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NameEmailPhD ProgramResearch InterestPublications
Thaxton, Jessica
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Cell Biology & Physiology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology, Metabolism

The Thaxton laboratory studies the intersection of stress and metabolism in immune cells for applications in cancer immunotherapy. Our pursuits center around the biology of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). We aim to define how stress on the ER defines changes in protein homeostasis, metabolic fate, and antitumor efficacy of immune subsets in human tumors. In order to pursue our goals we collaborate vigorously with clinicians, creating a highly translational platform to expand our discoveries. Moreover, we design unique mouse models and use innovate technologies such as metabolic tracing, RNA-sequencing, and spectral flow cytometry to study how the stress of solid tumors impacts immune function. Ultimately, we aim to discover new ways to restore immune function in solid tumors to offer unique therapies for cancer patients.

Mock, Jason
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Immunology, Physiology, Translational Medicine

Our research interests focus on investigating the reparative processes critical to the resolution of acute lung injury. Acute events such as pneumonia, inhalational injury, trauma, or sepsis often damage the lung, impeding its primary function, gas exchange. The clinical syndrome these events can lead to is termed Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is a common pulmonary disease often seen and treated in intensive care units. Despite decades of research into the pathogenesis underlying the development of ARDS, mortality remains high. Our laboratory has built upon exciting observations by our group and others on the importance of how the lung repairs after injury. One type of white blood cell, the Foxp3+ regulatory T cell (Treg), appears essential in resolving ARDS in experimental models of lung injury–through modulating immune responses and enhancing alveolar epithelial proliferation and tissue repair. Importantly, Tregs are present in patients with ARDS, and our lab has found that subsets of Tregs may play a role in recovery from ARDS.

Clapp, Phil
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Toxicology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cell Biology, Immunology, Physiology, Toxicology, Translational Medicine

My lab in the UNC CEMALB uses translational in vitro and clinical in vivo approaches to investigate how inhaled xenobiotics modify respiratory innate immune responses in people with and without existing lung disease. A central component of my research is the integration of biomedical engineering, additive manufacturing, and advanced cell culture methods to evaluate the health effects of new and emerging tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. I believe the best research is achieved through collaboration across disciplines and welcome interested trainees to contact me to learn more about my lab.

Ferris, Marty
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Genetics & Molecular Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Genetics, Genomics, Immunology, Pathogenesis & Infection, Systems Biology, Virology

In the Ferris lab, we use genetically diverse mouse strains to better understand the role of genetic variation in immune responses to a variety of insults. We then study these variants mechanistically. We also develop genetic and genomic datasets and resources to better identify genetic features associated with these immunological differences.

Baxter, Tori
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pathobiology & Translational Science

RESEARCH INTEREST
Immunology, Pathogenesis & Infection, Pathology, Translational Medicine, Virology

My research aims to understand the pathogenesis and host immune response to emerging and re-emerging viral infections, including encephalitic alphaviruses such as chikungunya virus and respiratory coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Other areas of interest include examination of genetic and environmental factors that influence the response to infection and disease outcome, evaluation of vaccines and novel therapeutics against emerging viruses, and development and optimization of animal models of infectious disease.

Rubinsteyn, Alex
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, Genomics, Immunology, Translational Medicine, Virology

I work on predicting the determinants of adaptive immune responses. Most of my work has focused on T-cell epitope prediction for mutant antigens derived from cancer. I have collaborated closely with clinical groups to translate this work in personalized cancer vaccine trials. More recently I have also been working on joint T-cell and B-cell prediction for viral pathogens. The technologies and techniques applied across all of my projects are at the intersection of computational immunology, genomics, and machine learning.

Moran, Timothy
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology, Toxicology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Immunology, Toxicology, Translational Medicine

Our research focuses on how environmental exposures impact the development of allergic diseases including asthma and food allergy. We are specifically interested in how exposure to environmental pollutants and immunostimulatory molecules (adjuvants) influence allergic sensitization. The goals of our laboratory are to: (1) define the key environmental adjuvants within the indoor exposome that promote allergic sensitization; (2) characterize the molecular mechanisms by which environmental adjuvants and pollutants condition lung antigen presenting cells to induce allergic immune responses; and (3) identify biomarkers of environmental adjuvant exposure that are associated with increased risk for allergic sensitization in children. Through these research endeavors, we hope to identify potential therapeutic targets for environment-mediated allergic diseases, as well as environmental interventions to mitigate the risk for allergic disease development.

Vogt, Matthew
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Immunology, Molecular Biology, Pathogenesis & Infection, Translational Medicine, Virology

We want to understand why common pediatric respiratory virus infections cause severe disease in some people. Currently we focus on enterovirus D68, which typically causes colds but rarely causes acute flaccid myelitis, a polio-like paralyzing illness in children. We study both the pathogen and the host immune response, as both can contribute to pathogenesis. Projects focus on use of reverse genetic systems to create reporter viruses to infect both human respiratory epithelial cultures and small animal models such as mice. Human monoclonal antibody effects on pathogenesis are also of interest.

Coleman, Leon
WEBSITE
EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Pharmacology

RESEARCH INTEREST
Behavior, Cancer Biology, Cell Signaling, Drug Discovery, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, Pharmacology, Translational Medicine

The overriding goal of Dr. Coleman’s work is to identify novel treatments for alcohol use disorders (AUD) and associated peripheral disease pathologies. Currently, this includes: the role of neuroimmune Signaling in AUD pathology, the role of alcohol-associated immune dysfunction in associated disease states, and novel molecular and subcellular mediators of immune dysfunction such as extracellular vesicles, and regenerative medicine approaches such as microglial repopulation.

Wallet, Shannon

EMAIL
PUBLICATIONS

PHD PROGRAM
Microbiology & Immunology, Oral & Craniofacial Biomedicine

RESEARCH INTEREST
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, Immunology, Pathogenesis & Infection, Physiology, Toxicology, Translational Medicine

My research interests are focused on mechanisms associated with altered innate immune functions, which lead to dysregulated adaptive immunity. Currently my research program has three major arms integrated through with a central philosophy. Specifically, our laboratory focuses on the contribution of epithelial cell biology and signaling to innate and adaptive immune homeostasis and dysfunction. We study the contribution of what I term ‘epithelial cell innate immune (dys)function’ to three major disease conditions: pancreatic cancer, type 1 diabetes (autoimmunity), and periodontal disease (autoinflammation). While appearing to be a diverse research program, we have found that many of the mechanisms and systems in play are surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) similar allowing for rapid translation of our findings. Importantly, previous investigations into the role of epithelial cells in immunobiology have been hindered by a lack of robust primary cell culture techniques, which our laboratory has been able to overcome using both animal and human tissues. Thus, using our novel and unique tools we are able to evaluate our findings in the human conditions, again making translation of our findings that much more feasible. In addition to my primary research objectives, my collaborative research programs, have allowed me to be involved, at some level, in investigating the basic biology of health, multiple autoimmune conditions, autoinflammation, sepsis, and exercise induced inflammation I have been blessed with the opportunities to couple my passions and expertise with that of others to bring together multiple research communities with the goal of advancing human health and hope to be able to continue to do so for years to come.