Dr. Tversky was appointed Clinical Director of the Allergy Division at the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in 2014 where he sees patients and conducts NIH funded research into mechanisms of allergen immunotherapy and novel treatment modalities for allergic disease. His translational research centers on the human dendritic cell and its role in regulating innate and adaptive immune responses.
Indeed, knowledge about the mechanisms of allergen immunotherapy and its relationship to the dendritic cell remains incomplete. Collaborator and former mentor John Schroeder first demonstrated that dendritic cell Toll Like Receptor (TLR) mediated immune function is impaired in allergic individuals and that this impairment is counter-regulated by allergic IgE receptor signals. Intrigued by these findings, Dr. Tversky began to work with Schroeder’s group to demonstrate that this impaired TLR mediated immune function could be reversed using allergen immunotherapy. However, the mechanism by which this occurs is not known.
Our goal now is to expand our understanding of allergic disease mechanisms and learn ways to manipulate the dendritic cell innate and adaptive immune axis so that novel therapeutics can be constructed. Our work has direct implications for designing safer and more effective allergen immunotherapy used for allergic rhinitis, asthma and food allergy, as well as more effective vaccines to prevent viral infections. Indeed, one of our aims is to investigate the innate and adaptive immune interactions and response to inoculation in an effort to gain further knowledge required to improve vaccine efficacy.
We believe that TLR signaling research must be studied in tandem with investigation into allergen mediated inflammatory responses. Our hypothesis is that these interactions work in concert to dictate the phenotypic immune expression of food allergy and asthma. In fact, skewing of the immune response towards Th1, Th2 or Th17 is what we now understand to underlie a large range of immune mediated disorders and fits well with the hygiene hypothesis. Poised to interpret environmental signals and direct Th cell polarization is the human dendritic cell.
In addition to this work, Dr. Tversky conducts clinical research in collaboration with the Immune Tolerance Network (ITN) using novel immunotherapy adjuvants. Dr. Tversky has also spearheaded an investigator initiated program along with Professor Donald McGlashan to develop automated and more reliable tools for performing allergy skin testing and measuring urticarial disease manifestations using novel image processing algorithms.