- B.S. : Biology, LaRoche College, 1983-1987
- M.S. : Biology, Duquesne University, 1987-1989
- Ph.D. : Immunology, Case Western Reserve University, 1993-1996
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Human beta defensin-3 (hBD-3) is an antimicrobial peptide that is produced at epithelial surfaces. This molecule kills certain microbes as a component of innate defense mechanisms. HBD-3 also has chemotactic properties as well as the ability to activate antigen-presenting cells. One component of my research is centered on understanding how hBD-3 interacts with antigen-presenting cells and how it may serve as a bridge between innate and adaptive defense mechanisms.
Another project centers on the cytokine, interleukin-7 (IL-7). IL-7 is a critical cytokine in T cell homeostasis and survival. Recent clinical trials suggest that administration of IL-7 in HIV-infected persons can boost T cell reconstitution. We are investigating IL-7 responsiveness in HIV disease and also the effects of IL-7 on T cell function.
Additional projects in my lab include studies of HIV pathogenesis and immune dysfunction, immune reconstitution in HIV disease and IL-7 delivery.