Dr. Jude Uzonna



Manitoba Health Research Chair Professor
Associate Professor Medical Microbiology
Associate Professor Immunology

DVM (Distinction, University of Nigeria, 1990)
Ph.D. (Saskatchewan 1998)

Mailing Address:
Parasite Vaccines Development Laboratory
Department of Immunology
425 Apotex Center Building
750 McDermot Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0T5

Tel: 204-977-5659; Fax: 204-789-3921
Email: Jude.Uzonna@umanitoba.ca
Website: www.uzonnalab.com 

Research Interests:
Regulation of Immunity to Parasites
Parasitic diseases continue to be one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity around the world (particularly in developing countries) and afflict more people than any other infectious disease. Sadly, despite the high mortality and morbidity and enormous socio-economic impact of parasitic diseases, not much interest is shown in this area of research and parasitic diseases remain relatively neglected diseases. In our lab we study two diseases caused by protozoan parasites namely: Leishmaniasis and African trypanosomiasis.  We utilize experimental animal models to study host-pathogen interactions that result in susceptibility or resistance to these diseases.  We have taken this two-prong (host and pathogen) approach because we believe “it takes two to tango” and that the outcome infection is influenced by the intricate interactions between the host and the pathogen.  The overarching question that we seek answer to is: what host and parasite factors contribute to susceptibility or resistance to protozoan parasites?  Two host factors (responses) of particular interest to our laboratory are regulatory T cells and memory T cells. Some of the questions we ask include: Do memory cells develop after infection with protozoan parasites? If they do, are these cells important in resistance to secondary exposure? What can make the host loose an already developed memory response?  How can regulatory T cells be activated to prevent immune cell hyper-activation?  From the parasite’s side, we are interested in parasite-derived molecules that either (a) enhance the invasion process (b) contribute to the take-over of host immune defenses or (c) alter the immune system to make it permissible for parasite proliferation.  We use of knockout mice, genetically modified parasites, and more recently, proteomics to dissect cellular immune responses following protozoan infections.  Although we primarily use mouse models in our studies, we are working towards finding vaccines for humans and livestock.
Immune Regulation of Sepsis/Septic Shock
Recently, we have initiated studies to aimed at understanding the pathogenesis of sepsis syndrome (also known as systemic inflammatory response associated with infection, sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock). This is a condition characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state and the presence of a known or suspected bacteria, usually gram-negative organisms. Our goal is to understand how CD25+ cells (also known as regulatory T cells) ameliorate lethality associated with LPS-induced septic shock.

Recent Publications:

For a list of Dr. Uzonna's PubMed articles, please click here

  1. Mou, Z., Jia, P., Kuriakose, S., Khadem, F., and Uzonna, J.E.  2010. Interleukin-17-mediated control of parasitemia in experimental Trypanosoma congolense infection in mice. Infect Immun 78(12):5271-9
  2. Okwor, I., Kuriakose, S., and Uzonna, J. 2010. Repeated inoculation of killed Leishmania major induces durable immune response that protects mice against virulent challenge. Vaccine 33:5451-7
  3. Liu D., and Uzonna, J.E.  2010. The p110d isoform of phosphoinositide 3 kinase controls the quality of secondary anit-Leishmania immunity by negatively regulating expansion and effector function of memory T cell subsets. J. Immunol. Epub ahead of print, Feb 12, 2010
  4. Joyee A., Uzonna, J.E., and Yang, X. 2010. Invariant NKT cells preferentially modulate the function of CD8+ dendritic cell subset in inducing type 1 immunity against infection. J. Immunol. 184:2095-106
  5. Zhou, G., Ma, Y., Jia, P., Guan, Q., Peng, Z, and Uzonna, J.E. 2010. Enhancement of IL-10 bioactivity using an IL-10 peptide-based vaccine exacerbates Leishmania major infection and improves airway inflammation in mice. Vaccine 28:1838-1846
  6. Liu D., Okkenhaug K, Vanhaesebroeck, B and Uzonna, J.  2009. The p110d isoform of PI3K controls resistance to Leishmania major by negatively regulating expansion and effector function of natural regulatory T cells. J. Immunol. 183:1921.
  7. Okwor, I and Uzonna, J. 2009. Immunotherapy as a strategy for treatment of leishmaniasis: a review of the literature. Immunotherapy 1:765
  8. Liu, D., Kebaier, C., Pakpour, N., Capul, A., Beverley, S., Scott, P, and Uzonna, J.   2009.  The glycophosphate conjugates of L. major influences the host immune response by modulating dendritic cell function. Infect Immun 77:327
  9. Okwor, I., Liu, D., Beverley, S., and Uzonna, J.   2009. Inoculation of killed Leishmania major into immune mice rapidly disrupts immunity to a secondary challenge via IL-10-mediated process. PNAS 106:13951
  10. Muleme, H., Palfi, A., Azinwi, R., Beverley, S., and Uzonna, J.E. 2009. Infection of mice with arginase deficient Leishmania major identifies a novel role of parasite-derived arginase in disease pathogenesis independent of host immune response. J. Immunol. 183:8068-76
  11. Okwor, I., Liu, D., Xu, G., and Uzonna, J.E. 2009. Qualitative and quantitative differences in the early immune responses following vaccination with live and killed Leishmania major: implications for vaccination strategies against Leishmaniasis. Vaccine 19:2554
  12. Okwor, I., Muleme, H., Liu, D., Xu, G., Jia, P., and Uzonna, J.E. 2009. Membrane lymphotoxin controls susceptibility to Trypanosoma congolense by regulating pro-inflammatory cytokine production. J. Inf Dis. 200:361
  13. Okwor, I and Uzonna, J. 2009. Status of vaccines and vaccination strategies against cutaneous leishmaniasis. Hum Vacc 5:291
  14. Li, X.Y., Jin, L.J., Uzonna, J.E., Li, S.Y., Liu, J.J., Li, H.Q., Lu, Y.N., Zhen, Y.H., Xu, Y.P. 2008. Chitosan-alginate microcapsules for oral delivery of egg yolk immunoglobulin (IgY): In vivo evaluation in a pig model of enteric colibacillosis. Vet Immunol Immunopathol 129:132
  15. Okwor, I and Uzonna, J. 2008. Persistent parasites and immunologic memory in cutaneous leishmaniasis: implications for vaccine designs and vaccination strategies. Immunol Res 41:123-136
  16. Xu G., Liu, D., Fan, Y., Yang, X, Korner, H., Fu, YX and Uzonna, J. 2007. Membrane lymphotoxin plays a critical role for optimal resistance to Leishmania major. J Immunol. 179:6901-6909
  17. Xu G., Liu, D., Okwor, I., Yang, W., Korner, H., Kung, S.P., Fu, YX., and Uzonna, J.  2007. LIGHT is critical for IL-12 production by dendritic cells, CD4+ Th1 development and resistance to L. major. J. Immunol. 179:5358-5366
  18. Kebaier C, J.E. Uzonna, S.M. Beverley, and P. Scott. 2006. Immunization with persistent attenuated Delta lpg2 Leishmania major parasites requires adjuvant to provide immunity in C57BL/6 mice. Infect Immun 74:777-780.
  19. Strutt, T., J.E. Uzonna, K. McKinstry, and P. Bretscher. 2006. Activation of thymic T cells by MHC alloantigens requires allo-MHC bearing B cells. Int Immunol. 18:719-728


Laboratory Members Position  Email Phone
Camus, Gaelle PhD Student gaellecamus@hotmail.com  789-3960 
Jia, Ping Technician jiaping60@hotmail.com 789-3960
Khadem, Forough MSc. Student fkkhadem@gmail.com  789-3960
Kuriakose, Shiby MSc. Student  jiby_prince@yahoo.com  789-3960
Liu, Dong PhD Sudent  njluiong@hotmail.com  789-3960 
Mou, Zhirong  PostDoc  mouzr@yahoo.com  789-3960
Okeke, Emeka  PhD Student  bonem2@hotmail.com  789-3960
Okwor, Ifeoma PhD Student  ofem2002@gmail.com  789-3960
Onyilagha, Nonso MSc Student  meetchinor@yahoo.cm  789-3960
Singh, Rani PostDoc  raninsingh@gmail.com 789-3960