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Research

Overview

Faculty and fellows of the Division of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology are engaged in a wide range of clinical, translational and basic investigation related to pediatric allergic and immunodeficiency diseases.  
 
The research being conducted in the division is broadly based, and trainees have opportunities to engage in research beyond the immediate research programs of the divisional core faculty. These areas of research within the division include human T and B cell development and aberrations in their development and regulation, effector mechanisms of immune damage, bone marrow transplantation for primary immune deficiency diseases, the role of the thymus in post-natal T cell development in complete DiGeorge anomaly, the molecular bases of inherited immunodeficiency diseases, asthma and HIV infection in children and adolescents.

Research Faculty
 

Name
Areas of Special Interest
Rebecca H. Buckley, MD Primary immunodeficiency
Bernard M. Fischer, DVM, PhD Airway epithelial cell cycle regulation and proliferation
Michael M. Frank, MD Complement disorders
Haixiang Jiang, MD, PhD, MS Role of complement in  immune regulation and complement disorders
M. Louise Markert, MD, PhD DiGeorge syndrome
Joseph L. Roberts, MD, PhD Primary immunodeficiency
John Sleasman, MD, Chief Immune deficiency diseases in children and adults, disorders of immune regulation, immunodiagnostics, HIV pathogenesis
Amy Stallings, MD Asthma clinical trials
Xiaoping Zhong, MD, PhD Cell signaling

Clinical Research

The division has a robust program in clinical and translational research and is involved in several national and international clinical trials networks, including the Primary Immune Deficiency Transplantation Consortium, AsthmaNet, Airways Research Center, and the Adolescent Trials Network. Specific focus areas of clinical research include:

  • Thymic transplantation for complete DiGeorge anomaly
  • Stem cell transplantation for primary immunodeficiency diseases including severe combined immuodeficiency (SCID)
  • The use of C1 inhibitor in the treatment of attacks of hereditary angioedema
  • Clinical trials in the use of immune globulin for prophylaxis
  • Asthma treatment and pathogenesis

Basic Research

  • Central and peripheral tolerance mechanisms
  • Immune system development and maturation after bone marrow transplantation
  • Role of complement and immune complexes in the immune response and the development of autoimmunity
  • The role of complement in the pathophysiology of HIV infection
  • The role of complement factor H in the development of macular degeneration of the elderly
  • Regulation of Toll-like receptor signaling and innate immunity
  • Study of T cell function, T cell diversity and HLA restriction after thymus transplantation
  • Study of the development of B regulatory cells
  • Role of the microbiome in immune priming of infants
  • Role of inflammation in HIV pathogenesis

Translational Research

  • Subcutaneous infusion of C1 inhibitor protein as a method of administration
  • Pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune hepatitis
  • Study of thymus allograft development after thymus transplantation
  • Study of quality of life and development after thymus transplantation
  • Thymus transplantation plus parathyroid transplantation for complete DiGeorge anomaly
  • Analysis of T cell receptor gene utilization during T cell development of the newly transplanted thymus tissue
  • Role of regulatory B cells in autoimmune disease
  • Effects of microbiome on the development of the immunoglobulin repertoire
  • Defining new molecular etiologies of combined variable immune deficiency and severe combined immunodeficiency

Fellow Research

Fellowship research is broad based and includes basic, translational and clinical research. Selected fellows are invited to do research under a T32 training grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fellows research is under the auspices of a mentor and scholarship committee. Trainees may elect to research with mentors who are outside of the division or Duke University. Recent fellows have done research in food allergy at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Fellows have the opportunity to pursue master's level training in biostatistics, epidemiology, and public health. On the recommendation of their scholarship committee, several fellows have completed a Master of Science in Health Science and Clinical Research.

Clinical Trials

For further information about clinical trials currently being conducted in the Division of Allergy and Immunology, please visit dukechildrens.org.