Skip to main content

Cook-Mills to present Pediatric Allergy and Immunology seminar

Thursday, January 11, 2018
Joan Cook-Mills

Title: "Maternal lipids regulate development of offspring dendritic cells and allergic disease"
Speaker: Joan Cook-Mills, PhD
Date: January 19, 2018
Time: 8:30 am to 9:30 am
Location: MSRB 1, Room 001

About the Speaker
Joan Cook-Mills, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Division of Allergy and Immunology
Northwestern School of Medicine

Research Interests

Leukocyte Recruitment During Allergic Disease.

White blood cell (leukocyte) migration from the blood into tissues is vital for immune surveillance and inflammation. Specificity for the site of leukocyte migration is determined by the combination of adhesion molecules, cytokines and chemokines in the microenvironment. 

We have focused on regulation of allergic inflammation by vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM-1). VCAM-1 is expressed on blood vessel endothelial cells during atherosclerosis, allograft rejection, infection, and asthmatic responses. Furthermore, disruption of the mouse VCAM-1 gene impairs heart development resulting in embryo death. Thus, VCAM-1 has important functions in development and disease. 

We are examining the molecular mechanisms for VCAM-1 signal transduction in endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo. We have reported that VCAM-1 signals through reactive oxygen species such as hydrogen peroxide. These reactive oxygen rapidly stimulate endothelial cell-associated matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and protein kinase Ca, resulting in endothelial cell contraction for the opening of passageways through which leukocytes migrate. Blocking this signaling pathway in vivo inhibits allergic inflammation.

Currently, there are three main research directions regarding regulation of allergic inflammation that are under investigation in animal models and in clinical studies. 

1. Mechanisms for VCAM-1 signaling. 
2. Vitamin E regulation of leukocyte recruitment in allergen responses.
3. Amino Acid (5HTP)/Neurotransmitter regulation of inflammation.[Shorten text]

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Stephanie Risbon at or 919.684.5384.