Elizabeth A. Wohlfert Ph.D.

Elizabeth Wohlfert

Elizabeth A. Wohlfert
Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences


Specialty/Research Focus

Immunology; Infectious Disease

Contact Information
Room 5256
955 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 7168293969
wohlfert@buffalo.edu



Professional Summary:

The focus of my laboratory is to understand regulatory mechanisms during infection and autoimmunity at mucosal sites, particularly within the gastrointestinal tract. The adult human intestine alone contains up to 100 trillion micro-organisms─and no other tissue is submitted to a greater level of antigenic pressure than the gut, which is constantly exposed to food and environmental antigens and the threat of invasion by pathogens. At birth, for example, the human gastrointestinal tract undergoes a massive exposure to these antigens, and throughout the average human life there are multiple instances of the remodeling of the gut flora following infection. All these occurrences impose a unique challenge to the gastrointestinal environment. In response, to maintain immune homeostasis, the intestinal immune system has evolved redundant regulatory strategies. Several subsets of immune cells with immune modulatory function reside within the gastrointestinal tract. Specifically, we study Foxp3 expressing regulatory T cells (Tregs), which play a central role in controlling intestinal homeostasis.

Recent studies have demonstrated that the ability of Tregs to control defined polarized settings requires plasticity, the acquisition of characteristics specific to the glycoprotein CD4+ T effector subsets. Such adaptation comes with an inherent cost, however; as my research team and other researchers have demonstrated, in extreme instances of inflammation such adaptation can actually be associated with the expression of pro-inflammatory effector cytokines (i.e., interferon gamma and interleukin 17A). We recently identified GATA3, the canonical Th2 transcription factor, as a critical regulator of Treg adaptation during inflammation in tissues. Our goal is to understand how GATA3 regulates this and to identify other factors involved in Treg adaptation during inflammation. Our laboratory employs natural enteric parasitic infections of mice and the T cell dependent model of colitis to decipher both the environmental cues and cell- intrinsic requirements for Treg cell plasticity, stability and function at mucosal sites. The ultimate goal of our research is to clarify the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and develop novel treatment modalities for patients.

Education and Training:

  • PhD, Immunology, University of Connecticut Health Center (2007)
  • BS, Pathobiology, University of Connecticut, Cum Laude (2002)

Employment:

  • Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, University at Buffalo, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (2018-present)
  • Adjunct Member, Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (2014-present)
  • Research Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, University at Buffalo, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (2017–2018)
  • Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology, University at Buffalo, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences (2013–2017)
  • Research Fellow, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institutes of Health National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2010–2013)
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institutes of Health National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (2007–2010)

Awards and Honors:

  • Early Career Faculty Travel Award (2020)
  • Early Career Faculty Travel Award (2018)
  • Careers in Immunology Fellowship (2016)
  • Early Career Faculty Travel Award (2016)
  • Ray Owen Poster Award, 52nd Midwinter Conference of Immunologists (2013)
  • Fellows Award for Research Excellence, NIH (2010)
  • Research Fellow Award (2009)
  • Fellows Award for Research Excellence, NIH (2008)
  • Keystone Travel Award, Regulatory T cells Meeting (2007)
  • Lepow Fellowship (2006)
  • Huang Foundation Trainee Achievement Award (2006)
  • Keystone Travel Award, Tolerance, Autoimmunity and Regulation Meeting (2006)
  • Keystone Travel Award, Tolerance, Autoimmunity and Regulation Meeting (2004)

Research Expertise:

  • Immune Regulation and Wound Repair: Examining the interactions between Tregs, macrophages and stromal cells in skeletal muscle
  • Immunobiology: Stability and function of regulatory T cell
  • Immunoparasitology: Immune regulation in tissues during parasitic infections
  • Mucosal immunology: Regulatory T cell function in the gastrointestinal tract

Research Centers:

  • Witebsky Center for Microbial Pathogenesis and Immunology

Grants and Sponsored Research:

  • May 2020–April 2022
    Antibody Fragments as Biochemical Tools to Interrogate CD9 Function in Inflammatory Diseases
    NIH/NIGMS
    Role: Co-Principal Investigator
  • June 2017–June 2020
    Dysregulation of regulatory T cells during chronic infection in muscle
    NIH
    Role: Principal Investigator
  • November 2013–November 2016
    Deciphering the mechanism of how GATA3 controls the fate of regulatory T cells at mucosal sites
    Crohn‘s and Colitis Foundation of America
    Role: Principal Investigator
    $268,500

Journal Articles:

See all (22 more)

Abstracts:

  • Jin, R.M., Blair, S.J., Heffner, R.R., Blader, I.J., and EA Wohlfert. (2017) Evaluation of immune mediated myogenesis during chronic infection with T. gondii. Keystone Symposium on Mononuclear Phagocytes in Health, Immune Defense and Disease. Austin, Texas (May)Poster
  • Jin, R.M., Blair, S.J., Heffner, R.R., Blader, I.J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2016) Pathogenic regulatory T cells promote immunopathology during infectious myositis. 16th Annual Woods Hole Immunoparasitology Meeting. Woods Hole, Massachusetts (Apr)Poster; Oral
  • Jin, R.M., Blair, S.J., Blader, I.J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2015) Getting the balance right: Immunoregulation of host-defense and tissue repair in skeletal muscle during T. gondii infection. 1st Annual Immune Imaging Symposium. Rochester, New York (Nov)Poster
  • Jin, R.M., Blair, S.J., Heffner, R.R., Blader, I.J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2015) Getting the balance right: Immunoregulation of host-defense and tissue repair in skeletal muscle during T. gondii infection. 2015 American Physician Scientist Association Northeast Regional Meeting. Syracuse, New York (Oct)Poster
  • Warunek, J, Jin, R.M., and Wohlfert, E.A. (2019) Tbet+ Tregs protect against lethal immunopathology during T. gondii infection. 2019 New York Upstate Immunology Conference. Cooperstown, New York (Oct)Oral
  • Jin, R.M., Blair, S.J., Blader, I.J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2015) Tissue-specific immunoregulation of skeletal muscle during chronic T. gondii infection. Buffalo Immunology Conference. Chautauqua, New York (Mar)Poster
  • Jordan Warunek, Richard M Jin, Brandon Marzullo and Elizabeth A Wohlfert. (2018) Tbet+ Tregs protect against lethal immunopathology during T. gondii infection. Immunology 2018. Austin, Texas (May)Poster
  • Jin, R.M., Blair, S.J., Heffner, R.R., Blader, I.J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2015) Getting the balance right: Immunoregulation of host-defense and tissue repair in skeletal muscle during T. gondii infection. 18th Annual New York Upstate Immunology Conference. Bolton Landing, New York (Oct)Poster
  • Schiavoni, E., Blair, S.J., Jin, R.M., Iluore, J.O., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2015) The Development of T Regulatory Cells During Toxoplasma gondii Infection Induced Thymic Atrophy. 18th Annual New York Upstate Immunology Conference. Bolton Landing, New York (Oct)Poster
  • Blair, S.J., Iluore, J.O., Jin, R.M. and E.A. Wohlfert. (2015) The Development of T Regulatory Cells During Toxoplasma gondii Infection Induced Thymic Atrophy. Buffalo Immunology Conference. Chautauqua, New York (Mar)Poster
  • Jin, R.M., Blair, S.J., Heffner, R.R., Blader, I.J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2017) Pathogenic regulatory T cells promote immunopathology during infectious myositis. 2017 American Physician Scientist Association Northeast Regional Meeting. Rochester, New York (Oct)Poster
  • Blair, S.J., Grainger, J., Bouladoux, N., Urban, J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2016) Gata3 expression by Tregs is required for mounting a Th2 immune response to the helminth gastrointestinal infection of H. polygyrus. Mucosal Immunology Course and Symposium. Toronto, (Jul)Oral
  • Jin, R.M., Blair, S.J., Heffner, R.R., Blader, I.J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2016) Pathogenic regulatory T cells promote immunopathology during infectious myositis. American Physician Scientist Association Northeast Regional Meeting. Buffalo, New York (Oct)Poster; Oral
  • Iluore, J.O., Jin, R.M*., Blair, S.J., Schiavoni, E., and EA Wohlfert. (2016) Infection Induced Thymic Atrophy affects development of T Regulatory Cells. University at Buffalo Annual Research Day. Buffalo, New York (Jun)Poster
  • Jin, R.M., Blair, S.J., Heffner, R.R., Blader, I.J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2016) Pathogenic regulatory T cells promote immunopathology during infectious myositis. 28th Annual Conference on Microbial Pathogenesis. Buffalo, New York (May)Poster
  • Jin, R.M., Blair, S.J., Heffner, R.R., Blader, I.J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2016) Pathogenic regulatory T cells promote immunopathology during infectious myositis. Immunology 2016. Seattle, Washington (May)Poster; Oral
  • Jin, R.M, Blair, S.J., Heffner, R.R., Blader, I.J., and E.A. Wohlfert. (2016) Dysregulation of tissue-reparative regulatory T cell function in infectious myositis. 12th Annual American Physician Scientists Association Meeting. Chicago, Illinois (Apr)Poster
  • (2020) Tbet-expressing Tregs protect against lethal immunopathology during T. gondii infection. Immunology 2020. (May), (864)Poster; Oral
See all (8 more)

Professional Memberships:

  • American Association of Immunologists (2016–present)

Presentations:

  • "Infection Induced Pathogenic Tregs and the consequences on tissue repair during chronic muscle infection" Mechanisms of Parasitism Seminar Series, Immunology Program, University of Iowa (2018)
  • "Pathogenic Tregs promote myositis during skeletal muscle Infection" British Society of Immunology Manchester University, Department of Immunology (2016)
  • "Regulatory Affairs of Gata3" American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Annual Meeting (2016)
  • "Tregs impair tissue repair program in skeletal muscle during Infection" Department of Immunology Seminar Series (2015)
  • "Dynamics of Regulatory T cells throughout infection: What happens Next" Upstate Immunology Conference Annual Meeting (2015)
  • "Dynamics of Tregs during Infection" University at Buffalo Department of Oral Biology (2014)
  • "Stability and Function of Tregs during inflammation; They just GATA have it" Buffalo Immunology Conference (2014)
  • "Transcription Factor Networks Control Regulatory T cell Stability and Function During Inflammation" University at Buffalo Department of Biochemistry (2014)
  • "Transcription Factor Networks Control Regulatory T Cell Stability and Function During Inflammation" Uniformed Services University, School of Medicine, Department of Medicine (2013)

Service Activities:

  • ; Assistant Director of Graduate Studies (2021–present)
  • Agence Nationale de la Recherche, Paris, France (2021)
  • American Association of Immunologists, Abstract Programming Committee; Abstract Programming Committee (2019–present)
  • Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program Research Symposium, University at Buffalo; Poster Judge (2019)
  • National Medical Research Council, Ministry of Health, Singapore; National Medical Research Council (2019)
  • Immunity and Host Defense, CSR; Early Career Reviewer (2017)
  • Medical Research Council, Infections and Immunity Board (2017)
  • MD/PhD Admissions Committee (2016–2018)
  • Redesigned the departmental curriculum for the graduate students; Curriculum Review Committee (2013–2014)
  • New York Immunology Conference, Scientific Advisory Board member; Member (2013–present)
  • New York Upstate Immunology Conference; Scientific Advisory Board member (2013–present)
  • ; Graduate Affairs Committee Member (2013–2018)
  • J Leuk Biol, J Immunol, Nat Communications, Immunol Invest, Plos Path, Plos One, Cytokine, Front Immunol, Front Cell Inf Micro, Nat Com Bio, Scientific Reports, American J Path; Reviewer (2012–present)

School News:

In the Media:


Clinical Specialties:

Clinical Offices:

Insurance Accepted:



Contact Information

Room 5256
955 Main Street
Buffalo, New York 14203
Phone: 7168293969
wohlfert@buffalo.edu