Basic Immunology 

Dan Campbell, PhD (BRI, Associate Professor of Immunology) studies the development and function of effector and regulatory T cells and how their trafficking affects tolerance to self-antigens.This includes analyses of key signaling and transcriptional networks that drive T cell specialization. His collaborators include Drs. Hamerman, Rawlings, Stetson, and Ziegler.

Michael Gerner, PhD (Assistant Professor of Immunology) studies the spatiotemporal crosstalk between the innate and adaptive immune system. The lab utilizes cutting-edge microscopy approaches learned in the Schwartz Lab at NIH to study these communication events directly in vivo. Understanding how, where and when such cell-cell crosstalk occurs, as well as the molecular mechanisms of how it is regulated will uncover the fundamental underpinnings of how the immune system operates, as well as generate novel strategies for vaccine and therapeutic design. Dr. Gerner collaborates with Drs. Savan, Stetson, Gale and Oberst.

Adam Lacy Hulbert, PhD (BRI, Associate Professor of Immunology) studies the mechanisms of innate immune regulation of immune responses, and how these processes impact autoimmune disease and protective immunity to pathogens. A major research program in the lab investigates the role of the alpha-v integrin family of adhesion molecules, their function in cell adhesion, phagocytosis, signaling and activation of TGF-beta, and how these affect immunity. Dr. Lacy-Hulbert collaborates with Drs. Buckner, Campbell, Zeigler, Gale, Hamerman, and Stetson.

Andrew Oberst, PhD (SLU, Associate Professor of Immunology) studies how different forms of cell death occur, and how they influence immune responses in vivo. The lab has revealed that the processes of necroptosis and pyroptosis can be triggered by pathogen infection and contribute to inflammation and immunity. The focus of the Oberst lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms that initiate these cell death programs in response to cytokines or cellular damage. Dr. Oberst collaborates with Drs. Elkon, Gale, Clark, Stetson and Savan.

Jessica Hamerman, PhD (BRI, Associate Professor of Immunology) studies the in vitro and in vivo regulation of myeloid cells during homeostasis, infection and autoimmunity. Her work encompasses regulation of Toll-like receptor signaling in macrophages, trafficking of monocytes, and monocyte/macrophage development, with the goal of understanding how myeloid cells respond in situations of acute and chronic inflammation and infection. Training Program Faculty collaborators are Buckner, Campbell, Elkon, Rawlings, and Ziegler.

Dan Stetson, PhD (SLU, Associate Professor of Immunology, Adjunct Associate Professor Division of Rheumatology) studies antiviral immunity, autoimmune disease, and the evolution of host-pathogen relationships. The lab is focused on identifying new pathways and modes of regulation of the innate immune sensors of nucleic acids, including pathogen sensing of DNA and RNA, and defining the role of innate immune sensors and nucleic acid metabolism in innate immunity, viral infection, and autoimmunity. Dr. Stetson collaborates with Drs. Gale, Elkon, Buckner, Clark, Hamerman, Lacy-Hulbert, Oberst, Oukka, Savan, and Rawlings. 

Mohamed Oukka, PhD (SCRI, Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Associate Professor of Immunology) studies the subset of T helper cells that produces IL-17. The lab has recently identified factors important for TH17 differentiation, growth and survival in mice and humans. Recent interests include understanding how IL-23 initiates inflammation and autoimmunity. Program Faculty collaborators are Rawlings, Stevens, Torgerson and Ziegler.

Stephen Ziegler, PhD (BRI, Immunology Program Director, Professor of Immunology) has two major research interests. One focus of interest is the role of epithelial-derived cytokines (TSLP, IL-25 and IL-33) in the initiation and progression of allergic inflammation. The second interest is the role of the transcription factor FOXP3 in regulatory T cell development and function, particularly in human T cells. Dr. Zeigler collaborates with Drs. Campbell, Buckner, Rawlings, Hamerman, Lacy-Hulbert, Gale and Stetson. 

Genetics and Genome Sciences 

Eric Allenspach, MD PhD (SCRI, Assistant Professor Dept. Pediatrics) is a former T32 trainee in this program. He focuses on translational work to understand immune disorders charactyerized by overlapping immunodeficiency and autoimmune features. The lab combines genetic and deep immunophenotyping techniques to identify novel pathogenic variants in human samples and probes molecular mechanisms of immune dysregulation using animal models.

Mary Clare King, PhD (Professor of Medicine, Genome Sciences) uses genetics and genomics to study informative families and populations in order to identify genes responsible for complex human conditions. Primary areas of interest include breast and ovarian cancer, schizophrenia, and Mendelian disorders in children.  She is particularly interested in disentangling genetic heterogeneity in complex traits such as SLE, thereby discovering individually rare severe alleles that cause common disorders. Dr. King collaborates with Drs. Togerson and Stevens.

Ram Savan, PhD (SLU, Associate Professor of Immunology). His interests are in studying gene regulatory mechanisms that have evolved to modulate innate immune responses, with specific focus on exploring the effect of genetic variations in the non-coding regions in immune genes and regulation of type I and III interferon pathways in immune programming. The laboratory has a unique expertise of integrating the effect of post-transcriptional regulation on antiviral effectors and host-pathogen interactions which determine viral outcomes and risk to autoimmunity. Dr. Savan collaborates with Drs. Elkon, Stetson, Pepper, Oberst, Gale, Gerner, Clark and Buckner.

Troy Torgerson, MD, PhD (SCRI, Associate Professor of Pediatrics). He is Director of the SCRI Immune Diagnostics Laboratory (IDL) and Co-Director of the non-malignant stem cell transplant program at SCH/FHCRC. Dr. Torgerson is a former UW T32 recipient and MIT. His research has focused on defining molecular defects that lead to autoimmune disease in humans. Dr. Torgerson collaborates with Drs. Rawlings, Stevens, Oukka and Ziegler. 

Translational Immunology 

Karin Bornfeldt, PhD (SLU, Professor of Medicine and Pathology) studies metabolic risk factors determining susceptibility to cardiovascular disease caused by inflammation and atherosclerosis which are common complications in patients with SLE and RA. Specific areas of interest metabolic control of triglycerides and HDL, macrophage recruitment and arterial inflammation, Dr. Bornfeldt was a co-mentor for a T32 supported trainee and collaborators include Dr. Elkon.

Jane Buckner, MD (BRI, Member and Program Director, Translational Research, Professor of Medicine) studies the mechanisms by which the adaptive immune response to self-antigens becomes pathogenic in the setting of human autoimmune disease including type 1 diabetes, RA and SLE. The lab works on three areas of autoimmunity: 1) Genetic variants associated with autoimmune disease; 2) Cytokine signaling pathways in the development and progression of autoimmune disease; and 3) Antigen-specific T cells in rheumatoid arthritis. She collaborates with Drs. Campbell, Zeigler, Elkon, Stetson, Savan and Lacy-Hulbert.

Edward A. Clark, PhD (Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Adjunct Professor Division of Rheumatology) investigates innate signaling pathways in dendritic cells (DCs) and B cells that mediate autoimmunity or protective immunity to infections. The lab is investigating BAFF production in lupus strains of mice as well as novel immunotherapeutics.  Dr. Clark collaborates with Drs. Gale, Elkon, Stetson, Oberst, Oukka and Savan.

Keith B. Elkon, MD, Program Director (SLU, T32 Program Director, Professor Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Immunology) research interests include studies of how innate immunity (especially the interferon pathway) responds to dying cells, the cGAS-STING pathway of inflammation and how ultraviolet light causes exacerbations of lupus. Dr. Elkon collaborates with Drs. Clark, Gale, Stetson, Hamerman, Mustelin, Lood and Himmelfarb.

Michael Gale Jr, PhD (SLU, Professor of Immunology, Director of the Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease) studies the innate immune processes that control virus infection, viral oncogenic potential, and inflammation. The lab has a strong interest in type 1 interferons, especially as produced by the RIG-I and RIG-I-like receptor (RLR).  Dr. Gale collaborates with Drs. Stetson, Oberst, Savan, Ziegler, Gerner, Elkon, Clark, Rawlings, Lacy-Hulbert, and Oukka.

Natalia Giltiay, PhD (SLU, Assistant Professor of Medicine) studies the role of B cell in immunopathology of autoimmune diseases, particularly SLE. She is examining how Epratuzumab (Emab), a humanized anti-CD22 mAb suppresses B cell responses and the role of plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) in regulating T- and B- cell responses specifically and how antigen-targeting to pDCs via pDC-specific C-type lectin receptor BDCA2 can be used to promote immune tolerance. She collaborates with Drs Clark, Elkon and Lood.

Shaun Jackson, MD PhD (SCRI, Assistant Professor of Medicine) is an ex-trainee of this program. He studies B lymphocyte regulation in autoimmunity using animal models. In addition, Dr. Jackson’s work has focused on the immune mechanisms by which the B cell survival cytokine BAFF drives autoantibody production in SLE, and on novel B cell targeted therapies for humoral autoimmunity. He collaborates with Drs. Rawlings, Buckner and Oukka. His current focus is understanding the roles that BAFF and APRIL play in B cell function, especially in SLE.

Christian Lood, PhD (SLU, Assistant Professor of Medicine) studies the role of neutrophils in inflammation and autoimmunity with an emphasis on the contribution of neutrophils to the systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) pathogenesis. His lab is currently pursuing three main research aims, a) assessing how neutrophil-derived mitochondria and mitochondrial DNA are cleared to avoid unwarranted inflammation and autoimmunity, b) investigating the interplay between TLR8 and FcgRIIA in skewing neutrophils towards an inflammatory phenotype and c) identifying novel neutrophil-derived biomarkers related to disease activity and severity, including cardiovascular disease, a leading cause of mortality in young SLE women. He collaborates with Drs. Elkon, Giltiay, Mustelin Nelson and Stevens.  

J. Lee Nelson, MD (FHCRC, Professor of Medicine) studies how microchimerism (Mc) initiates or stimulates immune abnormalities in rheumatic disorders. Autoimmune diseases that are under investigation include scleroderma, RA and SLE.  With respect to beneficial effects of Mc, she is investigating fetal Mc in the pregnancy-induced remission of rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Nelson collaborates with Drs. Lood and Stevens.

Tomas Mustelin, MD PhD (SLU, Professor of Medicine) focuses on elucidating the molecular underpinnings of RA and SLE. In RA he is examining how regulation of the PAD enzymes influence citrullination and how PTPN22 variants affect disease-relevant pathways and cell types in RA, SLE. One project also addresses the hypothesis that long interspersed nuclear elements (LINE1) are the core drivers of type I interferon production in SLE and related diseases like pSS.  He collaborates with Drs. Elkon, Gale, and Noss.

Erika Noss, MD PhD (SLU, Assistant Professor of Medicine) investigates how fibroblast hyperplasia defines rheumatoid arthritis. Specifically, her laboratory is working to define pathways that promote synovial fibroblast accumulation in RA, the role of cadherin 11 and the mechanisms regulating IL-6 production in fibroblast subpopulations. She collaborates with Drs. Buckner and Mustelin.

Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD (Professor of Medicine, Dermatology) focuses on skin injury and DNA damage following ultraviolet radiation including the mechanism by which the protein kinase ATR mediates cell cycle arrest. His current efforts focus on two topics: the in vivo effects of ATR inhibition in the replication checkpoint. and identification of small molecule inhibitors of ATR. Dr. Nghiem is currently co-mentor (with Dr. Elkon) for pediatric rheumatology fellow, Clay Sontheimer, MD who is studying the effects of UVB in relation to SLE.  

David J. Rawlings, MD, Program Director (Professor of Pediatrics and Adjunct Professor of Immunology, Director, CIIT, SCRI and Head, Division of Immunology, Department of Pediatrics) research interests include altered lymphoid B cell development and signaling leading to immunodeficiency, autoimmunity or lymphoid malignancies, and the development of gene therapy for primary immune deficiency diseases. My laboratory has the ultimate goal of developing translational therapies capable of specifically modulating these disorders. Dr. Rawlings collaborates with Drs. Buckner, Clark, Gale, Hamerman, Oukka, Nickerson, Torgerson, and Ziegler. 

Anne M. Stevens, MD, PhD (SCRI, Professor of Pediatrics). Previously a mentor in training, Dr. Stevens’ research interest is in T lymphocyte regulation in autoimmune diseases, with a focus on chimeric allogeneic cells as immune-stimulators and co-stimulatory molecules as regulators.  She demonstrated that maternal cells can differentiate into myocardial cells in infants with neonatal lupus, where they may act as targets for the child’s immune system. She also identified, with trainee Dr. Mozaffarian, a novel biomarker for SLE disease activity, PD-L1. She is a site PI for clinical studies in the CARRA network, Dr. Stevens collaborates with Drs. Nelson, Ringold, Oukka, and Buckner, and serves as a co-mentor for fellows with laboratory-based aspects of clinical research projects, including Dr. Shenoi, Dr. Shaw, and Dr. Aminoff.

Clinical Research

James Andrews, MD (Assistant Professor of Medicine) conducts clinical outcomes research that studies how various rheumatologic illnesses impact physical disability, body composition, and muscle strength.  He examines: 1) how muscle weakness leads to physical disability in lupus and rheumatoid arthritis; 2) relationships between chronic inflammation, skeletal muscle function, and body composition in lupus and 3)  aging-related changes in physical function and body composition in rheumatoid arthritis.

Susan Heckbert, MD PhD (Professor, Epidemiology, Adjunct Professor, Pharmacy) main research interests are in clinical epidemiology, with emphasis on cardiovascular disease. Her research focuses on cardiac arrhythmias, aging, alterations in brain structure and function, medication effects and drug safety, and genetic associations with cardiovascular disease.

Jonathan Himmelfarb, MD (UWMC, Professor of Medicine, Director, Kidney Research Institute) studies biomarkers of cardiovascular risk in kidney disease, oxidative stress and inflammation in chronic kidney disease and mechanisms of proteinuria. The primary vehicle for his collaborative studies has been the “kidney on a chip”, a microphysiologic system that allows detailed investigation of kidney structures and organoids in response to injury.  

Noel Weiss, PhD (Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health). While much of his research has been in the area of cancer epidemiology, he has worked extensively in the development of epidemiologic methods and in the application of these methods to the understanding of the determinants of the outcome of illness. During the course of his career he has published over 600 articles and three books, and has trained several hundred graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. In 1999 he was the first recipient of the Distinguished Graduate Mentor Award of the University of Washington.

Anna Wald, MD (Professor, Medicine - Allergy and Infectious Diease, Professor, Epidemiology, Professor, Laboratory Medicine) studies the epidemiology and natural history of chronic viral infections in immunocompetent and immunocompromised hosts, including those treated with biologics for rheumatic disorders. She is also working on clinical trials of antiviral therapeutics and prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for viral pathogens. Other ongoing studies address the interaction between sexually transmitted infections and microbiome.

Sarah Ringold, MD, MS is an Assistant Professor in the department of Pediatrics. Dr. Ringold is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Medical School. She pursued her post-graduate training at the UW in pediatrics, rheumatology, and epidemiology.  Her research interests lie in defining and measuring outcomes in children with arthritis, with the aim of determining comparative effectiveness for different treatment protocols.   Dr. Ringold has developed a clinical data registry and local patients with JIA, and currently co-mentors Alex Aminoff in a project using the registry to test for biomarker validity. She is active in national JIA outcomes studies through CARRA and has a K-12 award on Comparative Effectiveness through the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at UW. Dr. Ringold collaborates with Drs. Wallace and Dr. Stevens.