Nanoworks Division, Luna Innovations Incorporated
The University of North Carolina, USA
PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, Medical College of Virginia, Richmond, VA. B.S from James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA. MBA from College of William and Mary, Williamsburg.
Current research is aimed at understanding the signaling pathways involved in the inhibition of inflammation and discovering new ways to turn them off. To this end my laboratory conceives, rationally designs, synthesizes, and tests fullerene nanomaterials as therapies for inflammatory diseases with a primary focus on those driven mast cells such as asthma, arthritis, and allergy. Similarly, we want to understand the signal transduction mechanisms of fullerene inhibition of these disease processes. My past research was dedicated to finding new ways to “turn off” the allergic response by inhibiting Fc?RI/mast cell/basophil responses. First, I was the first to explain why “nonreleaser” basophils fail to release in response to Fc?RI stimulation; they lack the tyrosine kinase Syk. A follow-up publication demonstrated that low doses of antigen-as given during allergen immunotherapy-can induce mast cell desensitization through reductions in Syk levels. Second, we demonstrated that co-aggregation of Fc?RI with Fc?RIIb receptors on human basophils could inhibit Fc?RI degranulation. These studies became the groundwork for collaborations in which we developed molecules that could turn off Fc?RI through co-aggregation with Fc R II.