgreen, K., Bates, P., Meng, H. and G.A. Fitzgerald: Modulation of the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination by NSAIDs. JPET 386(2): 198-204, August 2023.

Rybkina, K., Bell, J.N., Bradley, M.C., Wohlbold, T., Scafuro, M., Meng, W., Korenberg, R.C., Davis-Porada, J., Anderson, B.R., Weller, R.J., Milner, J., Moscona, A., Poroto, M., Luning Prak, E.T., Pethe, K., Connors, T.J. and D.L. Farber: SARS-CoV-2 infection and recovery in children: Distinct T cell responses in MIS-C compared to COVID-19. Journal of Experimental Medicine 220(8), August 2023.

Fike, A.J., Chodisetti, S.B., Wright, N.E., Bricker, K.N., Domeier, P.P., Maienschein-Cline, M., Rosenfeld, A.M., Luckenbill, S.A., Weber, J.L., Choi, N.M., Luning Prak, E.T., Mandal, M., Clark, M.R. and Ziaur S.M. Rahman: STAT3 signaling in B cells controls germinal center zone organization and recycling. Cell Reports 42(5), May 2023.

Poon, M.M.L., Caron, D.P., Wang, Z., Wells, S.B., Chen, D., Meng, W., Szabo, P.A., Lam, N., Kubota, M., Matsumoto, R., Rahman, A., Luning Prak, E.T., Shen, Y., Sims, P.A. and D. L. Farber: Tissue adaptation and clonal segregation of human memory T cells in barrier sites. Nature Immunology January 2023.

Pero, S.C., Rosenfeld, A.M., Shukla, G.S., Mei, L., Sun, Y., Meng, W., Fournier, D.J., Harlow, S.P., Robinson, M.K., Krag, D.N., Luning Prak^, E.T. and B. C. Harman^ (^co-corresponding authors): Diversification and shared features of tumor-binding antibody repertoires in tumor, sentinel lymph node, and blood of three patients with breast cancer. Clinical and Translational Immunology Page: in press, July 2022.

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Last updated: 04/02/2024
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