Jordan Abbott, MD
Dr. Abbott is Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the section of Allergy and Immunology. The Abbott Lab investigates the mechanisms of rare syndromes of human immune dysfunction. This category of diseases includes primary immunodeficiency and primary immune dysregulation disorders that effect both adaptive and innate branches of the immune system. The lab uses a variety of molecular-genetic and biochemical techniques to define these mechanisms of immune dysfunction in order to improve treatment approaches and to advance knowledge of how the human immune system works in general.
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.
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.
Elena Hsieh, MD
Dr. Hsieh is an Assistant Professor of Immunology and Microbiology and Pediatrics. The goal of the research in Elena’s laboratory is to elucidate cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying immune derangements in the pathogenesis of pediatric autoimmune, inflammatory and immunodeficient disorders, which would provide the foundation for novel disease biomarkers to prognosticate disease activity, and select therapeutic interventions.
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.
John Cambier, PhD
Dr. Cambier is a Distinguished Professor & Chairman for the Department of Immunology & Microbiology and the Director of the Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative (HI3). The Cambier lab is currently focused on four specific problems related to tolerance and autoimmunity: 1) the basis of antigen unresponsiveness of anergic B cells, and mechanisms underlying loss of anergy leading to autoimmunities such as Lupus, Type 1 Diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis, 2) the role of autoantigen avidity and affinity in determining alternate molecular bases of anergy, 3) the mechanism of signal regulation by feedback mechanisms and inhibitory receptors such as FcγRIIB, 4) the function of STING/MPYS, a recently described innate signaling adaptor cloned in the Cambier laboratory.
Initial studies involving isolation and functional analysis of autoantigen-specific B cells from healthy and autoimmune mice and humans have focused on the status of insulin-specific B cells Type 1 Diabetes, and indicate that in both mice and humans anergy to this autoantigen is lost long before onset of disease, but regained in humans within one year of diagnosis. These studies suggest an important role for environmental factors such as infection and injury in predisposing individuals to autoimmunity. Future work in this area will expand studies to other autoimmunities, and define signaling mechanisms that maintain anergy, and fail during development of autoimmunity. Parallel studies seek to understand whether and how environment factors such as infection and injury defeat tolerance mechanisms.
Sean Colgan, PhD
Dr. Colgan is a Professor of Medicine and Immunology, the Director of the Mucosal Inflammation Program, and the Chief of the GI and Liver Innate Immune Programs at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Sean’s laboratory is interested in defining novel innate immune factors that promote inflammatory resolution, with a specific focus on the gastrointestinal tract. Their work has integrated the role of the tissue microenvironment in host-microbe interactions, shifts in tissue metabolism and the oxygen utilization as endpoints for analysis. These studies employ molecular, cellular and translational models to define these principles.
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.
Howard Davidson, PhD
Dr. Davidson is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Immunology and Microbiology at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes. Howard’s laboratory focuses on the role of adaptive immunity in type 1 diabetes (T1D). The current emphasis is focused on understanding the role of autoimmunity to the beta cell protein ZnT8 in T1D pathogenesis, and developing/validating T cell based biomarkers for improved patient stratification and monitoring of therapeutic efficacy.
Breck Duerkop, PhD
Dr. Duerkop is an Assistant Professor of Immunology and Microbiology. Breck’s lab uses a combination of bacterial genetics, mouse models and bioinformatics to study the interactions of intestinal bacteria and their viruses known as bacteriophages (phages). His lab studies how phages influence the intestinal colonization and biology of the Enterococci, Gram-positive commensal bacteria and significant nosocomial pathogens. His work has revealed that phages impact the dynamics of Enterococcal colonization in the mammalian intestine and has explored the molecular mechanisms of how Enterococci develop resistance to phages. His lab also studies how phage community composition alters intestinal bacterial ecology during intestinal inflammatory disorders such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. The long-term goal of the Duerkop lab is to understand how phages contribute to host-microbe interactions and their overall impact on human health.
Andrew Getahun, PhD
Dr. Getahun is a Research Assistant Professor in the laboratory of Dr. John Cambier. Andy’s research is focused on B cell unresponsiveness as a mechanism of immune tolerance and as a consequence of infections. Besides studying the molecular and cellular mechanisms that maintain B cell tolerance in healthy individuals, he has a special interest in the interplay between genetic risk factors and environmental factors on these mechanisms, that drive a loss of tolerance and autoimmunity.
John Kappler, PhD
Dr. Kappler is a Distinguished Professor of Immunology and Microbiology. For the past 10+ years the Kappler laboratory at National Jewish Health has been in an extended collaboration with members of the Basic and Translational Research Division at the Barbara Davis Center (BDC) trying to understand the molecular basis CD4+ T cell recognition of pancreatic islet protein epitopes in type 1 diabetes (T1D). The research collaboration with the Basic and Translational Research Division at the BDC has been very productive, especially in studies on insulin as a primary target from CD4+ T cells in T1D in mouse and man and on chromogranin A (ChgA), another pancreatic protein targeted in T1D in the mouse and perhaps in humans. Our research has shown that the natural peptides derived from these proteins, are targeted by diabetogenic CD4+ T cells in the NOD mouse model of the disease, but are in fact very weak antigens. We have shown that a few particular amino acids can be added to one end of the insulin peptide or to the other end of the ChgA peptide to increase their potency more than 1000-fold. Working with the laboratory of Dr. Shaodong Dai at National Jewish Health, we were able to use X-ray crystallography to determine the molecular basis for how these additions accomplish this dramatic increase in immunogenicity. Subsequently, for insulin, experiments by Drs. Nakayama, Gottlieb, Michels, Sosinowski and Davidson, some in collaboration with researchers at the Benaroya Center in Seattle have shown a similar mutational improvement in recognition of the insulin peptide by CD4+ T cells from human patients with type-1 diabetes.
These findings have led us hypothesize that these types of modifications may naturally occur uniquely in the pancreas by a process called transpeptidation accounting for the initiation of T1D in both mouse and man. Since such a modification creates a “neo-antigen” never seen by the immune system before, the immune system may mistake the peptide for a “foreign” antigen and mount a response. Testing this hypothesis is a major goal of our present research.
Ross Kedl, PhD
Dr. Kedl is a Professor in the Department of Immunology & Microbiology. Ross’ lab is interested in the curious boundary between the innate and adaptive immune systems and seeks to elucidate signals and pathways emanating from the various families of innate receptors most efficiently mediate the transition to the adaptive cellular immune response. The Kedl lab seeks to determine not only the basic rules of immunity, many of which remain elusive, but also to identify practical methods of intervention for the purposes of vaccine discovery, development and design. Experimentally a number of ways in which the innate pathways intersect with the TNF receptor/Ligand superfamily have been demonstrated, resulting in potent T cell expansion, effector function, and memory generation. These discoveries and novel vaccination methods are being applied to both viral and tumor model systems in an effort to develop clinically relevant methods of therapeutic vaccination against diseases such as chronic infections and cancer.
Laurel Lenz, PhD
Dr. Lenz is a Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology. His research focuses on dissecting endogenous and pathogen-derived mechanisms for regulation of inflammatory and immune responses. His translational work includes the identification, development, and optimization of polypeptides and small molecules that can be used to regulate the activities of myeloid and natural killer immune cells. His group is actively engaged in dissecting the mechanisms of action for these factors and their potential for therapeutic use in cancers, infections, and inflammatory diseases.
Paul J. Norman, PhD
Dr. Norman is an Associate Professor in the Division of Biomedical Informatics and Personalized Medicine, and the Department of Immunology and Microbiology. Paul studies immunogenetics, which is the genetic variation that underpins our differential responses to infection and autoimmunity. His research focuses on the HLA molecules that are expressed by most healthy cells, and the Natural Killer (NK) cell receptors that interact with HLA to control the human immune response. This work has taken Dr. Norman from studying organ and tissue transplants, to examining genetic diversity in hunter-gatherers from Africa and South America, and mining ancient human genomes to trace their immune legacy in present-day populations. His aim is to establish genetic evidence through population and molecular analysis that then informs functional experiments to determine precisely how this variation can influence immunity. The ultimate aim of the work is to develop targeted NK cell therapies for cancer and chronic infections.
Roberta Pelanda, PhD
Dr. Pelanda is a Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology and the Director of the Translational Research Networking and Preclinical Models (TRNPM) facility in the Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative (HI3). Roberta’s interests in human immunology are in improving our understanding of the origin and characteristics of autoantibody-producing human B cells with the goal of developing novel immunotherapies for lupus and similar autoimmune diseases. Roberta’s lab and the core she directs develop mice bearing a human immune system (hematopoietic humanized mice). These animals are utilized to investigate the function of the human immune system in pathological contexts (e.g., the immune response to cancer) and to develop and test novel immunotherapies.
Rosemary Rochford, PhD
Dr. Rochford is Professor in Immunology and Microbiology at the Anschutz Medical Campus. Rosemary’s laboratory does research on two human pathogens, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Plasmodium falciparum as well as studies on their etiologic link to Burkitt's lymphoma (BL), the most common childhood cancer in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has completed 2 longitudinal birth cohorts in Kenya to address the question of why P. falciparum malaria infection of infants is linked to BL. Her studies have uncovered a number of ways that repeated infection with P. falciparum malaria, a feature in areas where malaria transmission is holoendemic, dysregulates EBV infection and immunity, ultimately increases the risk for BL in children. Current research is now focusing on how Plasmodium infection dysregulates B cell function and activates the enzyme Activation Induced cytidine Deaminase (AID). She has also found that a second strain of EBV that is common in Africa can infect T cells. Her laboratory is working to understand how this virus gains entry to T cells and the potential role this has in the pathogenesis of EBV-associated malignancies. A second major area of study in her laboratory is the use of a pre-clinical humanized mouse model to test for hemolytic toxicity of anti-malaria drugs in the context of glucose phosphate 6 dehyrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, the most common hemoglobinopathy in the world. Primaquine is the only licensed drug to treat the liver stage of malaria and it could be a potential tool for malaria eradication efforts. However, people with G6PDd are at risk for developing hemolytic anemia if treated with primaquine necessitating the development and testing of new variants of primaquine that do not cause hemolytic anemia. She is developing this model to further study Plasmodium infection in G6PDd hosts.
Jill Slansky, PhD
Dr. Slansky is a Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology and the Director of the Human Immune Monitoring Shared Resource (HIMSR) core facility in HI3. Jill’s research interests globally focus on how to better harness and stimulate T cells of the immune system to mediate a more effective anti-tumor response. Currently, Jill’s lab is using an animal model for colon cancer and tissue samples from breast cancer patients to characterize T cell responses that are specific to tumors. In the animal model, they recently used genome-wide expression analyses to generate a molecular profile of tumor-specific tumor-infiltrating T cells. Interestingly, this study showed that the T cells from the tumor more closely resembled “self-tolerant” T cells than “exhausted” T cells. Using human samples they recently identified a panel of T cell receptors that were shared among different breast cancer patients, but not control donors. The identification of cognate antigens and mimotopes for these T cells is underway using soluble versions of the T cell receptors to screen peptide-antigen libraries and breast cancer cell lines.
Dr. Smith is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Immunology and Microbiology at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes. Mia’s lab focuses on the role of B lymphocytes in development of autoimmunity, with a particular emphasis on type 1 diabetes. Her work uses a combination of methodologies, including mass cytometry (CyTOF) and single cell RNA-sequencing, to study antigen-specific B cells prior to and at onset of autoimmunity. She has a special interest in the mechanisms that drive loss of B cell tolerance, such as genetic risk alleles and environmental factors.
Tomasz Sosinowski, PhD
Dr. Sosinowski is an Instructor in the Davidson laboratory within the Barbara Davis Center. Tomasz’s main focus is the development of reagents and assays for studying human antigen-specific T cells. Since 2013 Tomasz has been working on developing an assay for the detection of auto-antigen specific CD4+ T cells in Type 1 Diabetic subjects. He has found that this particular assay is an improvement over the traditional ELISPOT for testing viral responses and autoreactivity, and is confident that it can be expanded to other systems, including other autoimmune diseases and potentially cancer.
Raul Torres, PhD
Dr. Torres is a Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology and the Director of the Graduate Program in Immunology. Raul’s research interests have historically focused on fundamental aspects of B cell development and antibody response, primarily relying on wild type and genetically-engineered mouse models. Through the course of these studies, Raul and his lab have identified new mechanisms that 1) regulate B cell humoral immunity to HIV and 2) tumors exploit to suppress CD8 T cell tumor immunity. Raul’s interests in human immunology and immunotherapy, and the Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative, are to establish collaborations that will allow proof-of-principal pre-clinical and, eventually, clinical studies that improve antibody responses to HIV and tumor immunity.
Linda van Dyk, PhD
Dr. van Dyk is Vice Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology. Research in the van Dyk lab focuses on molecular interactions between virus and host, focused on a group of viruses that results in lifelong latent infection and causes a variety of tumors in conditions of immune suppression. Using a mouse model, the van Dyk team has learned that a virus encoded cyclin is required for reactivation of latent virus, a critical point in tumorigenesis and in potential antiviral therapeutics. This viral cyclin antagonizes a host tumor suppressor, p18Ink4c or cdkn2c, which is important in control of latent virus infection and in a variety of sporadic tumors. The van Dyk lab also studies small non-coding RNAs of viral origin in regulating both virus and host in inflammatory disease and tumorigenesis. Our interests in the human immunology and immunotherapy initiative are two-fold: first, to use our mouse model to test the effects of immunotherapy on control of chronic ongoing virus infections and second, to further our understanding of cyclin/tumor suppressor interactions and small non-coding RNA effects in human tumors associated with Epstein Barr virus and Kaposi’s sarcoma associated virus.
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.
James Dylewski, DO
Dr. Dylewski an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension and Director of Education within the Glomerulonephritis program. James' laboratory work focuses on immune mediated kidney disease and specifically how glomerular endothelial cells are involved in autoimmunity and inflammation to help develop targeted therapeutic agents for treatment. James has developed a novel conditionally immortalized glomerular endothelial cell line which is used in his research and has been used by collaborators from other research institutions. Dr. Dylewski cares for inflammatory kidney disease patients at Denver Health and works with the Glomerulonephritis Clinic at the University of Colorado in clinical trials of new therapies for treatment of glomerulonephritis.
Joshua M. Thurman, MD
Dr. Thurman is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, and he is the Director of the Glomerulonephritis Program. His laboratory focuses on the immune basis kidney disease. The lab studies the underlying causes of auto-immunity and inflammation, and has developed several novel anti-inflammatory therapeutic agents. Projects are also underway that explore the link between inflammation and cancer. Dr. Thurman’s laboratory has also developed novel radiologic probes to detect and monitor renal inflammation by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). Dr. Thurman oversees the Glomerulonephritis Clinic at the University of Colorado Hospital. The Glomerulonephritis Clinic cares for patients with all forms of inflammatory kidney disease, and also participates in clinical trials of new therapies and diagnostic tools for treating these diseases.
Jeffrey Bennett, MD, PhD
Dr. Bennett is a Professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology and an active member of the Department of Neuroscience on the Anschutz Campus. The Bennett laboratory performs research in the areas of human neuro-immunology; particularly focused on demyelinating disorders of the central nervous system including multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica. The lab has generated banks of recombinant antibodies cloned from patients with these disorders and have developed animal models to study disease and recovery. Active research grants from the NIH, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the Guthy-Jackson Foundation (NMO Research Foundation) fund studies on immunologic profiles in disease, to develop novel approaches to diagnosis, and to develop new therapeutics.
Brianne Bettcher, PhD
Dr. Bettcher is an Assistant Professor and neuropsychologist in the Departments of Neurosurgery and Neurology, and directs neuropsychology research at the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Disease Center. The overarching goal of Dr. Bettcher’s research program is to elucidate modifiable, immune-mediated factors that will inform early treatments for cognitive decline for a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases. Brianne’s laboratory utilizes plasma-based and CSF-based multiplex arrays of chemokines, growth factors, and cytokines to delineate how peripheral immune signatures contribute to pathological aging trajectories.
John Corboy, MD
Dr. Corboy is a Professor of Neurology, the Co-Director for the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center at the University of Colorado, and the Director of the Rocky Mountain MS Center Tissue Bank. John’s interests are in the diagnosis and treatment of central nervous system (CNS) neuroimmunological conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO), N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antibody encephalitis, and a host of paraneoplastic and related conditions.
Ryan Kammeyer, MD
Dr. Kammeyer is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Neurology. Ryan’s primary research interests include the identification of biomarkers that improve the diagnosis of autoimmune encephalitis and inflammatory neurologic involvement of rheumatologic disease, as well as investigation of immunologic markers in regression in Down Syndrome and in severe neuropsychiatric disease. Ryan is developing multidisciplinary Neuro-Rheumatology and Neuropsychiatric Disease Clinics at Children’s Hospital Colorado, and works clinically both there and at the University of Colorado Hospital.
Gregory P. Owens, PhD
Dr. Owens is a Research Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. Owens’ research investigates the role of B cell immunity in the human demyelinating diseases multiple sclerosis (MS) and neuromyelitis optica (NMO). To better understand the role of intrathecal IgG synthesis in disease pathology, the lab has cloned panels of monoclonal recombinant antibodies from clonally expanded plasmablasts present within the CNS of MS and NMO patients. The targets of recombinant antibodies are being defined and animal models have been developed to investigate antibody-mediated CNS pathology and repair.
Amanda Piquet, MD
Dr. Piquet is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology and sub-specializes in autoimmune neurological diseases. Amanda’s main clinical and research interest includes antibody-mediated disorders of the nervous system such as various autoimmune encephalitides (anti-N-methyl D-aspartate or NMDA receptor encephalitis, anti-leucine rich inactivated-1 or LGI-1 encephalitis, among others), neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD), anti-myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) antibody-associated disease, stiff-person syndrome and other related paraneoplastic disorders. Dr. Piquet is developing the clinical autoimmune neurology clinics at the University of Colorado as well as establishing a patient registry to study and improve diagnostic and treatment outcomes for patients with autoimmune neurological diseases.
Ken Tyler, MD
Dr. Tyler is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology. Ken’s laboratory uses both in vivo and in vitro models to study the molecular and genetic basis of viral pathogenesis and viral-induced cell death in the CNS. Major current projects include: (1) Identifying differences in patterns of gene expression in the brain and the cognate signaling pathways induced by distinct neurotropic viruses, including reoviruses and flaviviruses (West Nile and Japanese encephalitis virus), in an effort to identify novel therapeutic targets for antiviral therapy; (2) Investigating the neuroinflammatory responses to CNS viral infections, including the activation of astrocytes, microglia and chemokine/cytokine production in experimental models utilizing mice and ex vivo brain and spinal cord slice cultures; and (3) Studying the mechanism of virus-induced CNS apoptosis, including mitochondrial and cell-death mediated pathways, and the impact of modulating these pathways on CNS injury and neuronal death.
Tim Vollmer, MD
Dr. Vollmer is a Professor in the Department of Neurology and Vice Chair of clinical research. Dr. Vollmer is Medical Director of the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center, and Co-Director of the RMMSC at Anschutz, which provides a multidisciplinary approach to treatment of this disease. Dr. Vollmer sub-specializes in multiple sclerosis and has a special interest in immunotherapies for MS. He also collaborates with several basic science laboratories on mechanism of action of newer MS therapies, and is working in collaboration to develop a vaccine approach to MS that involves inducing regulatory B lymphocytes that target CNS antigens. To date, Dr. Vollmer has completed over 100 clinical studies in MS. He is active in the local, regional and international communities conducting research in MS.
David H. Wagner, Jr. PhD
Dr. Wagner is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine and Neurology and the Head of the Immunology Section at the Webb-Waring Center. David’s research involves human Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) and human Multiple Sclerosis (MS) studies. His lab identified one of the pathogenic effector T cell subsets in both diseases, Th40 cells. The Wagner lab is interested in better defining biomarkers, from the T cell perspective in both T1D and MS, and how Th40 cells drive and perpetuate autoimmune inflammation. David is also developing a small peptide that targets CD40 mediated autoimmune inflammation.
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.
Adam Berlinberg, MD
Dr. Berlinberg is a clinical and research fellow in the Division of Rheumatology. His research focuses on the concept of the regulation of innate lymphoid cells in the gut by the metabolic byproducts of the microbiome in ankylosing spondylitis. This work in understanding the mechanisms of this relevant cell type in spondyloarthritis will ideally help in understanding the pathogenesis of this disease with relation to the microbiome and trafficking of immune cells to affected regions such as the synovium and bone marrow. The ultimate goal is to move this research agenda into the peripheral manifestations of spondyloarthritis by focusing on psoriatic arthritis.
Susan Boackle, MD
Dr. Susan Boackle is Associate Professor of Medicine and Immunology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Susan’s clinical and research interests focus on systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that is marked by episodes of increased disease activity called flares, during which antibodies to double stranded (ds) DNA go up, complement levels go down, and inflammation occurs in the body, causing cumulative damage to vital organs over time. The Boackle laboratory has found that a specific change in the sequence of a complement receptor gene expressed in B cells reduces the chances that a person will get lupus. Interestingly, this change specifically appears to protect them from making antibodies to dsDNA. The goal of Dr. Boackle’s research is to develop a new treatment for lupus that mimics the effects of this sequence change. If this treatment is effective, it will stop the production of anti-dsDNA antibodies. As a result, it will decrease the likelihood that a person with lupus will have another flare of their lupus and reduce the chances that a person who is at risk for lupus will develop the disease. It also holds promise for other autoimmune diseases in which B cells play a role in disease pathogenesis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes mellitus.
Liron Caplan, MD, PhD
Dr. Caplan is the section chief for rheumatology at the Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center (DVAMC). Liron engages in clinically-oriented epidemiologic and health service research within the fields of pharmacoepidemiology and auto-immunity/rheumatology. Areas of interest include retrospective analysis of databases to understand long-term medication adverse drug reactions, interventions to optimize medication use, as well as construction and maintenance of patient registries. Dr. Caplan is Director of the Spondyloarthritis program at the University of Colorado and DVAMC, and has worked with the Program to Understand the Longterm Outcomes in SpondyloARthritis (PULSAR) registry, Veterans Affairs Rheumatoid Arthritis registry, and National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases, among others.
Kevin D. Deane, MD, PhD
Dr. Deane is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology/Department of Medicine. His research focused on the natural history of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and in particular on the ‘preclinical’ period of RA that is characterized by circulating autoantibodies and other markers of immunologic dysfunction that precede the onset of arthritis. More specifically, Kevin’s major translational research efforts are to understand how RA-related autoimmunity may initially be generated at a mucosal site. He has expertise in collection and analyses of biospecimens including saliva, gingival samples, sputum, stool and cervico-vaginal fluid for inflammation, RA-related autoantibodies and microbial factors. In addition, Dr. Deane is the PI on a multi-site NIH-funded clinical trial for the prevention of RA. This trial is entitled ‘StopRA’ (www.stop-ra.org), and entails identifying individuals with serum elevations of RA-related autoantibodies that indicate high risk for onset of arthritis within several years, and treating these individuals with an immunomodulatory therapy (or placebo) to determine if progression to clinically-apparent RA can be halted.
Kristen Demourelle, MD, PhD
Dr. Demoruelle is an Associate Professor in the Division of Rheumatology. Her research focuses on understanding mucosal site involvement in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), with a particular focus on the lung and female genital tract. She studies autoantibody generation and immune dysregulation including aberrant neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation at these mucosal sites to better understand how RA-related autoantibodies originate, how mucosal immune dysregulation contributes to the development of RA-related lung disease and how mucosal sites may contribute to sex differences in the development of RA. Her ultimate research goals are to identify novel mechanism-specific mucosal-based pathways of disease development that can be therapeutically targeted for the prevention of RA and RA-associated lung disease.
Aryeh Fischer, MD
Dr. Aryeh Fischer is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine with a dual appointment in the Divisions of Rheumatology and Pulmonary Sciences as faculty within the Center for Lungs and Breathing. Aryeh’s specific area of clinical and research expertise is within autoimmune associated lung diseases, and autoimmune interstitial lung disease in particular. He has developed clinical expertise with patients referred nationally for evaluation of autoimmune lung disease. Dr. Fischer has served as an invited lecturer on autoimmune and interstitial lung diseases at numerous national and international pulmonary and rheumatology conferences and has published extensively within this domain. He currently serves on the steering committee of four international clinical trials investigating novel therapeutics for autoimmune interstitial lung disease and pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Ashley Frazer-Abel, PhD, D(ABMLI)
Dr. Frazer-Abel is the Director of Exsera BioLabs and member of the Division of Rheumatology. Exsera is a laboratory focused on autoimmunity and complement immunology. Dr. Frazer-Abel and Exsera work with researchers across the Anschutz campus, providing diagnostic testing for both UCH and Children’s Hospital. In addition, Exsera works with Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies working through the FDA drug development process. With the regulatory environment and the experience in assay validation, Exsera is also able to take a research assay and bring it to the validation level necessary to be used for clinical diagnosis; translating research to patient care. Ashley is a recognized expert on complement testing with a special interest in developing novel assays to meet the growing needs presented by the explosion of complement therapeutics.
Robert Fuhlbrigge, MD, PhD
Dr. Fuhlbrigge is a Professor of Pediatrics – Rheumatology and is the Section Head for Pediatric Rheumatology at the Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Isaac Harley, MD
Dr. Harley is a Clinical & Research Fellow in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Isaac is interested in defining the etiology of autoantibody-mediated autoimmune disease and determining whether there are useful applications of genomics for therapeutics, diagnostics or prognostics in rheumatic disease.
Michael Holers, MD
Dr. Michael Holers is Head, Division of Rheumatology at the University of Colorado Denver. The Holers' research group performs both basic and translational research. A longstanding interest has been to decipher the roles of complement receptors and membrane regulatory proteins in the immune response, with a special emphasis on autoimmune diseases. Complement is a complex system of serum proteins which, upon activation, covalently bind targets (bacteria, viruses, immune complexes) and marks them as foreign. The interaction of complement with B cell receptors also results in substantial enhancement of humoral and cellular immunity. In addition to this role, excessive activation of complement is centrally involved in autoimmunity and the tissue damage that occurs in many inflammatory diseases involving organs such as the kidney. The Holers’ laboratory has developed human and mouse models in which to study these complement related biologic processes and to develop novel complement inhibitors. Candidate therapeutics derived from these studies have been advanced to clinical trials in humans.
With regard to translational research, Dr. Holers is a co-founder of SERA (Studies of the Etiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis), which is focused on understanding the early pathogenesis and natural history of RA. In that regard, we now know that autoimmune diseases such as RA begin years before clinical signs and symptoms are apparent, when at-risk individuals manifest highly predictive autoantibodies in their serum. By studying individuals in this period of time, SERA investigators have made novel findings suggesting that RA is initiated through a process linked to mucosal inflammation. This observation also suggests that additional therapeutic and/or prevention strategies could be considered for individuals in this at-risk but asymptomatic period. It is also relevant to determine how individuals transition from this autoantibody-positive, at-risk period to clinically active disease, and several studies are underway that are related to understanding these questions.
Kristi Kuhn, MD, PhD
Dr. Kuhn is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Rheumatology. Kristi’s research focuses upon the general hypothesis that impairment of mucosal immune regulation can lead to systemic autoimmune disease. Current work examines how interactions between commensal bacteria and mucosal immune populations educate the peripheral immune response. The identification of the bacterial, T cell, and B cell properties required to establish a functional immune barrier of the intestine, and understanding the downstream immunologic effects with a focus on the development of rheumatologic disease are currently being determined. Dr. Kuhn’s clinical interest is spondyloarthritis with a special emphasis for those with overlapping inflammatory bowel diseases.
Katharine Moore, MD
Dr. Moore is an Assistant Professor in the section of Pediatric Rheumatology. Her specific research interests are in juvenile systemic sclerosis and in the association between antibody profiles, clinical phenotypes and HLA in juvenile systemic sclerosis. Katie also completed additional graduate training in clinical epidemiology and is interested in outcomes research for pediatric autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases.
Larry Moreland, MD
Dr. Moreland joined the faculty at CU Anschutz in May 2020 where he leads a newly created Interdisciplinary Joint Biology Program with initial funding from the Department of Orthopedics, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology and the School of Medicine. Collaborations between Orthopedics, Radiology, and Rheumatology have led to the establishment of an Interdisciplinary Joint Biology Biorepository of joint tissue (synovium, cartilage, ligaments) and blood samples. A major focus will be to better understanding the molecular heterogeneity of disease pathways of our patient’s with musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases with a goal for precision medicine. In addition to the research activities, Dr Moreland will have a clinical practice for patients with autoimmune and musculoskeletal diseases. He will be involved with mentoring and teaching medical students, residents, and fellows.
Alan Palestine, MD
Dr. Palestine is professor of ophthalmology and has secondary appointment as professor of medicine-rheumatology. He is chief of the section of uveitis and ocular immunology and director of the center for ocular inflammation at the Sue Anschutz-Rogers Eye Center. Dr. Palestine’s clinical and research interests focus on ocular inflammatory disease including uveitis (intraocular inflammation), scleritis and ocular pemphigoid. He has published extensively on opportunistic ocular infections in immunosuppressed patients and the use of immunomodulatory therapy in inflammatory eye disease. More recently, his research has also focused on the role of systemic inflammatory mediators in age-related macular degeneration and on ocular imaging analysis in inflammatory eye disease. He also has a strong interest in immune checkpoint inhibitor-related ocular inflammation and how these drugs cause a wide spectrum of ocular disease. Dr. Palestine is developing a biobank to facilitate research into the genetic and inflammatory processes that drive ocular inflammatory disease to investigate why patients with apparently similar disease diagnoses have markedly different disease outcomes and responses to therapy.
Christopher Striebich, MD, PhD
Dr. Striebich is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Rheumatology and the Director of that division’s Clinical Trials Program. Chris’ interests are in the development and testing of novel immunotherapeutic agents in autoimmune rheumatologic diseases such as systemic lupus erythematous, Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, ANCA associated and other forms of systemic vasculitis, inflammatory myositis, psoriatic arthritis and other forms of spondyloarthritis
Dr. Zhang is an Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator at the Department of Medicine Division of Rheumatology and the Center for Health AI (Artificial intelligence). As a Computational Biologist, Dr. Zhang’s Computational Omics and Systems Immunology (COSI) laboratory https://fanzhanglab.org/ focuses on developing and using statistical machine learning methods, cutting-edge single-cell multi-omics, and systems immunology approaches to study inflammatory and immune-mediated disease pathogenesis. Fan is also an Investigator involved in the NIH funded Accelerating Medicines Partnership Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (AMP RA/SLE) Consortium. Through collaborative work with rheumatologists and immunologists in the AMP, she has been leading the computational work of large-scale single-cell multi-omics data integration including single-cell RNA-seq, single-cell proteomics, single-cell CITE-seq, and CyTOF data from diseased samples from patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. She has developed independent research programs including: 1. Develop and use statistical and computational methods to study patient heterogeneity for translational research, 2. Decipher pathogenic myeloid cell phenotypes and molecular mechanisms for inflammatory diseases using single-cell multi-omics integration, and 3. Integrate cross-disease tissue-blood single-cell datasets to identify shared/unique phenotypes which provide new insights into disease etiology and drug repurposing.
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.