Current Research Interests

Regulation of Chronic Inflammation -Grisham Laboratory
We are interested in defining the immunological mechanisms responsible for the induction and regulation of the tissue injury and dysfunction observed in animal models of chronic inflammatory disorders such as the inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Our laboratory is currently investigating three major areas of immunology related to the induction and immune regulation of chronic inflammation. The first area is focused on the role that the secondary lymphoid tissue play in the antigen-specific priming, polarization and expansion of naïve CD4+T-cells to yield disease-producing Th1 and Th17 effector cells. The second area is focused on the molecular determinants that naïve, effector and regulatory T-cells use to home the lymph nodes and target tissue. The third major area currently being investigated is focused on the characterization and therapeutic evaluation of ex vivo-generated, immuno-regulatory cells to treat different autoimmune and chronic inflammatory disorders such as IBD, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. These studies utilize a variety of molecular, cellular, genetic and immunological techniques. Fluorescence-activated cell sorting, cell culture, gene transfer protocols and confocal microscopy as well as protein and RNA arrays are currently being used for these studies.

Leukocyte Trafficking and Pathogenesis of Chronic Joint and Gut Inflammation-Ostanin Laboratory
It is becoming increasingly appreciated that lymphocyte trafficking is important in the development of chronic inflammation. We are interested in understanding the role that specific T-cell-associated adhesion molecules play in the induction and perpetuation of chronic inflammation in mouse models of Crohn's Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Data obtained from these studies may lead to new drug therapies that target one or more of these adhesion molecules. We are also interested in the role that myeloid cells (e.g. neutrophils, monocytes and macrophages) play in disease pathogenesis. We have recently discovered that these innate immune cells are capable of modulating T-cell proliferation and cytokine production suggesting a new yet uncharacterized role for these cells in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. We are currently investigating the mechanisms by which myeloid cells can modulate various aspects of T cell function. Our laboratory employs a variety of different molecular, genetic, cellular and immunological techniques for these studies. Confocal microscopy, fluorescence activated cell sorting and PCR/qRT-PCR as well as RNA and protein arrays are currently used for these studies.