Ayobami Akenroye MBChb PHD
Barbara Balestrieri MD
Macrophages are the most abundant cell type in the lung and the first line of immune defense against a multitude of harmful substances and pathogens. Our lab studies the role of macrophages, free fatty acids, and oxylipins in the innate immune response to allergens and infectious diseases. We are currently using a combination of pre-clinical models, human cell culture, and lipid mass spectrometry analysis to identify missing steps in the pathogenesis of lung immune-mediated diseases.
Lora Bankova MD
Solitary chemosensory cells are scattered in the respiratory epithelium and detect airborne particles, but their function in airway defense and airway inflammation is poorly understood. My research has identified that these cells, also termed brush or tuft cells, sense allergens and extracellular ATP, a damage-associated molecular pattern, and produce pro-inflammatory molecules that direct neuronal reflexes and airway inflammation. I am interested in understanding how allergens and respiratory viruses initiate inflammation and epithelial damage, exhaust repair mechanisms in the airway mucosa, and disrupt normal tissue healing to promote the transition to epithelial and olfactory dysfunction.
Nora Barrett MD
In health, the respiratory tract filters over 10,000 liters of inspired air per day and provides the first line of defense against airborne pathogens, while preventing excessive inflammation. My interest is to define the cellular and molecular signals underlying the initiation and persistence of excessive type 2 inflammation at mucosal sites. Our ultimate goal is to understand key regulatory features to prevent and treat diseases such as asthma.
Joshua Boyce MD
Due their biological potency and capacity for rapid production, lipid mediators of inflammation are ideally situated to promote innate immune responses against invading pathogens. At the same time, dysregulated or sustained production of these same mediators can promote immunopathology observed in common human respiratory diseases such as asthma. My lab focuses on how networks of lipid mediators cooperate to both promote and limit type 2 inflammation in the respiratory tract.
Patrick Brennan MD PhD
T cells are critical for host defense, but they can be a double-edged sword, inappropriately recognizing beneficial symbiont microbes, environmental substances, foods, or self. Starting with humans, we use cutting-edge techniques including single-cell transcriptomics and mass spectrometry to discover and target novel factors driving both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ immunity in human effector T cells.
Kathleen Buchheit MD
Chronic rhinosinusitis is a highly prevalent inflammatory condition of the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavities, which affects 5–12% of the general population, is associated with significant medical resource consumption, and can have a profound impact on quality of life. My research is focused on the treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis with a goal of improving quality of life for patients with this disease.
Mariana Castells MD PhD
Mast cell degranulation leads to anaphylaxis and cardiovascular collapse can occur within minutes, but the mechanisms but which it can be inhibited are poorly understood. My research laboratory is aimed at mast cell inhibitory mechanisms. Based on mast cell inhibitory capacities my lab has generated a model of rapid IgE desensitization that leads to temporary uncoupling of signal transduction and unresponsiveness to antigen. Against established dogma, desensitization is an active and specific process that stabilizes antigen, IgE and FcεRI at the cell surface preventing internalization and extracellular calcium influx. Current research includes the use of humanized mouse mast cell transgenes to assess desensitization through the human IgE receptor FcεRI and the use of basophil tests to assess in vitro and in vivo activation and desensitization to chemotherapy, antibiotics, and monoclonal antibodies in allergic patients.
Dan Dwyer PhD
Mast Cells are tissue resident pro-inflammatory leukocytes that dramatically expand in number across of a broad range of human type 2 allergic inflammatory diseases, where they are thought to play a critical role in disease progression. Despite this, relatively little is known about the tissue signals directing their expansion and maturation during disease or how their function may change across tissues or human diseases. My laboratory uses cutting-edge RNA sequencing approaches coupled with mouse modeling and ex-vivo co-culture systems to understand how tissue structural cells and local inflammatory signals combine to shape mast cell expansion, and how mast cells that mature under different conditions can in turn directly influence disease progression.
Kathy Lee-Sarwar MD MPh
The human microbiome is composed of millions of genes and produces diverse bioactive metabolites that can impact immune development and the risk of allergic disease, but the timing and mechanisms behind these effects have yet to be clarified. My research focuses on how the microbiome, the metabolome and other facets of the early-life exposome shape the development and maintenance of allergic diseases including asthma, food allergy and aeroallergen sensitization. My goal is to use bioinformatic analytic techniques to gain mechanistic insight into allergy development from human data with the hope of informing preventive strategies.
Lilly Li MD
NSAIDs are the recommended first-line therapy for many conditions such as pain and heart disease, but allergy over-reporting can lead to unnecessary medication avoidance and increased use of second line, more costly, and/or less effective treatments. My research focuses on understanding the clinical impact of reported drug allergies, and particularly NSAID allergies, on physician practice patterns, medication prescribing and patient outcomes in diverse patient populations. I also lead studies to identify risk factors for the presence and persistence of NSAID allergies, with the goal of improving the safety and quality of care for drug-allergic patients.
Margee Louisias MD MPh
The burden of asthma falls disproportionately on Black and Brown populations who have high rates of health care utilization and death. As a health-services researcher in community-based interventions, my goal is to reduce racial disparities in pediatric asthma. My other research interests include quality improvement, implementation science, community engagement, translation of research into policy, and the role of racism in health outcomes.
Dinah Foer MD
The physical, mental, and economic toll of asthma is magnified in patients with metabolic dysfunction and obesity. Yet, this population is underserved by current asthma therapies. My work focuses on improving care for patients with asthma through clinical research on the role of metabolic dysfunction in respiratory disease and the underlying mechanisms of inflammation. This clinical and translational work at the intersection of allergy, pulmonology, and endocrinology, draws on data from electronic health records, the Mass General Brigham Biobank, clinical trials, and lab-based collaborations with basic scientists. I also hold an appointment in the BWH Division of General Internal Medicine where I lead interdisciplinary projects related to electronic health record-based research, asthma outcomes and adverse drug events (drug allergy).
Matt Giannetti MD
Mast cells play a central role in host immunity; disorders of these cells are poorly understood and may result in inappropriate immune activation with life-threatening consequences such as anaphylaxis. My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying mast cell activation disorders. I am also involved in clinical research studying the use of novel therapies for patients with clonal mast cell disorders.
Tanya Laidlaw MD
My research and clinical expertise is focused on patients with chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps, severe asthma, and aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD). My laboratory’s efforts are aimed at understanding the causative mechanisms for these diseases and exploring new treatments for patients with respiratory inflammation. We have been particularly interested in the inflammatory role of mast cells, platelets, eicosanoids, and the dysregulation of pathways of Type 2 immunity, with a translational approach that includes ongoing studies that span in vitro cellular and molecular experiments through Phase 3 clinical trials.
Jun Nagai PhD
Extracellular nucleotides and lipid mediators are rapidly released from cells in response to stimulation and can either prevent or facilitate type 2 allergic inflammation through GPCR signaling, but the mechanisms are incompletely understood. My life-long pursuit is to understand why and how these mediators are released and to translate such knowledge into the new diagnostic, prognostic, or therapeutic targets. We recently developed a novel, highly sensitive receptor-dependent bioassay that can detect nucleotides and lipid mediators in biological fluids obtained from human subjects and animal models, and will determine their profiles as novel biomarkers of allergic inflammation.
Alberta Wang MD MS
Both genes and environment influence the development of asthma and allergies and the individual treatment response to medications. The goal of my research is to improve clinical care for asthma and allergic diseases by identifying new biomarkers and treatment targets. To do this, I perform epidemiologic research using large cohorts and translational research on the genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptomic drivers of disease.
Duane Wesemann MD PhD
Antibodies are produced by B cells, which play a critical role in conferring the power to adapt to diverse and evolving infectious threats. My laboratory is interested in elucidating underlying biologic features of B cell development and the somatic evolution potential of antibody recognition capacity.