Academics & Research

Immunology, Inflammation, & Infectious Disease (3i) Initiative

Immunity Pillar

Amy Barrios, PhD

Title:  Professor - Medicinal Chemistry

Research in the Barrios lab focuses on developing chemical tools that can be applied to further out understanding of important biological processes such as immunological signaling. We have been working to develop a unified approach to phosphatase selective substrate and inhibitor design and providing the toolkit necessary to elucidate the biological roles of phosphatase enzymes in health and disease.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: enzymology, fluorogenic assays, cellular signaling, protein phosphatases, chemical probes

Email:  amy.barrios@utah.edu

Ellen Beswick, PhD

Title:  Associate Professor - Internal Medicine (Gastroenterology)

Novel immune targets for gastrointestinal cancers

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: colon cancer G-CSF, MK2, pancreatic cancer, PD-L1

Email:  ellen.beswick@hsc.utah.edu

John Bohnsack, MD

Title:  Professor - Pediatrics

My research focuses on identifying genetic mutations in humans that predispose to the development of autoimmune and auto-inflammatory diseases. I focus most of my efforts on Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis in collaboration with investigators in the Utah Genome Project and other internal collaborators, and multiple extramural collaborators.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: genomics, genetics, autoimmunity, auto-inflammatory diseases, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Email:  John.Bohnsack@hsc.utah.edu

Kristina Callis Duffin, MD

Title:  Associate Professor - Dermatology

Dr. Duffin’s research interests include medical co-morbidities of psoriasis, clinical trials of psoriasis therapeutics, and psoriasis outcomes measures. She is the co-director of the Utah Psoriasis Initiative, a research project aimed at correlating the phenotypic and genotypic features of psoriasis.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: psoriasis

Email:  kristina.duffin@hsc.utah.edu

Karin Chen, MD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Pediatrics

My bench and translational research investigations focus on the genetic and mechanistic origins of pediatric-onset primary immunodeficiency and primary immune dysregulatory diseases. The overarching goal of my research is to improve diagnosis and treatment by understanding the genetic and pathophysiologic basis of these diseases.  

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: primary immunodeficiency disease, NF-kappaB, NFKB2, immune dysregulation, genomics

Email:  karin.chen@hsc.utah.edu

Jan Christian, PhD

Title:  Professor - Neurobiology and Anatomy

The Christian lab uses targeted mutagenesis in mice together with cell biological and biochemical approaches in Xenopus embryos to study cell-cell signaling in development and disease. We identified Tril (Toll-like receptor4 interactor with leucine-rich repeats) as a gene that coordinately regulates both arms of the transforming growth factor beta (TGFß) signaling cascades, and also coordinately regulates E-cadherin based cell-cell adhesion and Wnt pathway activation. Our ongoing studies suggest that Tril activates an NF-B independent, non-canonical Toll-like receptor signaling cascade to do so.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: Tril, Tlr4, BMP, Wnt, Xenopus, mouse

Email:  Jan.Christian@hsc.utah.edu

Frederic Clayton, MD

Title:  Professor - Pathology

Study of allergic disorders, particularly eosinophilic esophagitis and EGPA.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: allergy, eosinophilic esophagitis, EGPA, Churg-Strauss, IgG4

Email:  fred.clayton@path.utah.edu

Julio Delgado, MD

Title:  Professor - Pathology

Translational research in the field of transplantation immunology and immunogenicity to biologicals

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: transplantation, immunology, alloreactivity, immunogenicity, biologicals

Email:  julio.delgado@aruplab.com

Mark Deneau, MD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Pediatrics

Created a consortium of 46 international centers to study a rare disease, pediatric primary sclerosing cholangitis, in a large cohort of children. Risk stratification, prognostic modeling, comparative effectiveness of available therapies, transplant outcomes and search for surrogate endpoints.  

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: inflammatory bowel disease, especially primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and autoimmune hepatitis (AIH)

Email:  Mark.Deneau@hsc.utah.edu

Brian Evavold, PhD

Title:  Professor - Pathology

My research centers on how antigen recognition by T cells determines cell phenotype, fate, and outcome of the adaptive immune response. Understanding the mechanisms driving T cell activation provides novel insight into the basis of autoimmune disease and effective response to infections.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: Tcells, diabetes, autoimmune

Email:  brian.evavold@path.utah.edu

Julio Facelli, PhD

Title:  Professor - Biomedical Informatics

Facelli’s research interests are centered in the application of advance computing techniques to solve important problems in the biomedical domain. The projects in his research group use similar computational infrastructure and tools to maximize the synergy among projects, benefiting the students, postdocs and faculty in the group who are exposed to a variety of biomedical problems that are addressed by a common set of computational approaches. The principal research projects currently underway in his group are: Distributed Information Systems for Clinical and Translational Research, Protein Structure Prediction of Novel Variants, Temporal Reasoning in Medicine and Big Data Applications to Biomedical Informatics.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: biomedical data Integration; biomedical data mining; biomedical temporal reasoning: protein structure prediction

Email:  julio.facelli@utah.edu

John Fang, MD

Title:  Professor - Internal Medicine (Gastroenterology)

His clinical interests include treatment, diagnosis, and continuing care for gastrointestinal diseases and endoscopy.

Enteral Nutrition
Gastrostomy
Esophageal Diseases
Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal
Barrett's Esophagus
Eosinophilic Esophagitis

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Barrett's Esophagus, endoscopy, gastrointestinal

Email:  John.Fang@hsc.utah.edu

Bingjian Feng, PhD

Title:  Research Assistant Professor - Dermatology

Bing’s lab at the University of Utah conducts research on disease gene hunting, elucidation of disease mechanisms, classification of genetic variants as pathogenic or benign for clinical genetic testing, clinical biomarker identification, early diagnostic test development, and the implementation and dissemination of screening and diagnostic tools in a clinical setting. We also develop novel biostatistical and bioinformatics methods and design software tools. Currently, our research focuses on psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and head and neck cancer.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: bioinformatics, genetic testing, risk prediction, diagnosis, prostatic arthritis, biomarker

Email:  bingjian.feng@hsc.utah.edu

Irma Fleming, MD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Surgery

Dr. Fleming participates in a multidisciplinary team approach to the care of burn patients.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: burn injury, sepsis

Email:  Irma.Fleming@hsc.utah.edu

Tracy Frech, MD

Title:  Associate Professor - Internal Medicine (Rhuematology)

My research focus is of the vasculopathy on systemic sclerosis (SSc). Our clinical and translational science lab studies vascular physiology in digital ulcers and gastrointestinal tract dysfunction in SSc.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: Systemic sclerosis, Scleroderma, digital ulcers, gastrointestinal tract, Raynaud's phenomenon, renal crisis

Email:  Tracy.Frech@hsc.utah.edu

David Grunwald, PhD

Title:  Professor - Human Genetics

Genetics of susceptibility to osteoarthritis and the role of inflammation in osteoarthritis.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: osteoarthritis, inflammation, innate immunity, Ripk2, mouse models

Email:  dgrunwal@genetics.utah.edu

Adiseshu Gundlapalli, MD, PhD

Title:  Professor - Internal Medicine (Epidemiology)

As one of the few physicians in the intermountain west with training and experience in both infectious diseases and clinical immunology, his clinical interests include infectious diseases and non-AIDS immune deficiencies in adults. He provides both out-patient and in-patient consultations for primary and secondary immune deficiencies as well as community and hospital-acquired infections. His other clinical interests include biodefense, emerging infections such as pandemic influenza, preparedness for public health emergencies, infection prevention/hospital epidemiology and medical informatics. He considers it a privilege to serve patients and welcomes referral requests from providers in these clinical areas.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: influenza, emerging communicable diseases, diagnostic techniques

Email:  Adi.Gundlapalli@hsc.utah.edu

Steve Guthery, MD

Title:  Professor - Pediatrics (Pediatric Gastroenterology)

Dr. Guthery is the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, Nutrition. His interests include the care of infants, children and adolescents with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and liver disease. His research involves understanding the genetic basis of and improving treatments for these conditions.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: Inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, genomics. genetics of childhood liver disease

Email:  stephen.guthery@hsc.utah.edu

Hans Haecker, PhD

Title:  Professor - Pathology

The major focus of our lab is on innate immunity and inflammation, with projects ranging from molecular mechanisms of signal transduction to translational aspects of drug development. We explore how innate immune cells recognize and respond to pathogens (with focus on Toll-like receptors (TLRs)), how genetic mutations in innate immunity contribute to inflammatory and auto-immune diseases (with focus on systemic lupus erythematosus and psoriasis), and how obtained information can be used to develop novel therapeutic strategies (with focus on TLR-inhibitors).

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: innate immunity, inflammation, signal transduction, Toll-like receptor, drug development, hematopoiesis

Email:  hans.haecker@path.utah.edu

Mary Elizabeth Hartnett, MD

Title:  Professor - Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences

Studies mechanisms of normal and aberrant angiogenesis, particularly related to diabetic retinopathy, retinopathy of prematurity, and age-related macular degeneration.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: eye diseases, treatments for Retinopathy of prematurity

Email:  ME.Hartnett@hsc.utah.edu

Xiao He, MD, PhD

Title:  Research Assistant Professor - Pathology

We are studying role of GILT (gamma-IFN-inducible lysosomal thiol reductase), an enzyme involved in Ag processing, in thymus selection and in pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, such as type I diabetes. 

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: GILT, Ag processing, thymus selection, type I diabetes

Email:  xiao.he@path.utah.edu

My Helms, PhD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Internal Medicine (Pulmonary)

The main interests of my laboratory include investigating the role and regulation of epithelial ion channels (ENaC) in lung health and inflammatory diseases. We employ contemporary molecular, cellular, biochemical, and electrophysiological assays to address important mechanistic questions with the long-term goal of developing novel therapeutics for channelopathies and inflammatory diseases. 

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), oxidative stress, post-translational modification, S-glutathionylation (P-SSG)

Email:  my.helms@hsc.utah.edu

Aimee Hersh, MD

Title:  Associate Professor - Pediatrics

My research focuses on understanding the long-term/adult outcomes of pediatric rheumatic disease, and the impact of transition from pediatric to adult care on health outcomes for young adults with chronic illness. I am also interested in the genetics of pediatric-onset rheumatic disease and its relationship to treatment response and outcomes.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: pediatric rheumatology, outcomes, systemic lupus erythematosus, transition, genetics

Email:  Aimee.Hersh@hsc.utah.edu

Harry Hill, MD

Title:  Professor - Pathology

Dr. Hill’s research is investigating the role of cytokines, the hormones of the immune system in inflammation and disease including coronary artery disease, autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, and is investigating, along with his colleagues, the molecular causes of primary immune deficiencies including Job Syndrome of Hyper IgE and Recurrent Infections, Chronic Granulomatous Disease and, more recently Common Variable Immune Deficiency using next generation sequencing as well as other molecular techniques.  

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: primary immune deficiency, neutrophils, antibodies, inflammation, cytokines  

Email:  harry.hill@path.utah.edu

Robert Hitchcock, PhD

Title:  Associate Professor - Bioengineering

Our laboratory research efforts are motivated by the need for new medical device technologies and designs. We work in the fields of imaging and biosensors. Our projects almost always come from an unmet clinical need and are managed using a “design control” perspective. We work closely with clinicians and other researchers to bring a diverse set of technical and thinking skills to our projects. The lab has been involved with launching several new medical products through startup companies and we know what it takes to move technology from the lab to the clinic.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: medical device, imaging, biosensors

Email:  r.hitchcock@utah.edu

Julie Holien, PhD

Title:  Associate Professor - Biology

Our overall goal is to understand the mechanisms controlling mRNA turnover and the relationships between mRNA stability, localization, and cellular stress pathways. We are currently focused on how cells employ mRNA decay in regulating endoplasmic reticulum (ER) function.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: endoplasmic reticulum, stress responses, mRNA

Email:  hollien@biology.utah.edu

Karen James, MD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Pediatrics (Pediatric Rhuematology)

Dr. James’ clinical interests include vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, autoinflammatory diseases and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. She also evaluates patients with musculoskeletal and joint pain. Her research focuses on diagnosis, treatment and outcomes of children diagnosed with vasculitis.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: vasculitis, systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, autoinflammatory diseases

Email:  Karen.E.James@hsc.utah.edu

Peter Jensen, MD

Title:  Professor and Chair - Pathology

We study the mechanisms that underlie antigen processing and presentation for T cell recognition, and the role of classical and non-classical MHC molecules in the innate and adaptive immune systems. Our work has relevance to type 1 diabetes, other autoimmune diseases, and cancer immunology. 

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: MHC, HLA, Antigen processing, T cells, diabetes

Email:  peter.jensen@path.utah.edu

Michael Jurynec, PhD

Title:  Research Assistant Professor - Orthopaedics

My group works to discover and understand the functions of genes underlying the onset and progression of osteoarthritis. We use a combination of approaches including human genetics, bioinformatics, and model organisms (zebrafish and mouse) to elucidate the molecular and biological mechanisms that lead to changes in the synovial joint and contribute to the osteoarthritis phenotype.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: osteoarthritis, arthritis, human genetics, inflammation, mouse models, zebrafish

Email:  mjurynec@genetics.utah.edu

Aaron Kobernick, MD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Dermatology

With collaborators from Colorado Children's, The University of Arizona, and National Jewish Health, we seek to define and explore the problem of childhood asthma on the Navajo Nation. Through funding from the NIH, we are currently engaged with the Navajo community, schools and clinics to improve care for asthmatic children - and then study the effectiveness of our intervention.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: allergy, asthma, food allergy, oral immunotherapy, Navajo

Email:  Aaron.Kobernick@hsc.utah.edu

Eszter Lazar-Molnar, Ph.D., D(ABMLI)

Title:  Assistant Professor - Pathology

Translational research for diagnostic test development and optimization in the area of transplantation immunology, immunodeficiency, and immunogenicity to biologicals.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: HLA, transplantation, transplant monitoring, T cell proliferation, T cell costimulation, immunogenicity, biologicals, immunotherapy

Email:  eszter.lazar-molnar@aruplab.com

Giavonni Lewis, MD

Title:  Associate Professor - Surgery

Dr. Lewis has a particular focus on the care of thermal and soft tissue injuries. She participates in a multidisciplinary team approach to the care of our burn patients.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: burn injury, sepsis

Email:  giavonni.lewis@hsc.utah.edu

Theodore Liou, MD

Title:  Professor - Internal Medicine (Pulmonary)

We study survival and its clinical predictors in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). We have multiple projects to study the roles of inflammation and microbial interactions in the airway. Our research has led to a search for novel antimicrobial agents from bacterial members of airway ecology. Because of our involvement in clinical care of patients with CF, we participate in many clinical trials involving novel agents for the treatment of CF transmembrane mutation defects, CF-associated inflammation and management of malnutrition associated with CF.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: cystic fibrosis, inflammation, antimicrobials

Email:  ted.liou@utah.edu

Patrice Mimche, PhD

Title:  Research Associate Professor - Pathology

The focus of the Mimche lab is to determine the molecular basis of fibrosis, a tissue remodeling process that leads to scarring and organ failure. We are currently investigating the role of EphB/Ephrin-B signaling axis during organs fibrosis with a focus on Scleroderma and liver fibrogenesis. The long term goal is to utilize our findings to develop novel biomarkers and therapeutic agents for the management of fibrosis-related diseases. 

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: fibrosis, inflammation, angiogenesis, Eph/Ephrin, immunity, vascular damage

Email:  patrice.mimche@path.utah.edu

Hong-Hua Mu, MD, PhD

Title:  Research Associate Professor - Internal Medicine (Rhuematology)

My research has been to study how microbial agents (i.e., bacteria and mycoplasmas, and bacteria toxins)) can cause inflammatory/autoimmune diseases. We focus on the interplay of innate and adaptive immune system, role of T cell activation and differentiation in mouse models of inflammatory/autoimmune arthritis, sepsis and autoimmune colitis. Over the past two decades, we have been particularly studying how immune molecules including TLRs, MHC, co-stimulatory molecules, cytokines and chemokines are regulated by an unique mycoplasma superantigen MAM, and several other bioactive mycoplasma membrane lipoproteins which we have identified and isolated, and these microbial agents are shown to be disease pathogenic in our mouse models.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: autoimmunity, infection, cytokines, autoimmune arthritis, sepsis, and IBD

Email:  Hong-hua.Mu@hsc.utah.edu

Ryan O'Connell, PhD

Title:  Associate Professor - Pathology

The O’Connell lab is focused on the study of noncoding RNAs, including microRNAs, that regulate immune cell development and functions in health and during diseases that include neuroinflammation, cancer, and metabolic disorders. We are also engaging in the study of intercellular communication by extracellular vesicles that transfer small RNAs and other molecules between immune cells as a novel mechanism of regulating inflammatory responses. 

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: noncoding RNAs, microRNAs, inflammation, T cells, dendritic cells, macrophages, metabolism, extracellular vesicles, cancer

Email:  ryan.oconnell@path.utah.edu

Suzanne Ostrand-Rosenberg, PhD

Title:  Adjunct Professor - Pathology

We study the role of tumor-induced immune suppression in inhibiting antitumor immunity. Our studies have focused on two important immune suppression mechanisms that are globally present in cancer patients: myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and the programmed death 1 T cell pathway (PD-1/PD-L1). Our studies are aimed at understanding the mechanisms responsible for the immune suppression and the development of therapeutic strategies for neutralizing the suppression.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: antitumor immunity, cancer vaccines, tumor-induced immune suppression

Email:  srosenbe@umbc.edu

Robert Paine, MD

Title:  Professor - Internal Medicine (Pulmonary)

My laboratory investigates the role of alveolar epithelial cells in pulmonary innate immunity, with a particular interest in the consequences of local environmental factors (oxidative stress, hypoxia or particulate pollution) on epithelial cell expression of key molecules promoting lung defense. We participate in human studies as part of large NIH-sponsored networks investigating acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). I also direct the University of Utah Program for Air Quality, Health and Society.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: innate immunity, GM-CSF, alveolar macrophage, pneumonia, air pollution

Email:  Robert.Paine@hsc.utah.edu

Alex Pastuszak, MD, PhD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Surgery

My research focuses on men’s health, with my lab emphasizing genetic factors and pathways that predispose to superficial fibrosing disorders including Peyronie’s, Dupuytren’s and Ledderhose diseases. We identify and characterize genes and pathways that can lead to these conditions using forward genetic screening in affected patients, as well as in vitro assays and animal models. We examine the impact of candidate genes on inflammatory and fibrotic signaling pathways, and how these genes contribute to the molecular and cellular pathogenesis of superficial fibrosing disorders. Our work thus far has demonstrated a link between superficial fibrosing disorders and other genetically influenced conditions, and is currently examining the role of non-canonical pathways in the pathogenesis of Peyronie’s disease. The long term goal of our work is to more thoroughly understand the genetic and molecular determinants of superficial fibrosing disorders, towards the goal of facilitating diagnosis, risk stratification, and ultimately treatment of these conditions.  

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: Peyronie’s disease, fibrosis, inflammation, fibroblast, Dupuytren’s disease, TGF-beta

Email:  u6021567@umail.utah.edu

Kathryn Peterson, MD

Title:  Associate Professor - Internal Medicine (Gastroenterology)

Dr. Peterson specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of the digestive system including Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Barrett’s Esophagus, and inflammatory bowel disease.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Barrett's Esophagus, inflammatory bowel disease

Email:  Kathryn.Peterson@hsc.utah.edu

Chris Reilly, PhD

Title:  Associate Professor - Pharmacology and Toxicology

Mechanisms of inhaled particulate material toxicity. TRP ion channels in pulmonary toxicology, airway diseases, inflammation and pain. Discovery of TRP channel ligands.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: environmental toxicology, TRP channels, pulmonary diseases, asthma, pain, Cytochrome P450, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and mass spectrometry

Email:  Chris.Reilly@pharm.utah.edu

Jacob Robson, MD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Pediatrics

I am interested in the changing epidemiology of pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis. I am also focused on better tracking and treating of early esophageal fibrosis in children with eosinophilic esophagitis.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: eosinophilic esophagitis, pediatric gastroenterology, epidemiology, esophageal fibrosis

Email:  Jacob.Robson@hsc.utah.edu

Mary Beth Scholand, MD

Title:  Associate Professor - Internal Medicine (Pulmonary)

My research and clinical interest is Interstitial Lung Disease. This interest encompasses Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Autoimmune Lung Diseases and Sarcoidosis. I am the Director of the Interstitial Lung Disease Clinic. I run clinical trials focused on a cure for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. In addition, my research focuses on phenotypic factors and genetic factors associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases and Interstitial Lung Diseases.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Autoimmune Lung Diseases, Sarcoidosis

Email:  scholand@genetics.utah.edu

Bob Silver, MD

Title:  Professor - Obstetrics/Gynecology

My research focuses on stillbirth, placental abnormalities and autoimmune disease in pregnancy with a focus on inflammation.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: pregnancy, placenta, stillbirth, autoimmune

Email:  bob.silver@hsc.utah.edu

Kathy Sward, PhD

Title:  Associate Professor - Nursing

My research focuses on biomedical informatics methods within clinical and translational research. Recent projects included a decision support protocol for pediatric ICU (PICU) ventilator management for patients with acute lung injury, and a simple PICU sepsis risk algorithm. Current work is developing an infrastructure to support integration of person-generated health data from mobile apps and sensors into research on conditions that are influenced by environmental and lifestyle factors, such as pediatric asthma. We are also exploring wearable sensors to detect stress levels in cancer caregivers.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: biomedical informatics, sensors, environment, cancer, asthma, ARDS/ALI

Email:  kathy.sward@nurs.utah.edu

Dean Tantin, PhD

Title:  Associate Professor - Pathology

Our lab studies the function of mammalian transcription factors and cofactors, how they control lymphocyte function and immune responses, and how they control normal and malignant stem cell/progenitor states. Our lab has major interests in the transcriptional control of immune memory and autoimmunity.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: gene regulation, immune memory, autoimmunity

Email:  dean.tantin@path.utah.edu

Rob Taylor, MD, PhD

Title:  Professor - Obstetrics/Gynecology

My lab studies the molecular actions of estrogen and progesterone, endometrial differentiation and immune cell recruitment, particularly as they relate to the clinical syndrome, endometriosis.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: sex steroid receptors, IL-1β signaling, neuroangiogenesis

Email:  rob.taylor@hsc.utah.edu

Anne Tebo, PhD

Title:  Associate Professor - Pathology

Tebo’s research is centered on the diagnosis and management of autoimmune diseases. Her current efforts are focused on approaches to reliably diagnosis and predict specific outcomes in systemic autoimmune rheumatic disease (SARDs) and antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). She is also actively involved in collaborative initiatives to harmonize and standardize serologic tests commonly used for autoimmune disease assessment.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: autoimmunity, inflammation, diagnosis, management, biomarkers

Email:  anne.tebo@aruplab.com

Dimitri Tränkner, PhD

Title:  Research Assistant Professor - Biology

Dr. Tränkner develops and applies genetics, optogenetics, and quantitative behavior assays to explore the cellular and molecular basis of psychological and mental disorders using the mouse as a model system. He currently focuses on the causal link between defective immune cells and sex-linked anxiety. 

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: anxiety, microglia, hormones, optogenetics, cognitive defects, mouse models

Email:  dtrankner@genetics.utah.edu

John Valentine, MD

Title:  Professor - Internal Medicine (Gastroenterology)

Interests include clinical and translational aspects of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease) as well as other autoimmune and inflammatory disorders of the intestine. Projects include clinical trials and biomarker development, oncogenesis related to chronic inflammation.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, intestinal inflammation

Email:  john.valentine@hsc.utah.edu

Alessandro Venosa, PharmD, PhD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Pharmacology and Toxicology

The Venosa Laboratory utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to study epithelial-immune cell crosstalk during the pathogenesis of pulmonary injury and fibrosis. The lab is particularly interested in studying the impact of air pollution exposure (i.e., ozone, particulate matter, wildfire smoke) on dysfunctional/susceptible lung epithelium (genetic mutations and ageing). To address this scientific question, we combine a novel murine model of lung injury and fibrosis initiated by a missense mutation in the pulmonary epithelial cell specific Surfactant Protein-C, with immune cell lineage tracing (see related publications https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29920187; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30910861).

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: air pollution, epithelial-immune crosstalk, fibrosis, acute lung injury, genetic susceptibility

Email:  alessandro.venosa@pharm.utah.edu

Jessica Walsh, MD

Title:  Assistant Professor - Internal Medicine (Rheumatology)

The Utah Spondyloarthritis Program integrates patient care and clinical research, with the goal of optimizing patient outcomes with early detection and treatment of spondyloarthritis and psoriatic arthritis. 

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: spondyloarthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, epidemiology, registries

Email:  Jessica.Walsh@hsc.utah.edu

Carl Wittwer, MD, PhD

Title:  Professor - Pathology

Method and instrument development for molecular diagnostics. Rapid cycle and extreme PCR (down to 15 s). High resolution and high speed melting analysis (down to 4 s)

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: molecular methods, high resolution melting analysis, extreme PCR

Email:  u0029724@utah.edu

Christian Yost, MD

Title:  Associate Professor - Pediatrics

My research focuses on regulatory pathways governing inflammation in newborn infants, particularly those born prematurely, who are predisposed to inflammatory tissue damage as part of the pathogenesis for neonatal chronic lung disease, sepsis, and necrotizing enterocolitis. I recently discovered a novel endogenous peptide inhibitor of Neutrophil Extracellular Trap “NET” formation isolated from the umbilical cord blood of newborn infants. I am NIH funded to explore the role of this NET-inhibitory peptide in neonatal sepsis.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: neutrophil, neutrophil extracellular trap, NET, sepsis, newborn infant

Email:  christian.yost@u2m2.utah.edu

Zemin Zhou, PhD

Title:  Research Assistant Professor - Pathology

My research focuses on the molecular mechanism and regulation of antigen processing and presentation that involved in autoimmunity and infectious diseases. I am also interested in mechanisms involved in quality control of epitope presentation in adaptive immunity and immunological tolerance.

3i Bridge/Pillar: Immune Deficiency/Dysregulation

Keywords: MHC, HLA, Antigen processing, GILT, T cells, autoimmunity

Email:  Zemin.zhou@path.utah.edu