Research — Pathology and Immunology

Paul M. Allen, PhD
8th Floor, BJC Institute of Health
Research in immunology. The recognition of antigen by T cells. We are investigating how the T cell receptor functions developmentally, biochemically and structurally. We utilize in vivo models to study the role of T cells in alloreactivity/graft rejection and inflammatory bowel disease.

Jacques U. Baenziger, MD, PhD
2nd Floor, Kingshighway Building, Room 2423
Glycobiology, informational role of carbohydrates in protein targeting and reproductive endocrinology.

Jeffrey I. Gordon, MD
5th Floor 4444 Forest Park
Genomic and metabolic foundations of symbiotic host-microbial interactions in the human gut; impact on obesity and malnutrition.

Michael McDaniel, PhD
3709 West Building
The focus of this laboratory is to study the function and growth of pancreatic islets in Types 1 and 2 diabetes. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a protein kinase that integrates signals from growth factors and nutrients to regulate DNA and protein synthesis. G protein-coupled receptor agonists, such as GLP-1, have been shown to enhance proinsulin biosynthesis and secretion, and stimulate cellular growth and proliferation. Our objective is to further explore the mechanisms of action of GLP-1 to enhance DNA and protein synthesis via mTOR in rodent and human islets. These studies are of fundamental interest in optimizing mTOR to induce cellular growth and proliferation to: (1) enhance pre- and post- islet transplantation in Type 1 diabetes and (2) prolong b-cell compensation in response to insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetes. b-cell failure in obesity-associated Type 2 diabetes is believed to correlate with the intracellular accumulation of lipids that contribute to defects in insulin secretion and maintenance of b-cell mass. Our studies have identified lipoprotein lipase in b-cells, a key enzyme for catalyzing the hydrolysis of lipoprotein-associated TAG, to produce free fatty acids (FFA) for local cellular uptake. We are also characterizing the effects of enhanced FFA uptake through fatty acid transporters and determining the regulation of lipid droplet synthesis and breakdown by lipid droplet associated proteins. Recent studies suggest that FFA up-regulate mitochondrial uncoupling proteins proposed to dissipate the proton gradient across the mitochondrial inner membrane. The objective of this study is to delineate the link between FFA and b-cell mitochondrial dysfunction in Type 2 diabetes.

Kenneth M. Murphy, MD, PhD
7th Floor, Room 7766, Clinical Sciences Research Building
Function of dendritic cells in T cell responses and anti-tumor vaccines.

Robert D. Schreiber, PhD
8th Floor, BJC Institute of Health
Tumor Immunology and Cancer Immunoediting. Research on natural and therapeutically induced responses to tumors and definition of the molecular roles of interferon-gamma and interferon-alpha/beta in these processes.

Carl H. Smith, MD
St. Louis Children’s Hospital
Placental transport and surface membrane structure and function.

Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck, MD, PhD
Room 1020 Clinical Sciences Research Building – North Tower
My lab studies the cause of inflammatory bowel disease, a condition that leads to spontaneous inflammation of the intestine.  We study the mechanisms of host gene mutations as well as abnormalities in host-microbial interactions that drive this disease.

Steven Teitelbaum, MD
Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Cellular and molecular mechanisms of bone remodeling with particular emphasis on osteoclast biology as relates to pathogenesis and prevention of diseases, such as osteoporosis. We focus on integrin and cytokine biology utilizing a variety of genetically-manipulated mice.

John Turk, MD, PhD
6609 Wohl
Phospholipase A2 (PLA2) enzymes in regulating insulin secretion from pancreatic islet -cells, e.g. a novel iPLA2 that does not require Ca2+ cloned from rat and human islets that is involved in -cell secretion and proliferation. Studies of iPLA2, its post translational modifications, and its interactions with other proteins involve mice that are iPLA2-deficient globally or in selected tissues, transgenic mice that overexpress iPL2 in -cells, and insulinoma cells with genetically manipulated iPLA2 expression. Mass spectrometric characterization of proteins and complex lipids is an important tool in these studies.

Emil R. Unanue, MD
8414 at BJCIH
Research in immunobiology/immunopathology. Examination of cellular interactions resulting in immune induction and cellular immunity. These cellular interactions are examined in normal immune responses and in autoimmune diseases. The focus is to identify the proteins responsible for activation of lymphocytes in Type 1 diabetes.

Herbert Virgin, MD, PhD
Clinical Sciences Research Building, Room 8849
We work on issues at the interface of virology and immunology by analyzing aspects of viral immunity, viral pathogenesis, and viral genetics that contribute to virulence and disease.

Mark A. Watson, MD, PhD
Room 1029, Clinical Sciences Research Building – North Tower
Our laboratory is interested in defining patterns of somatic gene mutation, gene expression, and quantitative tumor clonality that can be used to predict distant site metastases and therapeutic vulnerability in patients with lung and breast cancer. Experimental approaches use histopathological review, and next generation DNA exome and RNA sequencing (NGS) of primary cancer patient tissues, coupled with bioinformatics and statistical modeling to identify candidate biomarker patterns that may be useful for the clinical management of cancer patients.