Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Urology
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Infections, Inflammation and Pain

Developing new agents and interventions to improve outcomes and quality of life for patients with chronic pelvic pain and benign urologic conditions.

 Sarah Flury Lab

Studying the clinical and translational diagnosis and management of urinary tract infections and benign urologic conditions

Research Description

Dr. Flury’s research focuses on benign conditions, including urinary tract infections and chronic pelvic pain.  She is a clinical urologist focused on the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions and has applied this knowledge to interpret results in several collaborative research studies.

Dr. Flury is a member of the Multidisciplinary Approach to the Study of Chronic Pelvic Pain (MAPP) Research Network, which aims to improve understanding of urologic pain disorders. Dr. Flury is involved in projects examining chronic pelvic pain syndrome within the content of co-morbidities at levels of patient, phenotype, epidemiology and basic science. She is also collaborating with the MAPP Network to determine whether alterations in the large bacterial communities that populate the gastrointestinal and reproductive tracts play a causal role in interstitial cystitis.

Dr. Flury also collaborates with Dr. Thomas Hope to determine how circumcision and chlamydia and HPV change the barrier functions, immune milieu and microbiome of the penile and urethral environment. The goal of this study is to increase the understanding of the factors that can modulate HIV acquisition in men to facilitate the development of vaccines and other interventions designed to minimize the spread of HIV around the world.

Select Publications

 David Klumpp Lab

Molecular Mechanisms Of Bladder Inflammation and Pelvic Pain

Research Description

Our laboratory employs state-of-the-art cell culture and animal models to pursue multi-disciplinary projects in bacterial pathogenesis and neuro-immune interactions in a crippling pain syndrome.  A key to our success is the rich training environment resulting from the close collaboration between clinical and basic scientists.

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is both a major medical issue and a fascinating problem of bacterial pathogenesis.  We investigate all aspects of host pathogen interactions, from the immediate biochemical signaling evoked in bladder cells, to the associated inflammation, to the development of adaptive immune responses.  We recently identified a novel signaling response of bladder cells induced by binding of uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC) that mediates the mutually exclusive processes of epithelial cell apoptosis and bacterial invasion of bladder epithelial cells; how this occurs is an active area of study.  We have also identified a candidate live-attenuated UTI vaccine based on a UPEC mutant.  We find that the UPEC mutant vaccine induces protective responses 100-fold greater than wild type UPEC.  We are now determining the mechanism of this enhanced response by testing the hypothesis that the UPEC mutant skews the normal immune response and thus generates a more effective immunity.

Although pelvic pain can result from acute infection, interstitial cystitis (IC) is a debilitating chronic pelvic pain syndrome of unknown origin that is often considered a chronic bladder inflammation. We utilize a herpesvirus to induce an IC-like condition in mice  Using this model, we have identified the mechanisms that result in both bladder pathophysiology and pelvic pain. Interestingly, while both pain and bladder damage require mast cell activation, pelvic pain results from the release of mast cell histamine, whereas bladder pathology is driven by mast cell release of tumor necrosis alpha (TNF). Current studies include the genetic basis of pain susceptibility, the spinal regulation of histamine and TNF release and the viral basis of pain. In addition, we recently were awarded a prestigious NIH center grant to study pelvic pain syndromes. The center award will extend our bladder pelvic pain studies to prostate- and bowel-associated pelvic pain and determine the mechanisms of pelvic organ crosstalk and signal integration in the spinal cord in mice. Our center collaborators will examine cortical and cognitive changes in pelvic pain patients using a combination of functional MRI and behavioral tests and develop novel quality-of-life tests to characterize pelvic pain non-invasively within populations. Thus, this center will illuminate pelvic pain mechanisms in clinical, epidemiologic and basic animal studies.

For more information, visit Dr. Klumpp's faculty profile or lab website.

Publications

See Dr. Klumpp's publications in PubMed.

Lab Staff

Graduate Student

Lizath Aguiniga

Contact

Dr. Klumpp

 Praveen Thumbikat Lab

Studying benign prostate diseases, chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome

Research Description

The focus of research in the laboratory is to understand the pathogenesis of genitourinary diseases with emphasis on benign prostate disease in humans. Inflammation is a significant finding in a variety prostate diseases including prostatitis, BPH and prostate cancer. We study microbial and autoimmune mediated inflammation and innate and adaptive immune mechanisms in prostate disease. A particular area of interest is chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome (CP/CPPS), a debilitating medical condition characterized by dysuria and pain.  Projects in the lab use a combination of in vitro studies, animal models and clinical specimen assays to examine questions of interest such as the role of chemokines and T-cells in chronic pelvic pain.

For more information, see the faculty profile of Praveen Thumbikat, PhD.

Publications

View Dr. Thumbikat's publications at PubMed

Contact

Email Dr. Thumbikat

Phone 312-503-1050

Lab Staff

Postdoctoral Fellows

Larry Y Wong, Kenny Roman, Stephen F Murphy

Research Technician

Joseph D Done

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