Leonard Louis Dragone, MD, PhD
I am a board certified Pediatric Rheumatologist and physician-scientist with a long-standing interest in understanding how disregulation of lymphocyte function and signaling contributes to the pathogenesis of disease. My PhD thesis examined the function of leukosialin (CD43), a cell surface sialomucin that was originally thought to be altered or absent in patients with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS), an X-linked immunodeficiency.
During my postdoctoral training in Dr. Art Weiss’ laboratory, I developed an interest in lymphocyte signaling, specifically focusing on adaptor molecules involved in ubiquitin-mediated degradation of signaling molecules. Our studies of Src-like adaptor protein (SLAP) established its importance as an adaptor of E3 ubiquitin ligases that target the activated components of the T-cell receptor (TCR) and B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling complex for internalization and degradation.
As a new investigator at National Jewish Health, Colorado Children’s Hospital and University of Colorado School of Medicine, in addition to caring for patients in the pediatric rheumatology clinic, I have established my own research program that focuses on using biochemical, cellular, and immunologic approaches along with mouse models of autoimmune disease (RA, SLE) to study the role of lymphocyte signaling in human disease.
We are defining how alterations in ubiquitinylation as well as NEDDylation alter signaling through the T-cell receptor complex in mouse models of inflammatory arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) to determine their role in autoimmune pathogenesis. In addition, we are defining the mechanism of pregnancy-induced arthritis amelioration as a means of identifying new signaling pathways that may be targeted to treat autoimmune disease.