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Allergy and Clinical Immunology Labs

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  • Marian Kollarik Lab

    Research in the Marian Kollarik Lab focuses on specific phenotype of visceral sensory nerves, termed nociceptive, that detect stimuli associated with impeding or actual tissue damage. Nociceptors trigger defensive reflexes and/or sensations of discomfort and pain. For example, nociceptors initiate cough, sneezing, nasal itching, bronchoconstriction and mucus hypersecretion in the respiratory system, and pain and hypersecretion in the gastrointestinal system. An increase in nociceptive activity contributes significantly to the pathogenesis of respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases and their symptoms. Importantly, inflammation profoundly alters properties of nociceptive nerves per se, leading in general to exaggerated nociceptive responsiveness. Our research centers on this aspect of visceral nociception in allergic and non-allergic inflammation. We carry out electrophysiological and anatomical studies in isolated tissues and reflex studies in animal models.

    Research Areas: gastrointestinal system, respiratory system, immunology, allergies, nociceptors, inflammation, pain, nervous system

    Principal Investigator

    Marian Kollarik

    Department

    Medicine

  • Peisong Gao Lab

    The Peisong Gao Lab’s major focus is to understand the immunological and genetic regulation of allergic diseases. We have been involved in the identification of the genetic basis for atopic dermatitis and eczema herpeticum (ADEH) as part of the NIH Atopic Dermatitis and Vaccinia Network-Clinical Studies Consortium. Major projects in the Gao Lab include immunogenetic analysis of human response to allergen, identification of candidate genes for specific immune responsiveness to cockroach allergen, and epigenetics of food allergy (FA).

    Research Areas: food allergies, eczema herpeticum, epigenetics, allergies, genomics, atopic dermatitis

    Principal Investigator

    Peisong Gao, M.D., Ph.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Rasika Mathias Lab

    Research in the Rasika Mathias Lab focuses on the genetics of asthma in people of African ancestry. Our work led to the first genomewide association study of its kind in 2009. Currently, we are analyzing the whole-genome sequence of more than 1,000 people of African ancestry from the Consortium on Asthma among African-ancestry Populations in the Americas (CAAPA). CAAPA’s goal is to use whole-genome sequencing to expand our understanding of how genetic variants affect asthma risk in populations of African ancestry and to provide a public catalog of genetic variation for the scientific community. We’re also involved in the study of coronary artery disease though the GeneSTAR Program, which aims to identify mechanisms of atherogenic vascular diseases and attendant comorbidities.

    Research Areas: heart disease, African Americans, asthma, genomics, health disparities

    Principal Investigator

    Rasika Mathias, Sc.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Sarbjit Saini Lab

    The research in the Sarbjit Saini Laboratory focuses on IgE receptor biology and IgE receptor-mediated activation of blood basophils and mast cells. We have examined the role of IgE receptor expression and activation in allergic airways disease, anaphylaxis and chronic urticaria. Our research has been supported by the NIH, American Lung Association and the AAAAI. Our current research interests have focused mechanisms of diease in allergic asthma, allergic rhinitis and also translational studies in chronic idiopathic urticaria.

    Research Areas: anaphylaxis, airway diseases, cell biology, asthma, allergies, chronic idiopathic urticaria

    Principal Investigator

    Sarbjit Saini, M.D.

    Department

    Medicine

  • Susan MacDonald Laboratory

    Studies in the Susan M. MacDonald Laboratory led to the cloning of a novel cytokine, termed histamine releasing factor (HRF), which was shown to cause histamine release from a subset of allergic donors' basophils. After deciphering the signal transduction events associated with HRF-induced basophil histamine release, our laboratory made the first inducible-transgenic mouse model of HRF using the Tet-On system. When HRF was induced in this model, there was an enhanced asthmatic, allergic phenotype after an ovalbumin challenge.

    Research Areas: allergies, basophils, histamine release factor

    Principal Investigator

    Susan MacDonald

    Department

    Medicine

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