The prevalence of food allergies, whether causing anaphylaxis or just gastrointestinal symptoms, is rising. Our research group (inclusive of Drs. Spergel, Brown-Whitehorn, Cianferoni, Reddy, Saltzman and Heimall) conducts translational research on both IgE-mediated food allergy as well as eosinophilic gastrointestinal diseases. We currently are enrolling eosinophilic esophagitis and food allergic patients into clinical trials of epicutaneous or oral food desensitization. We are also involved in studies examining the genetic causes of food allergy and examining the molecular mechanism of alllergic diseases including the role of the microbiome.
Persistence and chronicity of inflammation remain significant therapeutic problems. Persistence may in part be due to “etching” of the inflammatory state in the packaging of the DNA. The Sullivan Laboratory seeks to understand the epigenetics of inflammation and to develop targeted therapeutics.
The developing immune system is tasked with generating elements that can respond to a broad array of pathogens but not attack other parts of the body. Patients with primary immunological diseases (PIDs) are unable to achieve balance between these two immunologic priorities resulting in a susceptibility to infections, autoimmune diseases or both. Research in the Romberg Laboratory focuses on unraveling the pathophysiological basis of PIDs, including Common Variable Immune Deficiency, to develop new methods of diagnosis and treatment. The Sullivan Laboratory studies defects in immunity associated with autoimmunity and and compromised host defense such as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and complement disorders. Drs. Jyonouchi and Heimall conduct clinical immune deficiency research as members of the Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium (PIDTC) and with other collaborators.
The Douglas laboratory investigates HIV/SIV immunopathogenesis in collaboration with CHOP, Penn, Temple and other Global HIV/AIDS Networks. Ongoing mechanistic studies neuro-inflammation and HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) involve populations of recently HIV-infected adolescents. Basic laboratory work includes investigations of macrophage polarization, immune checkpoints inhibitors, and innate immunity. We have ongoing studies related to HIV/SIV “functional cure” and HIV viral rebound. There are opportunities for clinical trials, in vitro, ex vivo and animal model studies.
CHOP fellows training in Allergy and Clinical Immunology have a wide range of research opportunities and choice of mentorship. A key aspect of the fellowship program is developing the critical skills to conduct research and to critically assess the investigations of others. Many CHOP Allergy and Clinical Immunology fellows choose to join research laboratories at CHOP or at UPENN’s world-class Institute for Immunobiology. The division is extremely proud of the numerous program alumni that have gone onto research careers at CHOP and other elite research institutions.