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Barbara Detrick, Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Barbara Detrick, Ph.D.

Director, Cytokine Laboratory

Professor of Pathology

Research Interests: Cytokine biology in immune-based disorders; Immunoregulation in the retina and ocular diseases; Clinical immunology


Dr. Barbara Detrick is a Professor of Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Professor at the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Detrick serves as the director of the Cytokine Laboratory.

Dr. Detrick’s research focuses on clinical immunology, with a primary interest on immune responses in the eye. Her research on the eye has identified key immune responses in retinal degenerative diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and autoimmune retinopathy. She also discovered and characterized a critical ocular protein, RPE65,  that is now the basis of gene therapy for retinal diseases. She is currently investigating immune and viral factors associated with pathogenic processes within the eye.

She has received numerous awards and was recently recognized with the 2013 Veritas Distinguished Alumni Award from Caldwell University, New Jersey. She is a member of the Leadership Program for Women Faculty at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and she is Editor-in-Chief of the 7 th and now the 8 th edition of the internationally recognized manual, The Manual of Molecular and Clinical Laboratory Immunology. more


  • Director, Cytokine Laboratory
  • Professor of Pathology
  • Professor of Medicine

Departments / Divisions

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Detrick's research interests bridge basic research and translational research related to clinical immunology. Her primary research goal is to study immune responses in the eye.

More specifically, her group has explored the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cell extensively as an important immunoregulatory and multifunctional ocular cell and tracked its role in ocular diseases. Over the last several years, they have investigated innate immunity in the retina. RPE cells are key players in the first-line defense against invading organisms. TLRs are critical recognition receptors in the host defense against microbial pathogens and play a pivotal role in innate immunity. Using real-time PCR analysis, a variety of TLRs were discovered and shown to be up-regulated in human RPE cells. Moreover, TLR signaling in these cells generates several critical cytokines that impact a variety of pathologic processes within the eye. A key feature generated from these findings was that IFN-beta was shown to be immunosuppressive, and inhibited selected experimental retinal diseases by down-regulating CXCL9 and ICAM-1 on retinal endothelial cells. These studies have now been extended to brain endothelial cells in experimental cerebral malaria.


Dr. Detrick's laboratory has developed a unique murine coronavirus model system, which identified for the first time how a virus can trigger a retinal degenerative process associated with an autoimmune component. Currently, this animal model has set the stage for developing standardized diagnostic methods to monitor retinal autoimmune reactivity in human retinal degenerative diseases.

More recently, her research efforts have involved translational research. Her laboratory is studying how cytokines regulate and modulate immune responses in selected immune based diseases. Specifically, they have been studying these molecules in vasculitis, infection and transplant rejection. Current efforts are focused on bringing together information concerning the role of cytokines in the development, progression and complications of these inflammatory conditions and in identifying their possible role as biomarkers of early inflammatory disease.

Core Facility: Cytokine

Selected Publications

Allen JG, Lee MT, Weiss ES, Arnaoutakis GJ, Shah AS, Detrick B. "Preoperative recipient cytokine levels are associated with early lung allograft dysfunction." Ann Thorac Surg. 2012 Jun;93(6):1843-9. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2012.02.041. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

Nagineni CN, Kommineni VK, William A, Detrick B, Hooks JJ. "Regulation of VEGF expression in human retinal cells by cytokines: implications for the role of inflammation in age-related macular degeneration." J Cell Physiol. 2012 Jan;227(1):116-26. doi: 10.1002/jcp.22708

Morrell CN, Srivastava K, Swaim A, Lee MT, Chen J, Nagineni C, Hooks JJ, Detrick B. "Beta interferon suppresses the development of experimental cerebral malaria." Infect Immun. 2011 Apr;79(4):1750-8. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00810-10. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Detrick B, Hooks JJ. "Immune regulation in the retina." Immunol Res. 2010 Jul;47(1-3):153-61. doi: 10.1007/s12026-009-8146-1. Review.

Nagineni CN, Kommineni VK, William A, Hooks JJ, Detrick B. "IL-11 expression in retinal and corneal cells is regulated by interferon-gamma." Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Jan 1;391(1):287-92. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.11.051. Epub 2009 Nov 12.

Hooks JJ, Nagineni CN, Hooper LC, Hayashi K, Detrick B. "IFN-beta provides immuno-protection in the retina by inhibiting ICAM-1 and CXCL9 in retinal pigment epithelial cells." J Immunol. 2008 Mar 15;180(6):3789-96.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Graduate Program in Immunology

Graduate Program in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology

Activities & Honors


  • Veritas Distinguished Alumni Award, Caldwell College, 2013

Professional Activities

  • Leadership Program for Women Faculty, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 2012 - 2013
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