Matthew Woodruff

Postoctoral Research Fellow, Vaccine Research Center, Emory University
Chapter Member: Georgia SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Matthew

While Woodruff has a great interest in public policy, his formal training is as an immunology bench researcher specializing in vaccination response. Immune responses to vaccination are highly complex, but follow a strict set of rules that guide the development of a protective immune response. His research seeks to understand those rules in detail, and apply that understanding to the development of increasingly effective vaccines in the future.

In addition to bench research, Woodruff has been involved in a number of scientific outreach efforts attempting to direct high-level scientific knowledge towards a lay-audience. Recently, this interest in scientific outreach has led to an interest, and subsequent involvement in vaccine policy debate. 

In the News

Quoted by Kat Eschner in "Is One Dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine Enough?," Popular Science, January 12, 2021.
Opinion: "Vaccines Against SARS-CoV-2 Will Have Side Effects – That’s a Good Thing," Matthew Woodruff, The Conversation, December 3, 2020.
Quoted by Apoorva Mandavilli in "Some COVID Survivors Have Antibodies That Attack the Body, Not Virus," The New York Times, October 27, 2020.
Opinion: "An Autoimmune-Like Antibody Response Is Linked With Severe COVID-19," Matthew Woodruff, The Conversation, October 8, 2020.
Opinion: "Vaccination Is Not a Personal Healthcare Choice," Matthew Woodruff, Public Health Post, July 19, 2019.
Opinion: "Vaccines Should Be a Requirement for All Kids to Prevent the Next Big Outbreak," Matthew Woodruff, The Hill, December 24, 2017.


"Understanding and Measuring Human B-Cell Tolerance and Its Breakdown in Autoimmune Disease" (with Kevin S Cashman, Scott A Jenks, Deepak Tomar, Christopher M Tipton , Christopher D Scharer, F Eun-Hyung Lee, Jeremy M Boss , and Iñaki Sanz). Immunological Reviews 292, no. 1 (2019): 76-89.

Supplies a comprehensive overview of human immune tolerance checkpoints with associated mechanisms of enforcement, and highlight current and future methodologies which are likely to benefit future studies into the mechanisms that become defective in human autoimmune conditions.

"Contextual Analysis of Immunological Response Through Whole-Organ Fluorescent Imaging" (with Caroline N Herndon, B A Heesters, and Michael C Carroll). Lymphatic Research and Biology 11, no. 3 (2013): 121-7.

Summarizes how significant insights have been gained into the establishment of immune response within secondary lymphoid organs, particularly in draining lymph nodes. Reveals while established techniques such as confocal imaging and intravital multi-photon microscopy have proven invaluable, they provide limited insight into the architectural and structural context in which these responses occur.

"B Cell Competition for Restricted T Cell Help Suppresses Rare-Epitope Responses" (with Eui Ho Kim, Wei Luo, and Bali Pulendran). Cell Reports 25, no. 2 (2018): 321-327.

Discusses how the immune system responds preferentially to particular antigenic-epitopes contained within complex immunogens, such as proteins or microbes. Summarizes how results offer mechanistic insights into B cell competition during an immune response and suggest vaccination strategies against HIV, influenza, and dengue.

"Broadly-Targeted Autoreactivity Is Common in Severe SARS-CoV-2 Infection" (with Richard P Ramonell, F Eun-Hyung Lee, and Ignacio Sanz). MedRxiv (2020).

Explores how severe SARS-CoV-2 infection is linked to the presence of autoantibodies against multiple targets, including phospholipids and type-I interferons. Identifies autoreactive antibodies as a common feature of severe COVID-19, identifying biomarkers of tolerance breaks that may indicate aggressive immunomodulation.


"Extrafollicular B Cell Responses Correlate With Neutralizing Antibodies and Morbidity in COVID-19" (with Richard P Ramonell , Doan C Nguyen, Kevin S Cashman, Ankur Singh Sain, Natalie S Haddad, Ariel M Ley, Shuya Kyu, Christina Howell , Tugba Ozturk, Saeyun Lee, Naveenchandra Suryadevara, James Brett Case, Regina Bugrovsky, Weirong Chen , Jacob Estrada, Andrea Morrison-Porter , Andrew Derrico , Fabliha A Anam, Monika Sharma , Henry M Wu , Sang N Le , Scott A Jenks, Christopher M Tipton, Bashar Staitieh, John L Daiss, Eliver Ghosn, Michael S Diamond, Robert H Carnahan, James E Crowe Jr, William T Hu, F Eun-Hyung Lee, and Ignacio Sanz). Nature Immunology (2020).

Elaborates on performing a detailed characterization of B cell responses through high-dimensional flow cytometry to reveal substantial heterogeneity in both effector and immature populations. Studies how critically ill patients displayed hallmarks of extrafollicular B cell activation and shared B cell repertoire features previously described in autoimmune settings.

"Trans-nodal Migration of Resident Dendritic Cells Into Medullary Interfollicular Regions Initiates Immunity to Influenza Vaccine" (with Balthasar A. Heesters, Caroline N. Herndon, Joanna R. Groom, Paul G. Thomas, Andrew D. Luster, Shannon J. Turley, and Michael C. Carroll). Journal of Experimental Medicine 211, no. 8 (2014): 1611–1621.

Discusses how Dendritic cells (DCs) are well established as potent antigen-presenting cells critical to adaptive immunity. Demonstrates an unexpected stimulatory role for LNDCs where they are capable of rapidly locating viral antigen, driving early activation of T cell populations, and independently establishing functional immune response.

"Squalene Emulsion-Based Vaccine Adjuvants Stimulate CD8 T Cell, but Not Antibody Responses, Through a RIPK3-Dependent Pathway" (with Lilit Grigoryan, Barbara Maier, Song Hee Lee , Eui Ho Kim, Pratyusha Mandal , Mario Cortese, Muktha S Natrajan, Rajesh Ravindran, Huailiang Ma , Miriam Merad, Alexander D Gitlin , and Edward S Mocarski). Elife (2020).

Demonstrates that immunization of mice with MF59 or its mimetic AddaVax (AV) plus soluble antigen results in robust antigen-specific antibody and CD8 T cell responses in lymph nodes and non-lymphoid tissues. Illustrates how immunization triggered rapid RIPK3-kinase dependent necroptosis in the lymph node which peaked at 6 hr, followed by a sequential wave of apoptosis.