Department of Immunology

Research programs within the Department of Immunology address both basic science and clinical objectives. Laboratories of individual investigators target the fundamental biological principles of immunology and operate to identify, define and characterize the mechanisms that determine how our bodies distinguish foreign materials and what kind of responses are subsequently engaged. These efforts are organized around the innate immune functions that serve as determinants of inflammatory response and they ways in which such mechanisms support and direct the adaptive immune response. Efforts examining innate immunity evaluate the regulation of response to pattern recognition receptors distinguishing a wide range of invariant structures that characterize the microbial pathogen world. These include the analysis of mechanisms that mediate signal transduction and regulate patterns of gene expression that govern the ensuing inflammatory responses. Studies of adaptive immunity are oriented toward aspects of T and B cell development and function at the cellular and molecular level and include the development and evolution of specific T cell and B cell populations, the recruitment and function of specific T cell subsets in sites of immune-mediated inflammation, and the homeostatic regulation of lymphocyte number and antigen specificity. These broad themes provide remarkable opportunities for interaction among the individual laboratories and together integrate the department interests at the interface between innate and acquired immunity and the resulting complexity of immune-mediated inflammation. This concept appears to be highly relevant in a spectrum of clinically important entities that have either acute or chronic inflammation as a key causative or symptomatic feature of pathogenesis. Translation of our basic science represents a high priority for the department as a whole and our programs have 3 significant disease-related components. A major program is focused around understanding and manipulating the function of the immune system in the context of solid organ transplantation and there are 5 laboratories dedicated to this enterprise. A second feature involves the role of both innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders that include multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosis, and inflammatory bowel disease. The third translational component involves cancer immunobiology and investigators in this realm are considering how cancer cells undermine the immune system as well as how therapeutic strategies may help to direct the immune system to destroy tumors selectively.

The Department of Immunology has six Full Staff members (Drs. Thomas Hamilton, William Baldwin, Robert Fairchild, James Finke, Xiaoxia Li and Vincent Tuohy), four Associate Staff (Drs. Booki Min, Anna Valujskikh, Lina Lu, and Shiguang Qian), two Assistant Staff (Drs. Neetu Gupta, Trine Jorgensen and two Staff Scientist (Drs. Li-Xin Wang & Charles Tannenbaum). In addition, four investigators hold primary departmental appointments in clinical institutes but have active laboratory programs housed within the Department of Immunology. These include Drs. Greg Plautz (Pediatric Hematology-Oncology), Emilio Poggio (Nephrology), Brian Gastman (Plastic Surgery). These investigators participate in substantial collaborative interactions with colleagues holding primary appointments in Immunology and thereby serve as important liaisons between the laboratory bench and the bedside.

  • Grant Title: Pazopanib Modulation of Immune Cells in Patients with Renal Cell Carcinoma
    PI: James Finke
    Total Cost: $160,640
    Funding Agency: Glaxo Smith Kline
    Dates: 06/2011 – 06/2016
  • Grant Title: Asthma Inflammation Research
    Project 2 Leader: Xiaoxia Li
    Total Cost: $2,294,140
    Funding Agency: NIH/PPG (Serpil Erzurum, PI)
    Dates: 08/2011 – 06/2016
  • Grant Title: Defining the Role of Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells (MDSC) and IL8 in Promoting Angiogenic-Mediated Resistance to Sunitinib in RCC Patients
    PI: James Finke
    Total Cost: $156,410
    Funding Agency: Pfizer
    Dates: 05/2011 – 06/2013
  • Grant Title: Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of IL-17 Signaling
    PI: Xiaoxia Li
    Total Cost: $2,049,160
    Funding Agency: NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    Dates: 04/2011 – 03/2016
  • Grant Title: Adiponectin Bridges Metabolic and Immunologic Mechanisms in Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy
    PI: William Baldwin
    Total Cost: $118,600
    Funding Agency: Roche Organ Transplantation Research Foundation
    Dates: 07/2011 – 07/2012
  • Grant Title: Mechanisms of suppression of Lupus in Genetically Predisposed Males
    PI: Trine Jorgensen
    Total Cost: $1,085,172
    Funding Agency: Department of Defense
    Dates: 09/2011 – 08/2014
  • Grant Title: Tumor Induced Senescent and Suppressor T Cells – A Novel Mechanism of Immune Evasion
    PI: Brian Gastman
    Total Cost: $962,800
    Funding Agency: NIH/National Cancer Institute
    Dates: 05/2011 – 07/2013
  • Supplement Grant Title: Regulation of B Cell Function by Membrane-Cytoskeletal Remodeling
    PI: Neetu Gupta Student: Gospel Enyindah-Asonye
    Total Cost: $119,926
    Funding Agency: Supplemental Grant to Promote Diversity in Health Related Research
    Dates: 07/2011 – 06/2013
  • Grant Title: Induction of Tolerance by Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells
    PI: Ritika Jaini
    Total Cost: $44,000
    Funding Agency: Multiple Sclerosis Grant
    Dates: 06/2011 – 05/2012
  • Grant Title: Acute Humoral Rejection of Renal Allograft
    PI & Project 1 Leader: Robert Fairchild
    Project 2 Leader: William Baldwin
    Project 3 Leader: Anna Valujskikh
    Direct Cost: $5,492,275
    Type of Grant: PPG - NIH, NIAID
    Dates: 6/2010 – 5/2015
  • Grant Title: Molecular Mechanisms for IL-25 mediated Th2 Responses
    PI: Xiaoxia Li
    Direct Cost: $1,902,206
    Type of Grant: RO1 – NIH, NHLBI
    Dates: 9/2010 – 5/2014
  • Grant Title: Towards Induction of Cell Transplant Tolerance
    PI: Lina Lu, Shiguang Qian (Co-PI)
    Direct Cost: $1,250,000
    Type of Grant: RO1 – NIH, NIDDKD Dates: 4/2010 – 3/2015
  • Grant Title: Induction of Local Hyporesponsiveness: A Solution for cell Transplantation
    PI: Shiguang Qian, Lina Lu (Co-PI)
    Direct Cost: $275,000
    Type of Grant: R21 – NIH, NIAID Dates: 7/2010 – 6/2012
  • Grant Title: Immunotherapy of Breast Cancer with T Cells Sensitized by cancer stem-like cells
    PI: Li-Xin Wang
    Direct Cost: $1,037,500
    Type of Grant: RO1 – NIH, NCI Dates: 12/2010 – 11/2015
  • Grant Title: Sunitinib Modulation of Cancer Immunotherapy
    PI: James Finke
    Direct Cost: $933,430
    Type of Grant: RO1 – NIH, NCI Dates: 08/2010 – 1/2015
  • Grant Title: CXCL9/Mig-dependent suppression of cutaneous tumors
    PI: Anton Gorbachev
    Direct Cost: $280,000
    Type of Grant: AHA Dates: 12/2010 – 11/2015
  • Grant Title: Regulation of CNS Viral Persistence
    Core C Director: Booki Min (PI: Cornelia Bergmann)
    Direct Cost: $1,237,344
    Type of Grant: PPG – NIH, NINDS Dates: 09/2010 – 08/2014
  • Grant Title: BMS – CC Research Project
    PI: Xiaoxia Li
    Direct Cost: $92,308
    Type of Grant: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Dates: 07/2010 – 07/2012