Fikri Avci, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Center for Molecular Medicine

Office: UGA Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, Rm Rm. 3064   
Voice: 706-542-3831
: avci@uga.edu


Ph.D. , Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 2005

B.S. , Fatih University, Istanbul, Turkey 2001

Research Interests

Glycoimmunology and Vaccinology

The Avci lab is an interdisciplinary research group at the interface of carbohydrate research and immunology. Their objective is to explore treatment of and protection from infectious diseases and cancer by understanding key molecular and cellular interactions between the components of the immune system and carbohydrate antigens associated with microbes or cancers.

Their research program is directed at: delineating immune mechanisms involved in carbohydrate-mediated adaptive immune response, and designing, synthesizing and testing vaccine targets against model pathogens and cancers. Their research approach involves: (1) identification of the molecular interactions involved in uptake, processing and presentation of carbohydrate antigens by the antigen presenting cells (APCs), (2) isolation and characterization of T cells and their epitopes generated from model carbohydrate antigens, (3) understanding the basis for cellular and humoral immune responses induced by carbohydrate presentation and recognition that enable eradication of disease causing agents, (4) design and synthesis of new-generation therapeutic and/ or prophylactic agents based on the knowledge gained from mechanisms discovered.

Of Note

Post-doctoral Experience
Postdoctoral research fellow (2006-2011) and instructor (2011-2013), Departments of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunobiology, Harvard Medical School
Honors and Awards
2012 Outstanding Young Person Award, Junior Chamber International (JCI, Turkey branch), Outstanding Young Person of 2012 in Medical Innovations
2011 Trainee Award, American Association of Immunologists (AAI)
2005 Slezak Memorial Fellowship, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Department of Chemistry) Research fellowship
2004 Founders Award of Excellence, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Board of Trustees), Excellence in research and education

Selected Publications

Fikri Y. Avci, Dennis L. Kasper. How bacterial carbohydrates influence the adaptive immune system. Annual Review of Immunology 28, 107-130 (2010).

Fikri Y. Avci, Xiangming Li, Moriya Tsuji, Dennis L. Kasper. A mechanism for glycoconjugate vaccine activation of the adaptive immune system and its implications for vaccine design. Nature Medicine 17, 1602-1609 (2011).

Fikri Y. Avci, Xiangming Li, Moriya Tsuji, Dennis L. Kasper. Isolation of carbohydrate-specific CD4+ T cell clones from mice after stimulation by two model glycoconjugate vaccines. Nature Protocols 7, 2180-2192 (2012).

Fikri Y. Avci. Novel Strategies for Development of Next-Generation Glycoconjugate Vaccines. Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry 13, 2535-2540 (2013).

Dingding An, Sungwhan F. Oh, Torsten Olszak, Joana F. Neves, Fikri Y. Avci, Deniz Erturk-Hasdemir, Xi Lu, Sebastian Zeissig, Richard S. Blumberg, Dennis L. Kasper. Sphingolipids from a symbiotic microbe regulate homeostasis of host intestinal natural killer T cells. Cell 156, 123-133 (2014).