Professor of Medicine
Immunology; Infectious Disease
My patient care and teaching responsibilities are centered at the Veterans Administration hospital where I care for hospitalized patients and maintain an active outpatient clinic. I enjoy teaching medical students and residents in both lecture and small group settings. In addition, my laboratory is open to interested undergraduate, graduate and medical students and residents seeking to gain a research experience.
Research interests of my laboratory focus on two key areas of the function of specialized immune cells called macrophages. Our first area of interest concentrates on the immunologic roles of mammalian macrophage gangliosides. Gangliosides are unique molecules that hold diverse regulatory roles as receptors and as mediators of cell differentiation in cells of most species. Our studies encompass ganglioside regulation of macrophage inflammatory responses, ganglioside-associated alterations of the architecture of macrophage cell membranes in HIV-infected individuals, and the function of macrophage gangliosides as receptors for bacterial pathogens and toxins. This work will lead to a better understanding of mechanisms of macrophage activation, to permit manipulation of host immune responses.
Our second area of interest centers on the regulation of inflammatory responses of human alveolar macrophages by respiratory bacterial pathogens and bacterial antigens that contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Studies encompass defining the repertoire of inflammatory mediators of human alveolar and blood-derived macrophages regulated by bacterial pathogens and characterizing bacteria-regulated immunologic properties of macrophages, in patients with COPD. These investigations into fundamental mechanisms of dysfunctional immune responses of macrophages underlying the progression of COPD are providing the basis for designing novel and more effective therapies.