Jessy J. Alexander PhD

Jessy Alexander

Jessy J. Alexander

Research Professor

Department of Medicine

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Specialty/Research Focus

Autoimmunity; Gene Expression; Immunology; Metabolism; Molecular Basis of Disease; Neurobiology

Contact Information
875 Ellicott Street
CTRC, 8030D
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 716-888-4852

Professional Summary:

Complement: Its nuances in health and disease:
The focus of my lab is to study the role of complement in the kidney and brain. There is a resurgence of interest in the complement field due to a growing list of novel and non-canonical complement functions, increase in functional locations and rapidly expanding list of complement therapeutics. Complement activation is a crucial event for maintaining health. However, if it is overwhelmed or restricted, it can be destructive, causing disease pathology. Recently, it has been recognized and appreciated that complement is synthesized at different locale and the intrinsic complement modulates microenvironmental homeostasis.
The goal of the kidney arm of the work is to understand glomerular inflammation using the immune complex mediated glomerulonephritis mouse model. Complement signaling directs macrophages (MØs) to sites of inflammation, the numbers of which correlate negatively with organ function. We are studying the mechanisms at play in the regulation of trafficking and polarization of MØs by complement. The kidney is the size of a human fist (0.5% body weight). Yet 20-25 % of cardiac output traverses the kidney with filtration of toxic wastes occurring at the glomeruli, rendering it vulnerable to injury, resulting in loss of renal function. Endothelial layer is an integral part of the kidney filtration unit. Our recent studies revealed for the first time that intrinsic endothelial complement is of significance in maintaining kidney endothelial layer integrity. The molecular pathways involved is the focus of ongoing studies.
Our studies showed that inhibition of complement protected the blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity, reduced the severity of disease and improved brain function in systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus) model. The goal of the brain arm of the work is to understand CNS inflammation using the lupus mouse model, specifically the role of complement in it. The BBB consists of endothelial cells, astrocytic end feet and pericytes, and protects the brain from systemic circulation. Complement activation generates small molecules such as C5a, that bind to its G-coupled receptor and alters the structural integrity of the BBB. We are currently studying the complement dependent pathways involved in brain endothelial cells. These studies will open avenues for identification of novel therapeutics for diseases that have no effective therapies and will contribute to shaping the expanding complement therapeutic toolbox.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Biochemistry, University of Hyderabad (1990)
  • MS, Science with Zoology, Osmania University (1982)


  • Review Editor, Frontiers in Immunology (2021-present)
  • Adjunct Faculty, Eerie Community College (2017-present)
  • Adjunct Faculty, Trocaire (2016-present)
  • Member, Neuroscience Program, University at Buffalo (2016-present)
  • Topic Editor, Frontiers in Immunology
  • Adjunct Faculty, Erie County Community College (2017-present)
  • Graduate Faculty, Medicine, University at Buffalo (2017-present)
  • Adjunct Faculty, Trocaire College (2016-present)
  • Member, Neuroscience Program, University at Buffalo School of Health Related Professions (2016-present)
  • Research Professor, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo (2015-present)
  • Diversity Advocate, Department of Medicine, University at Buffalo (2021-present)
  • Diversity Advocate, Medicine, University at Buffalo (2020-present)
  • Faculty Senate Secretary, University at Buffalo (2017–2022)
  • Faculty, Discovery seminar series, UB (2014–2016)
  • Research Associate Professor, Medicine, University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (2013–2014)
  • Adjunct Faculty, East-West University (2013)
  • Adjunct Faculty, East-West college (2012–2013)
  • Adjunct Faculty, DePaul University (2011–2013)
  • Research Associate Professor, Medicine, The University of Chicago (2008–2013)
  • Adjunct Faculty, Molecular Nutrition, University of Chicago (2011)
  • Adjunct Faculty, Depaul University (2010–2011)
  • Research Assistant Professor, Medicine, The University of Chicago (2000–2008)
  • Research Associate, Medicine, The University of Chicago (1998–2000)
  • Fellow, Nephrology, The University of Chicago (1995–1998)
  • Research Associate, Pediatrics, The University of Chicago (1991–1994)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Dept. of Physiology & Biophysiology, The University of Chicago (1988–1991)
See all (16 more)

Awards and Honors:

  • 2021 Lab grant, American Association of Immunology (2021)
  • Individual Development Award (2021)
  • Excellence in Immunology (2019)
  • Faculty Award of Excellence for promoting inclusion and cultural diversity (2019)
  • Fulbright Scholar (2019)
  • Manuscript published received editorial invite since it got 2537 downloads in a year (2018)
  • SUNY award ‘Conversations in the Disciplines’ (2017)
  • Article chosen for cover page by Immunology journal (2015)
  • Article chosen for cover page by Immunology journal (2014)
  • Journal of Immunology paper given write up in Lupus Research Update (2006)
  • Invited speaker at the MPGN Type II Focus Group: Towards a Cure, UK (2006)
  • Paper in Inaugural Issue of Fast Track Manuscripts, JASN (2004)
  • Abstract chosen by the American Society of Nephrology (2004)
  • Certificate for Original Research, Neuroscience Program Committee, Chicago Medical School (1992)
  • ICMR travel award (1990)
  • American Society of Neurochemistry Travel Award (1989)
  • Chosen as “highlights from literature”: Hyperammonemia causes many changes found after portacaval shunting, Biochem. J., 272:311-317, by Cerebrovascular and Brain Metabolism Reviews (1989)
  • SS Parmer Foundation Award (1986)
  • Senior Research Fellowship, CSIR, India (1984)
  • Junior Research Fellowship, CSIR, India (1982)
  • National Merit Scholarship (1975)

Research Expertise:

  • Experimental renal inflammation
  • Monocytes in circulation and Macrophages in tissues
  • Mouse models of sterile inflammation and autoimmunity
  • Neuropsychiatric lupus
  • Nuances of complement and endothelial cells
  • Pathobiology of the complement system

Research Centers:

  • Clinical and Translational Research Center (CTRC)

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • July 2018–July 2021
    NIH R01
    National Institute of Health
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • January 2018–December 2018
    American Hearing Research Foundation
    American Hearing Research Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • January 2018–April 2018
    course infusion award
    University at Buffalo
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • October 2002–December 2011
    Kidneed Foundation
    Kidneed Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • January 1999–January 2001
    Arthritis Foundation
    Arthritis Foundation
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • March 1992–March 1994
    Omega oxidation and Reyes syndrome.
    Role: Principal Investigator

Journal Articles:

See all (68 more)

Books and Book Chapters:

  • Chang A., P. Kadambi and J. J. Alexander. (2006) Encyclopedic Reference of Molecular Mechanisms of Disease. In: Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis. Springer Verlag
  • Alexander JJ and Hawkins R. (1994) In Hepatic Encephalopathy, Hyperammonemia and Ammonia toxicity. In: Neomycin Reduces the Metabolic Ability of the Small Intestine to Produce Ammonia from Glutamine. Plenum Press
  • Alexander JJ. (1989) .Hepatic Encephalopathy. In: Acute Action of Ammonia on Leucine Metabolism in Isolated Astrocytes, Neurons and Oligocells of Rat Brain. Humana Press
  • Alexander JJ. (1989) In: Cellular and Subcellular Branched-chain Keto Acid Decarboxylase in Rat Brain and its Response to Hyperammonemia.
  • Alexander JJ and Murthy RK. (1987) Biochemical Pathology of Astrocytes. In: Cerebral Cellular Branched-chain Amino Acid Transaminases in Hyperammonemia. Alan R.Liss.
  • Alexander JJ and Murthy RK. (1987) In Biochemical Pathology of Astrocytes. In: Acute Effects of Ammonia on the Metabolism of Isolated and Cultured Astrocytes. Alan R. Liss

Professional Memberships:

  • International Society of Neurochemistry (2014–present)
  • American Association of Immunologists (2010–present)
  • American Society of Clinical Investigation (2009–present)
  • Complement Society (2005–present)


  • "Intracellular complement and kidney disease." International complement society symposium: Complement: The road less traveled at the American Association of Immunology (2022)
  • "Role of Factor H in macrophages" Toronto Complement Conference (2021)
  • "“Complement factor H: A story unfolding”." Seminar, Kidney diseases branch, NIH (2021)
  • "Complement Factor H regulates kidney function by modulating macrophages" American Association of Immunology-Virtual conference. (2021)
  • "Effective Undergraduate Research Panel" CSTEP program (2021)
  • "“Complement and the kidney.”" Department of Immunology & Microbiology, University of Pittsburg, PA. (2020)
  • "Complement and the kidney" Seminar, Wayne State University (2020)
  • "“Complement and blood-brain barrier integrity.”" International Society of Neurochemistry/American Society of Neurochemistry (2019)
  • "“Complement in health and disease”" Fulbright lecture series, GITAM University (2019)
  • "“Understanding the role of complement in CNS lupus towards personalized medicine and drug development”" 5th Meeting on Precision Medicine (2019)
  • "A journey with complement & kidney" Women in Science, CTRC, UB (2019)
  • "“Complement in health and disease”" University at Buffalo Dental School (2019)
  • "1. Complement in the brain during health and disease 2. Complement and blood-brain barrier in lupus 3. Complement in kidney during health and disease 4. Double negative T cells and lupus" Lecture series, Rheumatology, Christian Medical College, Vellore, India (2019)
  • "C5a/C5aR1 signaling alters blood-brain barrier integrity and brain function in systemic lupus erythematosus" European complement-based Drug development summit (2018)
  • "“Cultural competence in healthcare”" UB’s First: Living Our Commitment: UB’s Inaugural Summit on Inclusive Excellence” (2018)
  • "Lupus and Complement" Section of Nephrology, University at Buffalo (2018)
  • "“Complement as a modulator of Neurodegeneration in lupus.”" Dept. of Cell & Molecular Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, (2017)
  • "Macrophages and complement-the culprits in glomerulonephritis" "Fueling conversations in Complement", Buffalo, NY (2017)
  • "Specific Targeting of Complement Pathways for Clinical Benefit" American Association of Immunology; American Association of Immunology; Complement (2016)
  • "Complement and the blood-brain barrier" Interdisciplinary Conversations in Blood-Brain Barrier Re-modelling (2016)
  • "Unexpected Roles for Immune Signaling in the Healthy and Diseased Brain" American Society of Neurochemistry (2013)
  • "Role of Factor H in kidney disease" Section of Nephrology, University of Chicago (2012)
  • "Complement in Hepatic Encephalopathy" I.S.H.E.N. 14th symposium on Hepatic Encephalopathy & Nitrogen metabolism. (2010)
  • "Distinct and separable role of FH in chimaeric mice" Dense Deposit Disease; Kidneeds/Wellcome Group (2008)
  • "The Complement Cascade: Yin-Yang in Neuroinflammation: Neuro-protection and degeneration" American Society of Neurochemistry (2008)
  • "Complement factor H on podocytes serve as immune adherence receptor similar to CR1 in humans" DDD Focus Group, Welcome Trust, UK (2007)
  • "Distinct and separable roles of the complement system in factor H- deficient bone marrow chimeric mice with immune complex disease" MPGN Focus Group, Welcome Trust, UK (2005)
  • "Complement: Good and Bad" American Society of Neurochemistry (2004)
  • "Complement in the brain: New and exciting insights in an old arena of Immunology" American Society of Neurochemistry (2003)
See all (19 more)

Service Activities:

  • Precision Clinical Medicine, Oxford Academic; Editorial Board member (2022)
  • Discovery Immunology, Official Journal of British Society of Immunology; Member of Editorial Board (2022–2026)
  • Steering committee Natural Sciences Interdisciplinary Master's program (2021–present)
  • Frontiers in Immunology; Topic: Complement & Autoimmunity (2021–2022)
  • Social justice team, St Pauls Cathedral; Member (2021–present)
  • Pastoral care team, St Pauls cathedral; Member (2021–present)
  • Frontiers in Immunology; Review Editor (2021–present)
  • Vestry, St. Paul's Cathedral, Downtown Buffalo; Member (2021–2023)
  • PPBS Admissions committee (2021)
  • Innate Immunity and Inflammation; Standing study section Member (2019–2023)
  • Celebration of Scholarship; Judge (2019–present)
  • BDCN-E (04): Neurobiology of Brain Degenerative Disorders, Autoimmune Disea;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2019)
  • Presenter: Bio-STEM Scientific Discovery Series for CLIMB and iSEED undergraduates on career development and research (2019)
  • American Association of University Women; 2019-21 Research Publication Grant;; Grant Reviewer (2019–present)
  • NIH; Hypersensitivity, Autoimmunity & Immunity Study Section III;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2019–present)
  • NIH; Innate Immunity Study Section III;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2019–present)
  • Faculty senate elections committee; Chair (2018–2023)
  • Faculty senate Bylaws committee; Member (2018–2023)
  • BDCN-E (04): Neurobiology of Brain Degenerative Disorders, Autoimmune Disea;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2018–present)
  • Presenter: Workshop for CLIMB PhD scholars regarding the importance of Cultural Competency as part of the Professional Development Catalyst (PDC) workshop series (2018)
  • American Association of University Women;; Grant Reviewer (2018–2019)
  • Search committee for Center for Diversity Innovation Director; Member (2018)
  • NIH; Special Emphasis Panel ZRG1 VH-N 80 A, Vascular and Hematology;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2018–present)
  • Wellcome Research Foundation, UK;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2018–present)
  • University of Sharjah, UAE;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2018–present)
  • German Research Foundation;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2018–present)
  • NIH; Anonymization Study by CSR;; Grant Reviewer (2018–present)
  • Steering Committee to Study Promotion and Professional Development of Faculty in Qualified Ranks; Member (2018–present)
  • Ad hoc panel for promotions in Research track; Univ. at Buffalo; Chair (2017–2019)
  • UB Faculty Senate Secetary (2017–2022)
  • Presenter: Workshop for students regarding the importance of Cultural Competency iSEED students (2017–2018)
  • Subcommittee Inclusion & Engagement of International Students Task Force : “Recruitment and Communications Strategy”; Member (2017–2018)
  • Research Symposium Judge for CSTEP Summer Research Program (2017–present)
  • Faculty senate executive committee; Member (2016–2023)
  • CSTEP program Mentor; CSTEP program Mentor (2016–2023)
  • Medicine Research Day; Judge (2016–2018)
  • Grant reviewer: CTSI; Grant reviewer: CTSI (2016–2017)
  • Israel Science Foundation;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2016–present)
  • CLIMB UP Mentor; CLIMB UP Mentor (2015–2023)
  • MRC England;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2015–2024)
  • Ad hoc panel for promotions in Research track; Univ. at Buffalo; Member (2014–2023)
  • CLIMB-PRO Mentoring of undergraduates during summer; Mentor (2014)
  • NIH; Innate Immunity III;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2014–2016)
  • Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Oak Ridge Associated Universities;; Ad Hoc Reviewer (2013–present)
  • American Association of University Women, American Fellowships, Grant selec;; Chair (2010–2012)
  • Frontiers in Immunology, J. Neuroinflammation, J. Neurochemistry, Molecular Immunology, Brain Research, etc,; Adhoc Manuscript Reviewer (2010–present)
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, University of Chicago; Member (2009–2013)
  • American Association of University Women, International Fellowships, Grant;; Chair (2004–2006)
  • American Association of University Women, Nat. Science Subpanel of the In;; Chair (2003–present)

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Contact Information

875 Ellicott Street
CTRC, 8030D
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 716-888-4852