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Allergy & Clinical Immunology

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We aim to provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art care for children with allergic disorders and asthma. Consistent with this mission is a robust basic and translational research program to improve the standard of care for the disorders we treat.

The lab of Donna Bratton, MD, focuses on the recognition of dying inflammatory cells as a means to resolve and potentially to control inflammation. Dying cells signal to professional phagocytes and tissue cells to recycle themselves and to produce mediators that dampen the inflammatory response. Importantly, the inflammatory milieu has been found to alter the ability of phagocytes to respond to dying cells. It is our goal to better understand the signals from dying cells and phagocytes with the goal to exploit such signals in chronic inflammation. Specifically, the role of dying cells and their recognition in the inflammation of different asthma phenotypes is being investigated in research protocols.

The lab of Donald Leung, MD, PhD focuses on understanding the mechanisms underlying the development of atopic dermatitis (AD). In particular, we are interested in understanding the relationship between AD skin disease and skin infection. Approximately 90% of AD patients are colonized with Staphylococcus aureus. Additionally, these patients are susceptible to skin infections with herpes simplex virus and vaccinia virus. The skin barrier serves as the first line of defense against invading pathogens. In AD patients, this protective skin barrier is significantly compromised.  Our lab is currently investigating the different components of the epidermis and their role in barrier integrity.  If a pathogen bypasses the skin barrier, the innate immune response protects against further infection. Anti-microbial peptides are one component of the innate immune response that exhibit potent activity against bacterial and viral pathogens. In AD skin, many of these anti-microbial peptides are deficient, thereby increasing the susceptibility to infection. We are currently investigating several families of anti-microbial peptides for their role in innate immune responses to bacterial and viral pathogens as well as mechanisms controlling their expression. 

The lab of Donald Leung, MD, PhD, and Elena Goleva, PhD, has been interested in mechanisms underlying steroid resistance in asthma and other immunologic disorders.  Their studies focus on development of biomarkers which may predict steroid resistance as well as the signaling pathways altering response to corticosteroids.  The role of race, gender, infection and allergens in causing steroid resistance is under active investigation.

The lab of Nathan Rabinovitch, MD, is interested in the role of air pollution, environmental tobacco smoke and biological aerosols in mediating asthma severity. In addition, environmental and bio-markers of medication susceptibility are being actively investigated. Defining and measuring these markers in patients may lead to a personalized tailored approach to medical therapy in asthma. 


Learn more about the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology.