Allergy and Inflammation Research
The research activities of the Division of Allergy and Inflammation include both clinical and basic research.
The Division maintains a program for industry-sponsored clinical research. In a multi-national study of a neutralizing antibody to interleukin-5 for eosinophilic diseases, ours was the only study center in New England. The Division has also collaborated on clinical projects with other Harvard Medical School institutions and divisions, and has collaborated on epidemiological research with the Channing Lab and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.
Studies by Peter F. Weller, M.D. and colleagues are centered around understanding mechanisms of leukocyte functioning in forms of inflammation. The two principal areas of investigation are: 1) the immunobiology of eosinophilic leukocytes and 2) the intracellular regulation and compartmentalization at cytoplasmic lipid bodies of inducible mediators of inflammation in neutrophils and other leukocytes. Studies of human eosinophils are aimed at defining mechanisms whereby eosinophils may collaboratively interact with other cellular elements of the immune system. The investigations of eosinophils include studies of the cellular biology of secretion and other responses of these cells and their roles as antigen-presenting cells in allergic airways diseases.
Ionita Ghiran, M.D., and Anne Nicholson-Weller, M.D., are interested in the normal regulation of the human complement system and how inflammation is modified through complement activation, and specifically the role of CD35 (complement receptor 1, or CR1). The complement system is an integral part of the innate immune system, and as such, complement participates in immune surveillance for pathogens and augments the adaptive immune system.