The prevalence of food allergies, whether causing anaphylaxis or just gastrointestinal symptoms, is rising. Our Food Allergy & Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders research group (inclusive of Drs. Spergel, Brown-Whitehorn, Cianferoni, Datta, Heimall, Reddy, Ruffner, and Saltzman) conducts clinical and 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 and are exploring the microbiome of Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis patients.
Understanding the molecular basis of allergic inflammation is important for the development of novel clinical approaches to these important diseases. The Hill Lab uses basic and translational research approaches to study the genetic, environmental, and immunologic contributions to allergy.
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 Romberg Laboratory investigates how the epigenome of common variable immune deficiency patients germinal center lymphocytes contributes to their disease.
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 Henrickson Laboratory studies the immunometabolic mechanisms underlying primary immune deficiency which alter T cell function in order to identify novel therapeutic targets in these rare conditions.
The interface between the immune and metabolic systems is an exciting new area of investigation that is relevant to multiple inflammatory disease states. The Henrickson Lab studies the links between chronic and acute inflammation (with a focus on asthma and obesity) and T cell function in order to identify novel therapeutic targets in these common but complex diseases. The Hill Lab studies the effects of obesity and other metabolic derangements on innate immune cell activation and function.
The Douglas laboratory team investigates HIV/SIV immunopathogenesis in collaboration with CHOP, Penn, the Tulane National Primate Center, Fox Chase Cancer Center, and other global HIV/AIDS networks. Ongoing mechanistic studies of neuro-inflammation and HIV Associated Neurocognitive Disorders (HAND) involve populations including infants, adults, and recently HIV-infected adolescents as well as pregnant and postpartum women. The team has a translational preclinical program which uses non- human primate models. Basic laboratory work includes investigations of macrophage polarization, immune checkpoint inhibitors, inflammasomes, and innate immunity. We have ongoing studies related to the HIV/SIV “functional cure” and HIV viral rebound. There are research opportunities for clinical trials as well as 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 during their three-year fellowship. A key aspect of the fellowship program is developing the critical skills to conduct research and to critically assess the investigations of others. During their second- and third-years 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.