F. Dan Atkins, MD
Dr. Atkins is the Section Head for Allergy and the Co-Director of the Gastrointestinal Eosinophilic Disease Program at Children's Hospital Colorado. Dan’s research interests include better understanding the immunologic mechanisms of different forms of food allergy and eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders.
Eric Clambey, PhD
Dr. Clambey is an Assistant Professor in Anesthesiology, focused on immunology research. Eric’s research is focused on the microenvironmental regulation of T cell responses, including how T cells are influenced by local variation in nutrients/metabolites, including oxygen. While much of his research has historically focused on mouse models of infection and inflammation, he is increasingly involved with the Lung Cancer SPORE group on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, including a recently funded pilot mechanism to investigate the role of CD8 T cells in lung cancer. These studies will include studies on immunotherapy in mouse models of lung cancer, and initial studies characterizing human T cell populations in the human lung by CyTOF.
Stephen Dreskin, MD, PhD
Dr. Dreskin is a Professor in the School of Medicine Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the Director of the University of Colorado Allergy and Immunology Practice. The primary effort in the Dreskin laboratory is to understand the effector activity of peanut allergens. Allergic reactions to peanuts occur because susceptible individuals have an aberrant response to peanuts by producing a plasma protein, IgE, that binds to the high affinity receptor for IgE on mast cells and basophils. This receptor-bound IgE can be cross-linked by specific peanut proteins, called allergens, leading to a severe allergic reaction. Eleven peanut proteins have been identified as allergens because they bind IgE from allergic individuals. Based on our work and the work of others, we now know that Ara h 2 and Ara h 6 are the most potent of these allergens for most patients. We have championed the concept of defining the clinically most important allergens based on potency in functional assays that we have helped to develop. Our newest data examining the allergenicity of peanut extracts that have been specifically depleted of Ara h 2 and Ara h 6 demonstrate strongly that, for severely peanut allergic patients, the activity of Ara h 2 and Ara h 6 together account for the approximately 90% of the allergenic activity of peanuts. We propose to define in molecular detail how these peanut allergens interact to be responsible for mast cell activation in peanut allergic patients. We are currently testing our in vitro findings in vivo using a mouse model of peanut allergy. This approach has changed our thinking as to which peanut allergens are the most important for allergic reactions. Another focus of the Dreskin laboratory is to understand the molecular basis of chronic urticaria.
Cullen Dutmer, MD
Dr. Dutmer is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy & Immunology at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Cullen’s clinical responsibilities include the diagnosis and management of patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases and immune dysregulation disorders. In addition, he diagnoses and treats individuals with various atopic diseases and asthma. Dr. Dutmer’s research interests include projects investigating how environmental exposures contribute to asthma severity in urban children.
Andrew Fontenot, MD
Dr. Fontenot is the Division Head and Professor of Allergy & Clinical Immunology. The interests of the Fontenot laboratory are diverse, but mainly center on the role of T cells in the development of lung disease. In particular, the laboratory is interested in determining the mechanism by which CD4+ T cells recognize the beryllium antigen in the context of HLA-DP2. The Fontenot team recently determined the structure of HLA-DP2 and this structure defines a potential beryllium binding site. The immunologic mechanisms involved in the progression from beryllium sensitization and disease as well as the development of biomarkers that could potentially detect this progression in the absence of invasive procedures is also a major interest. The lab is also interested in the alterations in the lung microbiome that characterize the lung in different stages of HIV disease and whether a broadened microbiome could contribute to the early onset of lung disease in HIV-infected patients.
Brian Freed, PhD
Dr. Freed is the Executive Director for ClinImmune Labs and a Professor in the Division of Allergy and Immunology. Brian’s research focuses on the effects of smoking on pulmonary immune responses; HLA epitopes and immune mediated diseases.
Charles H. Kirkpatrick, MD
Dr. Kirkpatrick is a member of the faculty of the Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the Department of Medicine. Charles evaluates patients who are referred to the Anschutz Medical Campus because of unusual susceptibility to infectious diseases or autoimmune diseases. These studies have led to the recognition of two disorders: long term antibody deficiency, and a ‘new immune deficiency’ in which patients fail to develop high avidity antibodies. Long term antibody deficiency is observed in patients who were treated with Rituximab, an FDA approved drug that targets B-lymphocytes. He has characterized the defect in B-lymphocyte cytology and function and has developed an effective treatment. Current studies are directed at determining the mechanism(s) that lead to this defect. The ‘new immune deficiency’ is characterized by failure to develop high avidity antibodies. Current studies are aimed at defining the mechanisms of this disorder. In addition, Dr. Kirkpatrick studies immune deficiencies and autoimmunities that are due to haplotype insufficiency. He also evaluates and manages patients with Periodic Fever Syndromes.
Vijaya Knight, MD, PhD, (D)ABMLI
Dr. Vijaya Knight is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Allergy and Immunology and Director of the Translational and Diagnostic Immunology and Allergy Laboratory at Children’s Hospital Colorado. Vijaya’s interests focus on the development of novel immunological assays for analysis of immunodeficiency and immune dysregulation, as well as the development of immune monitoring assays for clinical trials. She is well known in the field of clinical immunology and is recognized for her expertise in developing and validating complex immunological assays for clinical use.
Brent Palmer, PhD
Dr. Palmer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and the Director of the ACI/ID (research) and ClinImmune (clinical) Flow Cytometry Facility. Brent has a long-standing interest the consequences of HIV infection on T cell immunity. The Palmer laboratory performs translational patient-based studies of T cell exhaustion in HIV-infected individuals as well as humanized mouse models of HIV infection to examine the potential of checkpoint inhibitors, such as Programmed Death I (PD-1), for restoring anti-viral immunity. The Palmer laboratory also investigates the microbiome and has shown that HIV infection is associated with profound alterations in gut microbiota. The Palmer lab investigates how alterations in gut microbiota effect intestinal immune homeostasis and metabolic disease and uses diet modification to remediate effects of dysbiosis on HIV-associated comorbidities and disease. Dr. Palmer is also interested in the gut-lung axis and mechanisms by which enteric microbes shape pulmonary immunity.
Eduardo Davila, PhD
Dr. Davila is a Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado and the Amy Davis Endowed Chair for Human Immunology within the CU Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative (HI3). Eduardo’s research focuses on understanding how to generate potent and durable antitumor immune responses and leveraging these insights to develop more effective diagnostics and therapies to treat cancer patients. He has dedicated his efforts toward 1) generating novel immune gene platforms that redirect immune cell killing of cancer cells or that restore immunological activity against tumors, 2) understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms that lead to T cell dysfunction and develop methods to reverse this dysfunction. His research includes melanoma, breast cancer and glioblastoma. Dr. Davila also devotes his time to developing education and mentoring initiatives to train the next generation of aspiring young scientists and physicians in cancer research and clinical care.
Antonio Jimeno, MD, PhD
Dr. Jimeno is a Professor in the Division of Medical Oncology in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado. Antonio has developed an interest in integrating preclinical research, drug development, and clinical research. He has made a special emphasis in 1) developing better preclinical models, particularly humanized mice, 2) determining predictors of response, and 3) devising ways to integrate that knowledge into clinical trials to individualize anti-cancer therapy. His concomitant work in the laboratory and the clinic has materialized in the form of novel inventions (drugs and biomarkers) that are currently the subject of prospective clinical testing. His clinical interest is Head and Neck and Upper Gastrointestinal cancer.
Traci Lyons, PhD
Dr. Lyons is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology. Traci’s laboratory focuses on mechanisms of lymphatic mediated metastasis of breast cancer. Specifically, utilizing mouse models to investigate developmentally regulated programs of inflammation and lymphangiogenesis that are utilized in the adult mammary gland and may be hijacked by breast tumor cells. The results of these translational studies have the potential to instruct therapy aimed at prevention of breast cancer metastasis.
Jose I. Mayordomo, MD, PhD
Dr. Mayordomo is a Professor, Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado. Jose is a clinical-translational scientist in breast oncology with research focusing on breast cancer immunotherapy and genetic variants associated to cancer. His research is focused on clinical breast cancer including clinical trials with anti-endocrine therapies, novel biologic drug and immunotherapies. With an extensive background in cancer immunotherapy for breast cancer and melanoma, Dr. Mayordomo is focused on the development of novel vaccines and combination immunotherapy for breast cancer and also, though collaborative programs, on genetic variants associated to breast cancer.
Wells Messersmith, MD
Dr. Messersmith is Professor and Head, Division of Medical Oncology, Director for the GI Medical Oncology Program and Program co-Leader for Developmental Therapeutics. Wells' lab is mainly focused on using a personalized approach in developing new anticancer drugs for GI cancers. In particular, the lab uses a novel colorectal and pancreatic explant model whereby tumor tissue is obtained from the operating room and then placed directly into mice. Tumors are treated with new drugs and predictive biomarkers of sensitivity are discovered. These predictive markers are used in the clinic to pre-select patients that would most likely derive benefit from these new drugs. Additionally, these tumors are evaluated in orthotopic and metastatic models. Current anticancer drugs in the lab target Notch (g-secretase), Src, and hedgehog pathways.
William Robinson, MD, PhD
Dr. Robinson is a Professor, Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado. Bill is an active clinical and basic investigator studying the molecular and genetic regulation of melanocyte development and melanoma, particularly the role of microRNAs in the regulation of melanoma associated genes. Together with Dr. Lynn Bemis he is investigating the use of nano-technology to detect mutations in cancer cells. He is the founder of the melanoma tissue bank at CU which provides research materials to local investigators as well as numerous national and international collaborators. He also coordinates the Frontiers in Melanoma Seminar Program which brings in invited speakers from around the world for collaboration and discussion.
Erin Schenk, MD, PhD
Dr. Schenk is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Medical Oncology. Erin’s lab is focused on the lung cancer tumor microenvironment and its contributions to treatment resistance. She is particularly interested in the cross talk between myeloid cells and tumor cells, the means of transmitting those messages, and the functional consequences in both cell types. Ultimately, Erin hopes to bring novel therapies to clinical trials that target this cross talk and improve patient response to treatment.
Ethan Lange, PhD
Dr. Ethan Lange is a Professor in the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of Biomedical Informatics and Personalized Medicine, and in the Department of Biostatistics and Informatics. Ethan is a statistical geneticist and biostatistician by training whose research has largely focused on the identification of genetic risk factors for human disease. His applied work has included the study of a broad range of human diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and related risk factors (including the focus on inflammation-related protein biomarkers, obesity and diabetes) and autoimmune diseases (including asthma, psoriasis, lupus and HIV transmission). He played a leading role in the discovery of causal genes for ataxia-telangiectasia (ATM), the Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS1 a.k.a. NBN) and prostate cancer (HOXB13). His recent research has focused largely on identifying genetic and genomic risk factors for cardiovascular disease related traits in understudied minority populations, especially African Americans. His methodological research is largely focused on improving efficiency of genetic study designs.
Leslie Lange, PhD
Dr. Leslie Lange is a Professor in the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine (CCPM), the Division of Biomedical Informatics in the School of Medicine, and the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health. She is a genetic epidemiologist who works in large, multi-cohort genetic consortia (i.e. human studies), and focuses on the genetics and ‘omics of complex traits related to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and pulmonary disease, particularly in minority populations. She is the co-chair of the Genetics committees for both the Jackson Heart Study (JHS), a longitudinal cohort of African Americans in Jackson, MS, and the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study, a longitudinal cohort of whites and blacks from the “Stroke Belt”. Leslie’s work has included leading efforts to identify genetic variants for a range of inflammatory-related biomarkers, including c-reactive protein, CD14, CD163, and other cytokines in large, multi-ethnic cohort studies. She also works with genetic and ‘omic studies of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as well as type 1 diabetes. Finally, Leslie is also working with the MESAOmics data set, which includes whole genome sequence, methylation, expression, metabolomic, and proteomic data on a multi-ethnic sample of ~1000 individuals.
Ronald Gill, PhD
Dr. Gill is the Scientific Director of the Colorado Center for Transplantation Care, Research and Education (CCTCARE) and a Professor in the Department of Surgery. Ron’s lab has a long-standing interest in both the autoimmune pathogenesis in Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) as well as immunity and tolerance to cellular and solid organ transplants. Relevant to the HI3 program, Ron’s lab is very interested in continuing the development and pre-clinical testing of therapeutics that promote immune tolerance in both T1D and in transplantation. Moreover, they are also interested in developing assays for the human immune response to transplants in collaboration with the Transplant Division within the Department of Surgery.
Christene Huang, PhD
Dr. Huang is a Professor of Surgery with a dual appointments within the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and the Division of Transplant Surgery. The Huang laboratory studies transplantation immunology with a particular focus on developing clinically relevant protocols for the establishment of transplantation tolerance. Dr. Huang’s research involves using basic immunologic approaches to develop clinically relevant strategies for regulating inflammation, overcoming transplant rejection and improving tumor immunotherapy. Current research projects involve 1) Induction of stable vascularized composite allograft tolerance using a low-toxicity, transient chimerism approach; 2) Investigating novel approaches to block inflammation and prevent ischemia reperfusion injury; and 3) Studying mechanisms of B-cell tolerance to transplantation antigens.
Martin McCarter, MD
Dr. McCarter is a Professor of Surgery specializing in GI Tumor/Endocrinology. Martin’s laboratory is focused on identifying mechanisms of cancer induced immune suppression and identifying ways to interrupt the process. Current projects focus on myeloid derived suppressor cells in melanoma patients; defining, analyzing and targeting these cells to enhance immune-therapeutic interventions. The laboratory is involved in translational science based human clinical trials. In addition, the lab maintains a biobank of human spleen cells and collaborates widely with a variety of investigators utilizing human intestinal tissues.
Vikas Patel, MD
Dr. Patel is a Professor of Orthopedics and serves as the Chief of Orthopedic Spine Surgery at the University of Colorado. Vikas is involved in several clinical trials aimed at reducing infection risk after spine surgery. The CLOVER trial is a phase 3, randomized, observer-blinded placebo-controlled study sponsored by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals that evaluates an investigational vaccine that may help to prevent Clostridium difficile infection. The study will assess whether the vaccine prevents the disease, and whether it is safe and well tolerated. Each subject will receive 3 doses of Clostridium difficile vaccine or placebo and be followed for up to 3 years after vaccination for potential Clostridium difficile infection. The STRIVE study is a phase 2, randomized, double-blinded placebo-controlled study sponsored by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals which evaluates whether the SA4Ag vaccine can safely prevent postoperative Staphylococcus aureus infections in patients who are undergoing elective spinal fusion surgery. Each subject will receive one dose of the SA4AG vaccine at least 10 days prior to surgery, and be followed for six months post-vaccination to assess for infection or adverse events.
Richard Schulick, MD, MBA
Dr. Schulick is a Professor and Chair of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Zhirui Wang, PhD
Dr. Wang is an Associate Professor of Surgery with dual appointments within the Division of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery and the Division of Transplant Surgery. Dr. Wang’s main interest and expertise is using a unique diphtheria toxin-resistant yeast Pichia Pastoris expression system as a platform to develop diphtheria toxin-based recombinant immunotoxins/fusion toxins for specific depletion of targeted cell populations in vivo. Dr. Wang’s lab has successfully developed 9 diphtheria toxin based recombinant immunotoxins including anti-human CCR4 immunotoxin for targeting CCR4+ tumors and Tregs; Ontak®-like IL-2 fusion toxins (human, porcine and murine versions) for depleting IL-2R+ cells including CD25+ Tregs; 3) anti-porcine CD3 immunotoxin for depleting porcine CD3+ T-cells. Some of them have the potential to have pharmaceutical applications in humans and some are useful research reagents in large animal models for treatment of cancers and autoimmune diseases as well as transplantation tolerance induction. Current research projects involve 1) develop a rapid hematopoietic stem cell mobilization protocol using Groβ + AMD3100 in swine model; 2) develop an improved recipient conditioning protocol using CD45 immunotoxin in swine model without radiation procedure and without GVHD side effect; 3) IL2-CCR4 bispecific immunotoxin for targeting CCR4+CD25+ tumors and Tregs; 3) Improved human EGF fusion toxin for targeting EGFR+ tumors.
Yuwen Zhu, PhD
Dr. Zhu is an Assistant Professor of Surgery, and his research interest is to dissect the molecular hardwires through which tumor cells communicate with immune cells, particularly T lymphocytes. Yuwen’s current research focus is to identify and characterize novel immune checkpoints that shape the tumor microenvironment. The ultimate goal is to translate laboratory findings into the development of new therapeutic options for cancer.