Vega López Marco Antonio PhD

Dr. Marco Antonio Vega López Current position: Research Scientist.
Present adscription: Department of Infectomics and Molecular Pathogenesis. Cinvestav, IPN, Mexico.       
Address: Av. IPN # 2508, San Pedro Zacatenco, Mexico 07360, D. F.
Phone number: 5255-5747-3800 Ext 5660. FAX: 5255-5747-3377.
e-mail: mavega@cinvestav-mx

Academic profile:
Undergraduate : BSc (Microbiology),UNAM. Mexico City, Mexico, 1983.
Postgraduate studies: Ph.D. (Immunology), University of Bristol, United Kingdom, 1991.


Research topics

The close relationship between our body and the environment occurs through the mucosal surfaces as the gastrointestinal (GI, 340 m2), respiratory (60 m2), urogenital, ocular, ear and even the skin (2 m2). These extensive surfaces are the ideal gate of entrance for many pathogens (virus, bacteria, parasites) and allergens. Besides, physiologically these mucosae are semi-permeable barriers which let many relevant foreign substances to access our body without triggering an immune response. The mechanisms involved in such discrimination between harmful and innocuous substances is one of the main subjects of the mucosal immunobiology.

Another relevant aspect is the type of immunity induced at mucosal surfaces. In contrast to the sterilizing systemic (serum, blood) immunity elicited within our body against any foreign material, mucosal immunity may allow the access to our body of a wide array of foreign substances (mainly food) and also tolerate the presence of an abundant microbiota at the mucosal surfaces. Mucosal immunity is also known as “immune exclusion”, since it prevents the necessarily destroying them. In this way, the mucosal immune system “adapt” ourselves to the environment.

Moreover, we are familiar with the idea that young and elderly people are more susceptible to respiratory and gastrointestinal infectious diseases, and although many hypothesis tried to explain why, there are no detailed studies on the development of the mucosal immune system at those ages. Ethical considerations limit these studies in humans and rodent animal models have important anatomical and developmental differences with humans. Our group has been devoted to describe the structure and development of the gastrointestinal and respiratory immune system in the Vietnamese minipig, which have amazing anatomo-physiological similarities to humans. The pig also suffer similar infectious diseases to humans (influenza, diarrhea) and at the same stages of life. Therefore, we are using this animal model to develop novel mucosal immunization protocols.

The WHO has promoted the research to find alternatives to the intramuscular (IM) route of vaccination, which has demonstrated to induce poor mucosal protection. Mucosal immunizations, the obvious alternative through oral, intranasal, sublingual, genital and cutaneous administration of antigens. Our group is developing novel immunization protocols to induce systemic and mucosal immune responses to control infectious diseases. On the other hand, we are developing early immunization protocols to protect the organism at early ages, when diseases are more deadly. Also we are investigating the effect of maternal antibodies on the success of perinatal immunization.

Finally, we have a close collaboration with the Chronic and degenerative diseases group (lead by Dr. J.B. Kourí), developing a porcine model of experimental osteoarthritis, in order to study the immunological (inflammatory) face of this ailment and to test new therapeutic tools in a model closer to humans than the rat now in use. FIND US!!! AT Inmuno Mucosas.