Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Faculty Profiles

Focus of Work

Bio

As a physician-scientist, my long-term objective is to define immunologic mechanisms of gastrointestinal inflammation that drive clinical phenotype/outcome. This is key to identifying novel therapeutic targets, improving outcomes, reducing morbidity and personalizing care. My focus is on two chronic inflammatory diseases: 1)Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE), which involves symptoms of esophageal dysfunction and eosinophil-predominant inflammation isolated to the esophagsus, and 2)Ulcerative Colitis...[Read full text]As a physician-scientist, my long-term objective is to define immunologic mechanisms of gastrointestinal inflammation that drive clinical phenotype/outcome. This is key to identifying novel therapeutic targets, improving outcomes, reducing morbidity and personalizing care. My focus is on two chronic inflammatory diseases: 1)Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE), which involves symptoms of esophageal dysfunction and eosinophil-predominant inflammation isolated to the esophagsus, and 2)Ulcerative Colitis (UC), a subtype of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by blood diarrhea, and T-helper lymphocyte type 2 inflammation restricted to the colonic mucosa. Both diseases involve morbidity associated with chronic inflammation and thus require chronic therapy to maintain remission and limit complications.

Mast cells are tissue resident immune cells, well-described as a component of the chronic inflammation seen in both disease. Packed with histamine granules, mast cells can be triggered by luminal contents to release histamine through degranulation. Histamine, a pro-inflammatory small molecule derived from histidine, acts through 4 receptors (H1R-H4R), of which the gut expresses all but H3R. Notably, H4R expression is restricted to the immune system. Currently the role of mast cell activation in the GI tract, the role of the histamine receptors, and the relationship to clinical aspects of these diseases is poorly understood.

In the laboratory, animal and in-vitro models of aspects of these diseases are utilized to characterize mast cell associated mechanisms and ultimately establish new treatment considerations. With the knowledge gained from these models, patient biopsies are interrogated by RNA and protein analysis to corroborate the findings, further an understanding of the disease process, and support the need for new therapeutic options.[Shorten text]

Keywords


Education and Certification

  • MD: Rush University (2006)
  • Residency: Riley Hospital for Children, Pediatrics (2009)
  • Fellowship: Northwestern University, McGaw Medical Center (Children’s Memorial Hospital), Pediatrics Gastroenterology (2012)
  • Board Certification: Pediatric Gastroenterology, Pediatrics

Contact

Administrative office: 312-227-4200

Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Box 65
225 E Chicago Avenue
Chicago IL 60611